Understanding the dynamics in distribution of invasive alien plant species under predicted climate change in Western Himalaya.
Invasive alien plant species (IAPS) can pose severe threats to biodiversity and stability of native ecosystems, therefore, predicting the distribution of the IAPS plays a crucial role in effective planning and management of ecosystems. In the present study, we use Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling approach to predict the potential of distribution of eleven IAPS under future climatic conditions under RCP 2.6 and RCP 8.5 in part of Kailash sacred landscape region in Western Himalaya. Based on the model predictions, distribution of most of these invasive plants is expected to expand under future climatic scenarios, which might pose a serious threat to the native ecosystems through competition for resources in the study area. Native scrublands and subtropical needle-leaved forests will be the most affected ecosystems by the expansion of these IAPS. The present study is first of its kind in the Kailash Sacred Landscape in the field of invasive plants and the predictions of potential distribution under future climatic conditions from our study could help decision makers in planning and managing these forest ecosystems effectively.