Human adaptation to invasive species: A conceptual framework based on a case study metasynthesis

Patricia L. Howard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Species invasions are a major driver of ecological change, are very difficult to control or reverse, and will increase with climate change and global trade. Invasion sciences consider how species in invaded environments adapt, but neither scientists nor policy makers consider human adaptation to invasive species and how this affects ecosystems and well-being. To address this, a framework conceptualising autochthonous human adaptation to invasions was developed based on the Human Adaptation to Biodiversity Change framework and a case study metasynthesis. Results show that adaptation occurs within different spheres of human activity and organisation at different social-ecological scales; responses have feedbacks within and across these spheres. Adaptation to invasives and other drivers is a set of highly contextual, complex, non-linear responses that make up pathways pursued over time. Most invasive species management and adaptation occurs ‘from below,’ and policies and planned control efforts should support autochthonous adaptation, rather than undermining it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1430
Number of pages30
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Adaptation
  • Conceptual framework
  • Invasive species
  • Metasynthesis
  • Social-ecological systems

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