Sunday, April 12, 2009

Will Europe unite to combat invasive species?

Science Daily: Europe’s borders have been breached by thousands of plants and animal species from other parts of the world: from the American mink to the New Zealand flatworm. The invaders feed on, hybridise with, parasitise and out-compete native species. They also introduce diseases, alter the balance within ecosystems, modify landscapes and impact upon agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the monetary cost of these invasive alien species in Europe amounts to at least €10 billion per year, yet for 90% of species almost nothing is known of their impacts.

Recent evidence that Europe may be home to 11,000 alien species has spurred the European Commission to release its first ever Communication on invasive species. The European Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas, noted at the launch of the Communication that “the ecological, economic and social consequences of the spread of invasive species for EU countries are serious and need a harmonised response”.

…A recent paper published in the journal Science suggests legislation is only part of the answer and that what Europe lacks is appropriate governance and institutional coordination across Member States to tackle the problem of invasions effectively.

“Currently, responsibility for invasive species management sits within too many different European Institutions. These are organisations such as the European Environment Agency (EEA), European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) that rarely communicate with each other and where the topic of invasions is only one of many areas of activity” says Philip Hulme lead author of the paper.

“This system is not effective. For example EPPO and EFSA have not seen eye to eye when it comes to assessing the risks to Europe of different alien species, while funding for research and management is often prioritised separately by the different Directorates-General in Brussels. The political, cultural and geographic complexity of Europe makes a single coordinating body a necessity.”....

The common myna (Acridotheres tristis), a highly invasive bird species, which was recently introduced to several Mediterranean countries and is rapidly expanding its range. Shot by Yotam Orchan, Assaf Shwartz, from the Public Library of Science, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

1 comment:

Susana Saavedra said...

I have been working on mynas as invasive species in EU (Canary and Balearic Islands), Is very hard to find new sights of myna breeding populations in EU. Any hepl will be really apreciated! Susana Saavedra,