Climate change is predicted to increase the spread and abundance of invasive species and to erode global food security. I hypothesized that by incorporating edible invasive species into local food sheds, these two problems could help to mitigate each other. I set out to answer two questions: could eating invasive species reduce their spread and abundance? And could eating invasive species minimize the impacts of climate-change related food shocks? To answer these questions, I surveyed the existing literature on human consumption of invasive species, created a list of criteria that make an invasive species suitable for management through human consumption, and identified what components of global food security could be strengthened by edible invasive species. I found that some invasive species populations could be reduced by human consumption, but that careful management would be required to ensure eating invasive species did not create perverse market incentives that facilitated further invasions. I found that invasive species might offer possible interventions to increase food quantity, promote food access, increase food safety, and contribute to environmental stability, four important components of food security. However, no studies exist specifically on the topic of invasive species and food security, and much further research is required to substantiate my hypotheses. In order to ground my research in practical applications and communicate my results to a wide audience, in addition to written results, I created two recipes using edible invasive species in Iceland, informed by my research on invasive species population biology and climate change-related food insecurity.
Agriculture | Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biosecurity | Climate | Environmental Sciences | Food Science | Meat Science | Nutrition | Weed Science
Saffeir, Jesse Bull, "Eating some invasive species could help to mitigate the impacts of climate change-related invasions, and may increase future food security" (2019). Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. 3037.