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Data from: Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal

Cite this dataset

Shrestha, Uttam Babu; Shrestha, Bharat Babu (2020). Data from: Climate change amplifies plant invasion hotspots in Nepal [Dataset]. Dryad.


Aim Climate change has increased the risk of biological invasions, particularly by increasing the climatically suitable regions for invasive alien species. The distribution of many native and invasive species has been predicted to change under future climate. We performed species distribution modelling of invasive alien plants (IAPs) to identify hotspots under current and future climate scenarios in Nepal, a country ranked among the most vulnerable countries to biological invasions and climate change in the world. Location Nepal Methods We predicted climatically suitable niches of 24 out of the total 26 reported IAPs in Nepal under current and future climate (2050 for RCP 6.0) using an ensemble of species distribution models. We also conducted hotspot analysis to highlight the geographic hotspots for IAPs in different climatic zones, land cover, ecoregions, physiography, and federal states. Results Under future climate, climatically suitable regions for 75% of IAPs will expand in contrast to a contraction of the climatically suitable regions for the remaining 25% of the IAPs. A high proportion of the modelled suitable niches of IAPs occurred on agricultural lands followed by forests. In aggregation, both extent and intensity (invasion hotspots) of the climatically suitable regions for IAPs will increase in Nepal under future climate scenarios. The invasion hotspots will expand towards the high-elevation mountainous regions. In these regions, land use is rapidly transforming due to the development of infrastructure and expansion of tourism and trade. Main conclusions Negative impacts on livelihood, biodiversity, and ecosystem services, as well as economic loss caused by IAPs in the future, may be amplified if preventive and control measures are not immediately initiated. Therefore, the management of IAPs in Nepal should account for the vulnerability of climate change-induced biological invasions into new areas, primarily in the mountains.

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