Cold environments at high elevation and high latitude are often viewed as resistant to biological invasions. However, climate warming, land use change and associated increased connectivity all increase the risk of biological invasions in these environments. Here we present a summary of the key discussions of the workshop ‘Biosecurity in Mountains and Northern Ecosystems: Current Status and Future Challenges’ (Flen, Sweden, 1–3 June 2015). The aims of the workshop were to (1) increase awareness about the growing importance of species expansion—both non-native and native—at high elevation and high latitude with climate change, (2) review existing knowledge about invasion risks in these areas, and (3) encourage more research on how species will move and interact in cold environments, the consequences for biodiversity, and animal and human health and wellbeing. The diversity of potential and actual invaders reported at the workshop and the likely interactions between them create major challenges for managers of cold environments. However, since these cold environments have experienced fewer invasions when compared with many warmer, more populated environments, prevention has a real chance of success, especially if it is coupled with prioritisation schemes for targeting invaders likely to have greatest impact. Communication and co-operation between cold environment regions will facilitate rapid response, and maximise the use of limited research and management resources.
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