Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Climate-tracking species are not invasive

Applying an invasive framework to native species that are shifting their ranges in response to climate change adopts an adversarial, local and static paradigm that is often at odds with protecting global biodiversity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Fig. 1: Invasive and climate-tracking species differ in geographic origins, which influences their expected effect on new ecosystems.


  1. Parmesan, C. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 37, 637–669 (2006).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Chen, I.-C., Hill, J. K., Ohlemuller, R., Roy, D. B. & Thomas, C. D. Science 333, 1024–1026 (2011).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services of the Intergovernmental Science–Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES Secretariat, 2019).

  4. Urban, M. C. et al. Science 353, 1113 (2016).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Wallingford, P. D. et al. Nat. Clim. Change (2020).

  6. Colautti, R. I. & MacIsaac, H. J. Divers. Distrib. 10, 135–141 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Richardson, D. M. et al. Divers. Distrib. 6, 93–107 (2000).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Phillips, B. L., Brown, G. P., Greenlees, M., Webb, J. K. & Shine, R. Austral Ecol. 32, 169–176 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Williams, J. W. & Jackson, S. T. Front. Ecol. Environ. 5, 475 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Gilman, S. E., Urban, M. C., Tewksbury, J., Gilchrist, G. W. & Holt, R. D. Trends Ecol. Evol. 25, 325–331 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Davis, M. B. & Shaw, R. G. Science 292, 673–679 (2001).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Veloz, S. D. et al. Glob. Change Biol. 18, 1698–1713 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Peckarsky, B. L. & Penton, M. A. Oikos 53, 185–193 (1988).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Urban, M. C., Scarpa, A., Travis, J. M. J. & Bocedi, G. Am. Nat. 194, 590–612 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Pyšek, P. & Richardson, D. M. in Biological Invasions (Ed. Nentwig, W.) 97–125 (Springer, 2008).

  16. Van Kleunen, M., Weber, E. & Fischer, M. Ecol. Lett. 13, 235–245 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Angert, A. L. et al. Ecol. Lett. 14, 677–689 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Estrada, A., Morales-Castilla, I., Caplat, P. & Early, R. Trends Ecol. Evol. 31, 190–203 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Head, L. Nat. Plants 3, 17075 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Urban, M. C., Zarnetske, P. L. & Skelly, D. K. Integr. Comp. Biol. 57, 134–147 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Mark C. Urban.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Urban, M.C. Climate-tracking species are not invasive. Nat. Clim. Chang. 10, 382–384 (2020).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing