Pests on the move: Taking climate change into account in Pest Risk Assessments

Darren J. Kriticos (1), Rebecca M.B. Harris (2)

1 CSIRO, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, ACT, 2601, darren.kriticos@csiro.au, @darrenkriticos

2 Antarctic Climate Ecosystems CRC, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 80, Hobart 7001

Bioclimatic modelling is a central tool in pest risk assessment, contributing directly to understanding risks of a pest establishing in a new environment, and to estimating the impacts it might have.  In recognizing that climate change is altering the potential ranges of species, and that species invasions typically bring about irreversible changes, PRA frameworks have recently started including consideration of climate change scenarios.  However, the emerging analytical frameworks provide no guidance to analysts on how to handle the future climate risk scenarios and the Intergovernmental Standards for Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures is mute on the issue.  The situation is fraught.  The costs from pest invasions can be significant.  There are vast, irreducible uncertainties in the future climates.  Jurisdictions need to be mindful that trade restrictions to prevent a threat that is emerging due to global warming may be perceived as a technical barrier to trade, and may be challenged in the World Trade Organisation court.  If a pest threat is perceived, biosecurity managers will want firm guidance on how to manage the threats.  Fortunately, there is a prudent framework for dealing with this type of situation.  We describe the framework, and demonstrate it with a case study.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.


Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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