May 22nd 2014
Today a group of 235 individual experts and organisations from 36 countries, including 23 EU Member States, published a joint statement calling on the European institutions to adopt a science-based approach for the EU-wide legislation on invasive alien species. The Call was coordinated jointly by BirdLife Europe, IUCN European Union Representative Office and Neobiota.
“Invasive alien species have great impacts on biodiversity – at times determining dramatic declines in species’ populations. The latest scientific data on invasives needs to be taken into account when prioritising action by the EU. It is essential to know where and how species arrive into Europe, how they are spreading, and their actual and potential impact to ensure that action is effective”, said Piero Genovesi, Chair of IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group. “We support the creation of a Scientific Review Group to assist the implementation of the legislation”.
The Joint Call for a science-based approach on the European Commission’s proposal for a Regulation on invasive alien species was signed by representatives of universities, research institutes and conservation organisations. Together they unite many of the leading experts on invasive alien species in Europe and beyond.
The signatories welcome the important step taken by the Commission with its proposal and recognise that a coordinated international framework is essential for effective action at EU and national levels. However, they believe that strategies and policies on invasive alien species should be guided by the latest knowledge to ensure that action is taken where most needed. Failing to effectively address invasives would mean failing to meet the Convention on Biological Diversity and EU targets for 2020, and would represent a missed opportunity to address a major driver of biodiversity loss.
November 28th 2013
We are pleased to bring you Issue 33 of the ISSG's Newsletter- Aliens- The Invasive Species Bulletin
The cover features the 100th of 'the Worlds Worst Invasive Alien Species' Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta)
Some of the articles in this issue
Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta): the 100th among some of the worst p. 9
Managing the impacts of feral camels in Australia p. 12
Goats eradicated from Aldabra Atoll p. 18
The practicalities of eradicating an extremely invasive cactus: Hudson pear Cylindropuntia rosea in the Valencia region (East Spain) p. 23
An overlooked biosecurity concern? Back-loading at islands supporting introduced rodents p. 28
Breynia disticha, a new invasive alien for tropical Africa p. 32
The eradication of feral cats from Dassen Island: a first for Africa? p. 35
The box tree moth, Cydalima perspectalis, in Europe: horticultural pest or environmental disaster? p. 38
Recent introduction and spread of Indian bullfrog Hoplobatrachus tigerinus (Daudin, 1802) into the Andaman Islands p. 42
Banning squirrels from the pet trade in Italy p. 44
And New Publications and Events
Please click on this link to download Issue 33- Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin
28 October 2013
Studies have shown that of the 3 species of invasive rats, Black rat (Rattus_rattus) had the largest mean impact on seabirds followed by Norway rat (R.
_norvegicus) and ship rat ( R._exulans) (Jones <i>et al</i> 2008) (See the video clip below)
Pianosa Island -Tuscan Archipelago (July 2013) Scopoli's/Cory's shearwater (Calonectris_diomedea) chick being attacked by a black rat
Project implemented with funding from the Tuscan Archipelago National Park and the Tuscany Regional Government.
(Jones H. P, Tershy B. R, Zavaleta E. S, Croll D. A, Keitt B. S, Finkelstein M. E, Howald G. R. (2008) Severity of the effects of invasive rats on seabirds: a global review. Conserv Biol. 2008 Feb;22(1):16-26. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1739.2007.00859.x).
October 9 2013
The new legislative proposal released yesterday by the European Commission aims to ensure coordinated action at the EU level to curb the impacts of invasive alien species. IUCN, uniting some of the leading experts on this subject in Europe, welcomes the new proposal but highlights some concerns.
“The proposal by the European Commission paves the way for more, better and coordinated action in Europe and its overseas entities to tackle invasive alien species,” said Luc Bas, Director of IUCN European Union Representative Office. “The prevention, early-warning systems, eradication and control measures included in the proposal, and supported by IUCN experts, go in the right direction. However, there are some elements which still need to be clarified, such as the process for identifying priority species.”
According to the legislative proposal, a list of invasive alien species of EU concern will be developed. A cap of 50 species to be included in this list is being proposed. A Committee, including representatives from EU national governments and institutions, is to be set up to take decisions on additions or deletions to this list.
“The cap proposed by the European Commission is far too low to achieve the EU and global biodiversity targets. Also, the proposed timeline of five years for the possible revision of such list does not guarantee the flexibility required for early response to new threats,” said Piero Genovesi, Chair of the Invasive Species Specialist Group of IUCN Species Survival Commission. “The process for adding species to the list is crucially important. It should be science-based and time-efficient. Decisions should be taken following risk assessment recommendations and not be based on political interests. IUCN calls for the involvement of stakeholders and scientists in the proposed Committee.”...
September 9 2013
The latest update of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ shows worrying declines for conifers – the world’s oldest and largest organisms – freshwater shrimps, cone snails and the Yangtze Finless Porpoise. The Santa Cruz Pupfish, a lizard known as the Cape Verde Giant Skink and a species of freshwater shrimp have been declared Extinct.
With this update, 4,807 species have been added to The IUCN Red List bringing the total of assessed species to 70,294, of which 20,934 are threatened with extinction.
“Thanks to the IUCN Red List, we now have more information on the state of the world’s biodiversity than ever before,” says Jane Smart, Global Director, IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group. “But the overall picture is alarming. We must use this knowledge to its fullest – making our conservation efforts well targeted and efficient - if we are serious about stopping the extinction crisis that continues to threaten all life on Earth.”
The update includes the first global reassessment of conifers. According to the results, 34% of the world’s cedars, cypresses, firs and other cone-bearing plants are now threatened with extinction – an increase by 4% since the last complete assessment in 1998.
The conservation status of 33 conifer species has declined, including California’s Monterey Pine- the world’s most widely planted pine valued for its rapid growth and pulp qualities. The tree has moved from Least Concern – a category used for species at relatively low extinction risk - to Endangered, with main threats including feral goats and attacks by an invasive pathogen. Another conifer species previously classified as Least Concern, the Atlas Cedar – native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco – is now Endangered due to over-exploitation. Its reduced population is threatened by various pests....
July 2 2013
As alien species from the Red Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and beyond find new habitats in the Mediterranean, the new guide by the IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation provides the clues to the most dangerous invasive marine fauna and flora and pinpoints towards best management options to control and eradicate them from marine protected areas.
Around half a hundred species are mapped in this practical guide to assist marine protected area managers in monitoring and controlling the spread of invasive alien marine species. The guide advises on how to monitor and identify forty-seven highly invasive species and what can be done to prevent their establishment and spread in marine protected areas (MPAs)....
Read more in English, French and Spanish
Otero, M., Cebrian, E., Francour, P., Galil, B., Savini, D. 2013. Monitoring Marine Invasive Species in Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas (MPAs): A strategy and practical guide for managers. Malaga, Spain: IUCN. 136 pages.
The Guide is available in English, French and Spanish
June 19th 2013
The Giant Salvinia (Salvinia molesta), an aquatic fern has been added to the list of '100 of the World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species'. Compiled by the IUCN Species Survival Commission Invasive Species Specialist Group, (ISSG) the list aims to increase awareness about invasive alien species and to help prevent further invasions.
Recently the Rinderpest virus was removed from the list and a review was conducted to decide which invasive species should be added. The review involved more than 650 experts from 63 countries. More than 10,000 invasive species were assessed in terms of their capacity to spread and their potential ecological or economic impact.
Native to Brazil, the Giant Salvinia is a floating aquatic fern that thrives in slow-moving, nutrient-rich, warm, freshwater. A rapidly growing competitive plant, it has spread throughout the tropics and subtropics. It doubles in abundance within days, forming dense, floating mats that reduce water-flow and lower the light and oxygen levels in the water. This stagnant dark environment negatively affects the biodiversity and abundance of freshwater species, including fish and submerged aquatic plants. Its spread can also impede water-based transport and clog irrigation and power generation systems.
By being added to the list it is hoped that this heightened focus on the species will increase awareness and stimulate more conservation action to reduce its impact, and more in general on the severe impacts caused by biological invasions worldwide...
Read more on Giant Salvinia in the species profile on the Global Invasive Species Database
More in English >>>
More in Spanish >>>
June 10th 2013
IUCN/SSC (2013). Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations. Version 1.0. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN Species Survival Commission, viiii + 57 pp
These Guidelines and their Annexes were developed by a Task Force of the Reintroduction and Invasive Species Specialist Groups, working between 2010 and 2012.
The finished Guidelines and Annexes cover a wider array of situations and solutions, with their opportunities and risks, than the 1998 Guidelines. Hence, review and revision were entirely justified, and the Task Force hopes that this contribution will promote and help responsible translocation as an essential tool for conservation in the present era of acute challenges for the world’s biodiversity.
June 5th 2013
With unprecedented species declines and more than 20,000 of the species assessed on The IUCN Red List threatened with extinction, IUCN and other organizations come together to support the achievement of a global biodiversity target to prevent further species loss.
The partnership – Friends of Target 12 – will guide countries in their efforts to prevent further extinctions of threatened species and improve the conservation status of those disappearing most rapidly. This will help them achieve the so-called ‘Target 12’ – one of 20 ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Japan in 2010.
About Friends of Target 12
The purpose of this partnership is to support Government Parties to the CBD and others to achieve Aichi biodiversity Target 12 by providing practical guidance and raising awareness of initiatives and programmes that contribute to the implementation of the activities needed to bring about the recovery of threatened species and stem the tide of species’ extinctions.
Some Friends of Target 12 partners have already made specific commitments as part of the initiative and more are soon to be announced...
...Out of 65,518 species currently assessed by The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, 1,173 are Extinct or Possibly Extinct and 20,219 are threatened.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
IUCN/ISSG will start on a new series of 'Invasive Species of the Week' that will focus on extinctions in which invasive alien species were one of the major causes of decline in populations. The first one is on the predatory rosy wolf snail (Euglandina rosea)
Of the 795 species that are known to be Extinct (EX) on the IUCN Red List, 324 (just over 40%) are Molluscs (281 Gastropods and 29 Bivalves). Of the 63 species that are Extinct in the Wild (EW) 14 are Gastropods.
The majority of Mollusc extinctions have taken place on Oceanic Islands and a third of them most likely to have been caused by the introduction of the predatory rosy wolf snail.
Partulid snails (Polynesian tree snails) from French Polynesia have suffered the most losses with more than 50 species classified as EX and EW, most population declines occurring after the introduction of the rosy wolf snail to French Polynesia in the 1970’s. The predatory rosy wolf snail is one of the significant threats to the survival of the Critically Endangered (CR) Oahu tree snails (Achatinella spp) in Hawaii. Of the 39 Achatinella species assessed on the IUCN Red List 15 are listed as EX and 24 CR. The other threats include habitat degradation due to the spread of invasive alien plant species such as Grevillia, strawberry Guava, Lantana etc.
The 'Invasive Species of the Week' button can be featured on your site by inserting a one line script. Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org, if you want the script sent to you.
28 May 2013
Biological invasions are one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss. Invasive alien species (IAS) may have far-reaching and harmful effects on the environment and natural resources for generations. The purpose of this report is to raise awareness among key stakeholders, decision-makers, policymakers and the general public about the environmental and socioeconomic impacts of IAS. Twenty-eight dedicated species accounts are provided to highlight the various types of impacts. These species accounts are based on thorough, up-to-date scientific information from recent research and studies, and highlight the multifaceted impacts of IAS at both the global and regional levels.
The impacts of invasive alien species in Europe.pdf [25.5 MB]
Technical report No 16/2012
Published by EEA (European Environment Agency) Dec 12 2012
On 21 February 2013, IUCN and BirdLife, with the support of the European Habitats Forum, will organize a high-level debate at the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the issue of invasive alien species in Europe and the development of a EU policy instrument to tackle them. The event is hosted by MEP Pavel Poc, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D).
...Intervening at the event: amongst others are
Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Dr Piero Genovesi, Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and Chair of IUCN SSC Specialist Group on Invasive Alien Species
28 January 2013
The Bern Convention and the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN, in collaboration with the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) have developed the European Code of Conduct for Zoological Gardens and Aquaria on Invasive Alien Species (IAS).
This document is in line with the current European policy on IAS according to which the identification of pathways and the implementation of best practices and voluntary measures to prevent the threats posed by IAS are recognised as critical issues.
The code has been formally approved at the last Standing Committee meeting of the Bern Convention on 30 November 2012. At the same meeting the Standing Committee also adopted the Recommendation No.161 (2012) to invite all contracting parties to implement the code. The development of this code has been also formally acknowledged at the recent CBD COP11 at Hyberabad.
European Code of Conduct for Zoological Gardens and Aquaria on Invasive Alien Species
6 December 2012
The International Union for Conservation of Nature's Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) Reintroduction Specialist Group (RSG) and the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) has published revised Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations.
Translocations of organisms outside of their indigenous range are considered to be especially high risk, given the examples of those species becoming invasive. Social, economic and political factors also should be considerations in decisions about translocations.
According to the publication, the design and implementation of conservation translocations should follow specific guidelines, be fully documented, and their outcomes made available to inform future conservation planning. Finally, translocated species will need to comply with international requirements, as for example the movement of species on Appendix I, II or III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) must comply with CITES requirements.
Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translocations
28 November 2012
New deal to tackle invasive species
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity; Jane Smart, Global Director IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group; and Piero Genovesi, Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group sign the agreement.[Photo: Piero Genovesi]
A new agreement signed this week has pledged the support of the IUCN SSC (Species Survival Commission) Invasive Species Specialist Group to help combat invasive alien species that are threatening ecosystems and livelihoods.
As governments and scientists gather in Hyderabad, India, to discuss solutions to the world’s current biodiversity crisis, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed at the launch of the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership. The initiative is chaired by Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and supported by a number of international partners, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International (CABI).
The Memorandum of Cooperation, which is co-signed by; Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias; Jane Smart, Global Director IUCN Biodiversity Conservation Group; and Piero Genovesi, Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), formally acknowledges that ISSG will support the work of the CBD on invasive species.
The ISSG have committed to provide information and data on invasive species to support the CBD Parties to meet the provisions of Aichi Target 9 that calls on states to strengthen work on invasive species. ISSG offers considerable expertise to this role and hosts the Global Invasive Species Database which is globally acknowledged as the most authoritative information source on invasive species
10 October 2012
The IUCN members' assembly at WCC 2012 adopted on 12the September Motion 021, on invasive alien species.
The Motion calls on countries to identify invasive species for priority control, enforce stringent regulatory measures to prevent introduction of invasives, encourage voluntary measures, and promote eradication campaigns.
It also calls the Director General DG of the IUCN and its Commissions to strengthen work on invasive species at the international level; improve invasive species knowledge products; improve collaboration between the Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), and to strengthen support to invasive species work through its secretariat and regional programmes.
Text of Motion 021
What is very encouraging, is that the motion was voted with 494 votes, and supported by 100% of Governments and 99% of NGOs. The highest score of all motions so far adopted at WCC!!!!
The IUCN World Conservation Congress is taking place between the 6th and 15th of September, in Jeju, Republic of Korea
13 September 2012
We are pleased to bring you Issue 32 of the ISSG's Newsletter- Aliens- The Invasive Species Bulletin
The cover features the California Kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiane)
Issue 32 includes an article on the management and control of the California kingsnake in Gran Canaria (Canary Islands): a Life+ project on pg. 20
Wild Hippos in Colombia pg. 8
Identification and distribution of non-indigenous species in the Mediterranean Sea: the Italian challenges pg. 13
Aerial broadcast of rodenticide on the island of Sa Dragonera (Balearic Islands, Spain). A promising rodent eradication experience on a Mediterranean islands pg. 29
Rodent eradication on Molara Island and surrounding islets (NE Sardinia): from success to the riddle of reinvasion pg. 33
Pl@ntInvasion: collaborative identification and information platform on invasive plants in French Overseas Territories pg. 39
Occurrence of major invasives in Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India: perspective and prospective pg. 42
Please click on this link to download Issue 32- Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin
1 September 2012
A World Trade Organization (WTO) seminar has recommended a series of actions to control invasive alien species (IAS) more effectively, including improved coordination among relevant international organizations, and among national ministries and agencies, in implementing the WTO Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).
Co-organized by the WTO Standards and Trade Development Facility, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the seminar aimed to: raise awareness about the mutually beneficial goals of the SPS Agreement and Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and effective SPS systems to prevent the entry of IAS; foster collaboration between the SPS and CBD communities at both regional and national levels; and review initiatives that aim to build national and regional capacities to manage the entry and spread of IAS.
The seminar highlighted the role of SPS capacity in managing IAS risks, and recommended key actions to control such species more effectively, including: enhancing collaboration among relevant international organizations in implementing the SPS Agreement and global biodiversity conventions; ensuring better implementation of existing international standards and developing new standards where needed; boosting countries’ ability to undertake scientific risk analysis and other studies; improving coordination between relevant ministries and agencies within countries, as well as between countries and within regions; enhancing cooperation between governments and industry; and studying potential risks associated with the growth in Internet trade, and how to address them.
The Seminar took place from 12-13 July 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland.
13 July 2012
Many wetlands are rich in biodiversity, and many species of plants and animals are wetland-dependent – they cannot survive without wetlands. Coral reefs are the most biologically diverse wetlands, often called the ‘rainforests of the sea’. Although freshwater wetlands cover far less area than the oceans, they support 30% of all known fish species. It is this biodiversity that supports the many ecosystem services provided by wetlands. Yet wetland species are under threat, often more so than their terrestrial counterparts, through habitat change (such as drainage and conversion) and pollution as well as overexploitation, invasive alien species, and climate change. ...
2 May 2011
...Naresh is currently involved in carrying out a rhino census in the Chitwan National Park, which has the second largest population of greater one-horned rhino in the world. He recently fitted radio collars on eight rhinos living in the park and now conducts regular patrols to monitor their movements. This often means spending the whole night in the park, which is also home to tigers, elephants and gharials.
The main purpose of this work is to study the impact that Mikania micrantha, a major invasive species in Nepal, has on rhinos. Mikania micrantha grows on plants that make up the diet of rhinos, blocking the sunlight that those plants need to survive...
2 May 2011
Threats posed by invasive species and ways to monitor and control them will be discussed at a meeting in the Republic of Burundi tomorrow, with special focus on invasive species that are spreading in the basin of one of African Great Lakes, Lake Tanganyika…
..Although it is not too late to manage invasive species in the Lake Tanganyika basin, action will need to be taken now to prevent them from spreading and causing further damage to ecosystems and local people. “In the near future, states will need to improve and expand on a strategy that they have enacted in recent years,” says Dr. Geoffrey Howard, expert on invasive species in Africa, and member of the IUCN Invasive Species Initiative. “The emphasis should be on monitoring as well as management of invasive species – including the developing structure of the monitoring process.”
Experts gathered at the meeting will discuss biological control as one of the possible ways to manage invasive species. They will also look into ways to raise awareness about invasive species and to enhance regional cooperation, which can play an important role in monitoring and controlling them.
30 March 2011
South Georgia's planned total eradication of rats from the island -the Habitat Restoration Project has begun with the entire first drop completed on the Thatcher Peninsula.
You can read more on the project from the South Georgia Heritage Trust website
and follow the progress of the project on Facebook
14 March 2011
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness on sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests.
As a member of the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, IUCN will play a key role in increasing public awareness of the centrality of the world’s forests to human and natural well-being. Over the course of the year, IUCN will be highlighting new findings from its innovative Livelihoods and Landscapes Strategy, announcing bold new initiatives in its forest landscape restoration work and building upon recent successes of the International 2010 REDD-plus (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest degradation) agenda
REDD is an approach to achieving reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions that is currently under negotiation at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). REDD-plus includes: Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.
The spread of invasive species can impact biomass, biodiversity and forest health reducing the integrity of the ecosystem and ecosystem services.
ISSG will celebrate the International Year of Forests by focussing on raising awareness and disseminating information on the impacts of invasive species- forests pests and diseases. We will include more new profiles on forest pests and diseases on the Global Invasive Species Database and update information on profiles that are online. The Species of the Week button will feature forest pests and diseases.
10 January 2011
Issue 30 of Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin, Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group has just been published.
Issue 30 includes an article by Chris Feare on the eradication of invasive birds on islands of the world. The issue also includes an interview to Angelo Salsi, head of the LIFE program of the European Union, on the application of this funding tool for supporting projects targeting invasive species in Europe, with an example on raccoon dog management in Scandinavia. An article reports on the lessons learnt so far in the struggle against Chytridiomycosis, and discusses new mitigation approaches to this deadly disease. Last but not least, an article reports on recent findings on invasive alien species in China, where a network of 50 leading scientists from 10 Chinese research institutions has reviewed all existing information on biological invasions in the country, collecting information on about 520 alien species recorded in agricultural, forestry and aquatic ecosystems of China.
The Serengeti - Masai Mara ecosystem in Africa, which hosts the largest wildlife migration known to man, is under attack from a noxious weed from Central America, commonly known as feverfew (Parthenium hysterophorus). If left unchecked it could threaten the continued migration of millions of animals across the plains every year, including 1.5 million wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 200,000 zebra.
The Serengeti - Mara ecosystem hosts approximately 70 large mammal species and some 500 different bird species in highly diverse habitats ranging from riverine forests, swamps, grasslands and woodlands. Researchers from CABI Africa and IUCN, based in Nairobi, Kenya, found the weed, parthenium, during a recent survey, growing along parts of the Mara River and along some dirt tracks in the Masai-Mara National Reserve.
24 November 2010
An Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) was created to further explore issues on invasive alien species, which IUCN is a part of. The mandate of the AHTEG is “to suggest ways and means, including, inter alia, providing scientific and technical information, advice and guidance, on the possible development of standards by appropriate bodies that can be used at an international level to avoid spread of invasive alien species that current international standards do not cover, to address the identified gaps and to prevent the impacts and minimize the risks associated with the introduction of invasive alien species as pets, aquarium and terrarium species, as live bait and live food with the present terms of reference”.
IUCN- Press Release
The most comprehensive assessment of the world’s vertebrates confirms an extinction crisis with one-fifth of species threatened. However, the situation would be worse were it not for current global conservation efforts, according to a study launched today at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, CBD, in Nagoya, Japan.
The study, to be published in the international journal Science, used data for 25,000 species from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, to investigate the status of the world’s vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fishes) and how this status has changed over time. The results show that, on average, 50 species of mammal, bird and amphibian move closer to extinction each year due to the impacts of agricultural expansion, logging, over-exploitation and invasive alien species.
“The ‘backbone’ of biodiversity is being eroded,” says the eminent American ecologist and writer Professor Edward O. Wilson, at Harvard University. “One small step up the Red List is one giant leap forward towards extinction. This is just a small window on the global losses currently taking place.”
27 October 2010
By Richard Anderson Business reporter, BBC News
...A recent study for the United Nations Environment Programme, entitled The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (Teeb), put the damage done to the natural world by human activity in 2008 at between $2tn (£1.3tn) and $4.5tn...
Drivers of biodiversity loss
- Land use change - for example cutting down forests that provide essential water regulation, flood protection and carbon storage, to make way for agriculture
- Over exploitation - for example over-fishing or intensive farming that leads to soil degradation
- Invasive species - for example the introduction of non-indigenous species that crowd out endemic insect populations
- Climate change - for example rising temperatures that cause more extreme weather conditions
October 14th, 2010
A global analysis of extinction risk for the world's plants, conducted by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew together with the Natural History Museum, London and IUCN, has revealed that the world’s plants are as threatened as mammals, with one in five of the world’s plant species threatened with extinction.
The study revealed
- About one third of the species (33%) in our sample are insufficiently known to carry out an assessment. This demonstrates the scale of the task facing botanists – many plants are so poorly known that we still don't know if they are endangered or not.
- Of almost 4,000 species that have been carefully assessed, over one fifth (22%) are classed as Threatened.
- Plants are more threatened than birds, as threatened as mammals and less threatened than amphibians or corals.
- Gymnosperms (the plant group including conifers and cycads) are the most endangered group.
- The most threatened habitat is tropical rain forest. The current rate of loss of tropical forest accounts for 20% of global carbon emissions.
- Most threatened species are found in the tropics.
- The most threatening process is man-induced habitat loss, mostly the conversion of natural habitats for agriculture or livestock use.
September 29th, 2010
Leading experts on invasive species are demanding Europe-wide legislation be put in place by next year to tackle the threat to native wildlife. The researchers want urgent action from the EU to protect Europe's indigenous species from these "alien invaders"...
Piero Genovesi is chair of the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), a global network of experts on invasive species. He told BBC News that the figure of 12 billion Euros represents a significant underestimate of the impact of alien species.
"For many species we have no idea what damage they cause or their economic impact. This is just a fraction of the actual cost," he told BBC News. And he added that this estimate does not include any assesment of the economic value of lost biodiversity caused by non-native species...
By Pamela Rutherford Reporter, BBC News
September 17th, 2010
Shot over a period of three years (with much of the footage captured by SEAPRE scientists in the field), ISLAND INVADERS describes
Produced by the independent production company Scientific Outreach Media for the SEAPRE Research Coordination Network with support from the National Science Foundation and the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
- The importance of seabird islands
- The impacts of predators on seabirds and their islands
- Predator eradication
- Island recolonization and resetoration
- The importance of community involvement to seabird island conservation
Following IUCN’s recommendations, the landscapes of France’s La Reunion Island, Russia’s Siberian Putorana Plateau and the Phoenix Islands Protected Areas of Kiribati have been added to the List of Natural World Heritage sites by UNESCO. The Committee also decided to add Danxia (China) to the List.
“La Reunion contains an impressive mosaic of dramatic landscapes and very valuable ecosystems and also serves as a last refuge for the many threatened and endangered species on the entire Mascarene Archipelago,” says Tim Badman, Head of IUCN’s World Heritage Programme. “Controlling alien invasive species will be an ongoing challenge in the management of this property."
August 4th, 2010
The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka and Papahanaumokuakea in Hawai’i were added to the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, currently meeting in Brasilia. The Committee continues its consideration of natural sites for inscription.
July 31st, 2010
Following the recommendations of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), important rainforest areas in Madagascar and the Everglades National Park (USA) have been added to the List of World Heritage in Danger at the World Heritage annual meeting, currently taking place in Brasilia.
The Everglades National Park, a sanctuary for birds and reptiles and home to 20 rare, endangered and threatened species, has been added to the Danger List upon request by the USA. It had previously been on this List from 1993 until 2007 because of the large amount of water diverted from the Park to nearby cities, which dried out the wetland habitats and caused a 90 percent drop in the population of wetland birds.
The World Heritage Committee decided to remove the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador) from the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger, despite IUCN´s recommendation to the contrary.
June 30th, 2010
Representatives from amongst the 186 states that are signatories to the World Heritage Convention will meet at the World Heritage Committee’s annual meeting in Brasilia from 25 July to 3 August.
The first world heritage site, the Galapagos Islands (Islands of the Tortoises) of Ecuador consists of an archipelago of 19 volcanic islands in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, 973 km off the Pacific coast of South America.
The site's natural resources are increasingly threatened. Introduced plants and animals, such as feral goats, cats, and cattle, brought accidentally or willingly to the islands by humans, represent the main threat to Galápagos. Introduced plants have invaded large areas and eliminated endemic species in the humid zones of San Cristobal, Floreana, Isabela and Santa Cruz.
July 25th, 2010
The South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project is now formally underway! Following public consultation on our plans, the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) gave consent for the Project to start fieldwork next season -February/March 2011 - and the Board of the SG Heritage Trust immediately instructed the Project Director to commence the operation.
This huge Project will be undertaken in two Phases over a period of five seasons. The task is to eradicate invasive rodents - the rats and mice which have devastated the terrestrial ecology and seabird populations of South Georgia over two centuries - from the whole of South Georgia.
July 7th, 2010
Put together, the UK’s overseas territories are fifth in the world league table of bird extinctions, with at least ten species from the territories going to oblivion since 1500AD, partially or wholly because of the impact of non-native mammals, such as rats, feral cats, mice and pigs…
Across the territories, 33 species of bird are facing extinction on the UK overseas territories and a new report shows that many of these are under threat because of the continued impact of introduced mammals. The report, published in the journal Ibis, shows that one third of the species facing extinction could be helped by the removal of non-native mammals from just seven island groups in the Atlantic, Caribbean and the Pacific.
July 7th, 2010
After a week of intense negotiations, governments have agreed to establish a new mechanism, which will strengthen the dialogue between the scientific community and policymakers on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The so-called 'IPBES' - the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services - will be a leading body in making scientifically sound and relevant information available to support more informed decisions on how biodiversity and ecosystem services are conserved and used around the world.
June 11th 2010
Aliens: The Invasive Species Bulletin
Newsletter of the IUCN/SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group
June 1st 2010
The European Environmental Agency (EEA) has published an assessment of the feasibility to establish a European Early Warning and Information System on biological invasions.
This technical report has been prepared by a team of experts led by the Institute for Environmental Research and Protection (Italy) through a collaboration with ISSG. It contributes to the ongoing development of a EU Strategy on invasive alien species, that the European Commission committed to complete in 2011.
BirdLife International announces today, in an update to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ for birds, the extinction of Alaotra Grebe Tachybaptus rufolavatus.
May 26th 2010
The United Nations has declared 2010 as the ‘International Year of Biodiversity’. For the next 12 months we will be celebrating biological diversity – the variety of life on earth – and boosting awareness of how important it is for our lives..
IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group..
A detailed analysis of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, "Wildlife in a Changing World – an analysis of the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ has just been published.
The IUCN analysis is published every four years. The report analyses 44,838 species on the IUCN Red List and presents results by groups of species, geographical regions, and different habitats, such as marine, freshwater and terrestrial.
Results from the report shows nearly one third of amphibians, more than one in eight birds and nearly a quarter of mammals are threatened with extinction. Overall, a minimum of 16,928 species are threatened with extinction.
There are 869 recorded extinctions, with 804 species listed as Extinct and 65 listed as Extinct in the Wild:
- The number of extinctions increases to 1,159 if the 290 Critically Endangered species tagged as ‘Possibly Extinct’ are included;
- 16,928 species are threatened with extinction (3,246 are Critically Endangered, 4,770 are Endangered and 8,912 are Vulnerable);
- 3,796 species are listed as Near Threatened
- 5,570 species have insufficient information to determine their threat status and are listed as Data Deficient;
- 17,675 species are listed as Least Concern
The threat of invasive species:
- Invasive species are the fifth most severe threat to Amphibians, following habitat loss, pollution, disease and fires.
- Invasive species are the third most severe threat to Bird species after agriculture and logging.
- Invasive species are the third most severe threat to Mammals after habitat loss and utilization (mostly for food and medicine)
- Invasive species are the fourth most severe threat to Reptiles after pollution, persecution and natural disasters.
- The greatest threats in Europe are water pollution, invasive species and water extraction which impact 66%, 55% and 55% of threatened freshwater fish species, respectively.
- Invasive species are listed as a major threat to a broad range of marine species facing extinction.
The work of the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) and the Pacific Invasives Initiative (PII) received attention from the Director-General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on Saturday, 6 June, 2009. Ms Julia Marton Lefevre met members of the two groups at the Tamaki Campus of The University of Auckland, to discuss New Zealand’s world-leading role in invasive species management.
The Director-General was accompanied by Taholo Kami (IUCN Regional Director, Oceania), Diane Shand (IUCN Regional Councillor, Oceania) and Andrew Bignell (Manager International Relations, Department of Conservation). Prior to her visit to Tamaki Campus, Ms Lefevre had been taken to invasive species management projects at Karori in Wellington and Tiritiri Matangi in Auckland. As a result of her experiences in New Zealand and discussions with members of the ISSG and PII staff, the Director-General acknowledged the importance of invasive species management in both biodiversity and livelihood areas and pledged IUCN support for the programmes.
Ms Marton-Lefevre’s visit, her first to the region, had been highly anticipated and highlighted IUCN’s role and experiences in providing a rich platform for all stakeholders to share environmental issues in the region. Her visit also provided the opportunity for discussions to strengthen the role of IUCN in delivering its value propositions with IUCN commission members, members and potential members in the region.
May 22nd 'The International Day for Biological Diversity 2009'
May 22nd 'The International Day for Biological Diversity 2009' was dedicated to invasive alien species. Scientific evidence indicates that biological invasions are growing at an unprecedented rate, posing increasing threats to the diversity of life, and also disrupting ecosystem functionality. Global economies, as well as water supply, food security and human health are impacted negatively.
Despite the urgency to take action against invasions, public awareness on the issue is inadequate. The celebration on May 22nd hopefully made the international community realise the high costs that we are all paying to the globalization of economies, and convinced decision makers to implement the principles that were agreed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=7197), but never fully applied.
ISSG is ready to do its bit for supporting global action toward biological invasions; our network of leading specialists provide technical advice to policy makers, and, ISSG disseminates the most current and reliable information on invasive species ecology, their impacts on biological diversity and ways to prevent and control their spread.
Chair IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group
The Italian Minister of the Environment, Stefania Prestigiacomo, has announced financial support for the Global Invasive Species Database (GISD), the freely accessible online database of the ISSG. The GISD is acknowledged as the most authoritative and comprehensive database on alien species at the global scale. Following the appointment of Piero Genovesi as the new ISSG chair, GISD will be hosted at the Environmental Protection and Research Institute (ISPRA) in Rome, Italy.
The Italian Ministry of Environment is committed to provide financial contributions to enhance the improvement of the GISD and, in particular, to integrate it with other information services, thus increasing support to decision makers.
The commitment of the Italian Minister is a first implementation of the actions listed in the Syracuse Charter on Biodiversity, agreed at the last G8 Environment Ministers meeting, which calls for developing and strengthening actions to prevent and control the spread of invasive alien species, and support to global information systems.