Predicting the Potential Invasion Hotspots of Chromolaena odorata under Current and Future Climate Change Scenarios in Heterogeneous Ecological Landscapes of Mizoram, India
Recent trends in globalization, human mobility surge and global trade aggravated the expansion of alien species introduction leading to invasion by alien plants compounded by climate change. The ability to predict the spread of invasive species within the context of climate change holds significance for accurately identifying vulnerable regions and formulating strategies to contain their wide proliferation and invasion. Anthropogenic activities and recent climate change scenarios increased the risk of Chromolaena odorata invasion and habitat expansion in Mizoram. To forecast its current distribution and habitat suitability amidst climatic alterations in Mizoram, a MaxEnt-driven habitat suitability model was deployed using the default parameters. The resultant model exhibited that the current spatial range of C. odorata occupies 15.37% of geographical areas deemed suitable for varying degrees of invasion. Projections for 2050 and 2070 anticipated an expansion of suitable habitats up to 34.37% of the geographical area of Mizoram, specifically under RCP 2.6 in 2070 in comparison with its present distribution. Currently, the distributional range of C. odorata in Mizoram spans from lower (450 m) to mid elevational ranges up to 1700 meters, with limited presence at higher altitudes. However, the habitat suitability model extrapolates that climate changes will elevate the invasion risk posed by C. odorata across Mizoram, particularly in the North-Western and Central regions. The projection of further territorial expansion and an upward shift in altitudinal range in the future underscores the urgency of instating robust management measures to pre-empt the impact of C. odorata invasion. This study recommends the imperative nature of effective C. odorata management, particularly during the initial stages of invasion.
Keywords:Climate change, Niche modelling, Habitat suitability, Biodiversity hotspots, Plant invasion, Maxent
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Copyright © 2023 Rabishankar Sengupta, Sudhansu Sekhar Dash
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