Alternative futures for global biological invasions


Scenario analysis has emerged as a key tool to analyze complex and uncertain future socio-ecological developments. However, current global scenarios (narratives of how the world may develop) have neglected biological invasions, a major threat to biodiversity and the economy.

We used a novel participatory process to develop a diverse set of global biological invasion scenarios spanning a wide breadth of plausible global futures through 2050. We adapted the widely used “two axes” scenario analysis approach to develop four families of four scenarios each, resulting in 16 scenarios that were later clustered into four contrasting sets of futures.

Our analysis highlighted that socio-economic developments and changes in sustainability policies and lifestyle have the potential to shape biological invasions, in addition to well-known ecological drivers, such as climate and human land use change.

Our scenarios align fairly well with the recently developed shared socio-economic pathways, but the factors that drive differences in biological invasions are underrepresented there. Including these factors in global scenarios and models is essential to adequately consider biological invasions in global environmental assessments, and obtain a more integrative picture of future socio-ecological developments.


Link to centre authors: Peterson, Garry
Publication info: Roura-Pascual, N., Leung, B., Rabitsch, W., Rutting, L., Vervoort, J., Bacher, S. 2021. Alternative futures for global biological invasions. bioRxiv, online 17 January 2021, doi: