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Science for Environment Policy: Invasive Alien Species

Science for Environment Policy: Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species: Risks, Impacts and Solutions

What are the impacts of invasive alien species?
The impacts of invasive alien species (IAS) can take many different forms, from ecological to socio-economic. A new review investigates how to define and quantify `impact´ and discusses the most successful strategies to reduce invasion risk and prevent different impacts.
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A new approach for evaluating alien species risk
A new framework has been developed by researchers to provide guidance in evaluating alien species risk. Using an analysis of more than 300 risk assessment (RA) models, the researchers highlight that many fail to cover all of the components of alien species invasion and offer guidance on which elements to include in future risk assessments.
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Socio-economic factors affect risk of alien species invasion
Omitting socio-economic factors from invasive alien species (IAS) risk assessments could result in serious underestimations of the area at risk, new research suggests. Including factors such as population density and proximity to ports in risk assessments was found in this UK study to increase the size of the area predicted as suitable for invasion by up to six times.
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Human population density explains alien species richness in protected areas
Protected areas near densely populated towns and cities have higher numbers of alien species than those in more isolated locations, research suggests. In a South African study, researchers examined a number of different environmental characteristics of national parks, and found that surrounding human population density best explained the number of alien species in each park.
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Mapping fish invasions in European freshwaters
Detailed analysis of the patterns of invasion of alien fish species in Austria and Germany has highlighted how drivers of invasion, such as the animal trade, can change over time. The researchers who conducted the analysis warn that climate change may be a key cause in changing invasion patterns in the future.
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Endangered species' response to the dual threat of climate change and invasive species
The joint threat posed by climate change and invasive alien species can have different effects on endangered native species, new research suggests. This European study predicts that the invasive zebra mussel may benefit from climate change, negatively affecting native mussel populations; but both invasive and native crayfish could suffer declines.
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Effective tools to predict spread and improve monitoring of invasive alien species
Effective surveillance and risk analysis are key to preventing the ecological damage caused by invasive alien species (IAS). Habitat suitability models provide highly effective tools for predicting the spread of IAS and guiding monitoring strategies, new research suggests.
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Risks of invasion of alien marine species driven by global shipping
New research has identified global hot spots of invasion risk by marine species transported in the ballast water of shipping. Treating this water before discarding it could reduce the risk of invasions by as much as 82%, the researchers predict.
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Does the public´s view of invasive alien species differ from the professionals´?
Key differences between public and professional opinions on invasive alien species (IAS) are highlighted by a recent UK study. Its authors recommend clearer, open discussion of the harm caused by IAS and human responsibility for their spread.
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Conservation managers and public unaware of invasive alien species´ true risks
Neither the public nor conservation managers are fully aware of the different risks posed by invasive alien species (IAS), new research suggests. A study examining perceptions of five invasive species in the UK shows that both conservation managers and the public regard some highly damaging species as `low risk´, and that their awareness does not increase with the amount of scientific research on the topic.
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