Invasive alien species: improving understanding and communication

Invasive alien species (IAS) are recognised as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. The number of species considered to be IAS is growing, as is the rate of spread for many. In recognition of the increasing threat  to biodiversity, health and the economy, the EU adopted Regulation 1143/2014 in 2014. This Regulation supports the other EU instruments designed to protect species and habitats. It is a legal tool for Member States with two functions: firstly, preventing the introduction and spread of IAS of Union concern, and secondly, mitigating the impact of already introduced species.

The challenges of gathering and disseminating information on IAS are widely recognized. IAS have different pathways for entering the EU which are related to a range of economic activities. Some businesses are based on the trade of IAS, e.g. dealers trading in invasive plants or pets, while other IAS are introduced accidentally by economic activities such as transporting soil for construction or ballast in shipping. At the same time, other economic activities are affected by the increase of IAS: they may take over abandoned sites, making construction work difficult, or spread on farmland, harming food production. Different stakeholders therefore experience a range of benefits and costs, which are not necessarily fairly shared. This in turn leads to conflicts. At the same time, many stakeholders have little knowledge of the impact their activities have.

For this reason, the European Commission decided to establish a number of platforms based around the different entry pathways for IASs. The aim of the platform work will be to prepare IAS prevention campaigns to be implemented by the sectors involved.

adelphi is responsible for establishing the platforms in collaboration with a team of IAS experts led by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and Sligo University. In this task, the adelphi team is building on experience from a series of other projects establishing and maintaining dialogue platforms for stakeholders to improve coexistence between people and large carnivores.