Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 10, pp 2821–2829 | Cite as

Climate change turns up the heat on vertebrate pest control

  • A. David M. Latham
  • M. Cecilia Latham
  • Ellen Cieraad
  • Daniel M. Tompkins
  • Bruce Warburton
Invasion Note


Climate change and invasive species threaten global food security and native biodiversity. Individually, they can degrade resources and ecosystem services, and increase management costs. Together, they can produce complex effects, such as facilitating range expansion of invasive species. Climate change may also constrain the ability to manage invasive mammalian species by directly disrupting optimal strategies for control. Invasive species are often most susceptible to anthropogenic control methods when natural food is limiting. We demonstrate quantitatively how a trend towards warmer winters over the past >60 years has significantly reduced the window of time for effective control of an invasive mammalian pest (European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus) in temperate New Zealand. The phenomenon described is likely generalizable to the control of other vertebrate pests, particularly in temperate systems where they are seasonally food limited. Climate change may thus exacerbate the unwanted impacts of invasive species by reducing our ability to manage them effectively.


Invasive species Mammalian pests Natural food availability Seasonal pest control Temperature dependent Warmer winters 

Supplementary material

10530_2015_931_MOESM1_ESM.docx (858 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 858 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Landcare ResearchLincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Landcare ResearchDunedinNew Zealand

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