Invasive alien species pose greater risks than previously thought for biodiversity, human health and economies, according to two new reports from the European Environment Agency (EEA).
An alien or non-native species is an organism which humans have introduced –intentionally or accidentally -outside its previous range. It is deemed ‘invasive’ if it has negative effects on its surroundings, for example by outcompeting or predating on native species that have evolved without specific adaptations to cope with them. In such cases populations of native species can be devastated. Evidence shows that in a growing number of cases invasive alien species even cause harm to human health and society.
There are more than 10 000 alien species present in Europe, and the rate of new introductions has accelerated and is still increasing. At least 15 % of these alien species are known to have a negative ecological or economic impact. However, non-native species – for example, some food crops – can also have huge benefits.
The first report, The impacts of invasive alien species in Europe, details the effects and spread of some species. The second report, Invasive alien species indicators in Europe discusses the methodological approach in bringing this data together.
Source: European Environment Agency EEA