11,000 alien species invade Europe

Nov 20, 2008

For the first time it is now possible to get a comprehensive overview of which alien species are present in Europe, their impacts and consequences for the environment and society. More than 11,000 alien species have been documented by DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventory for Europe), a unique three year research project with more than 100 European scientists, funded by the European Union that provides new knowledge on biological invasions in Europe. Biological invasions by alien species often result in a significant loss in the economic value, biological diversity and function of invaded ecosystems.

The majority of these 11,000 alien species are however, not harmful. About 15 percent of these alien species cause economic damages and 15 percent cause harm to biological diversity, that is the environment, habitats and native plants, animals and micro-organisms, according to findings in the newly released and freely accessible web portal at www.europe-aliens.org and the DAISIE "Handbook of alien species in Europe" that is launched this week.

Previous to the publication of the results of the DAISIE project, the number and impacts of harmful alien species (also called invasive alien species) in Europe has been underestimated, especially for species that do not damage agriculture, forestry or human health. The lack of knowledge has contributed to inaction in many European countries which is becoming increasingly disastrous for Europe's biodiversity, health and economy.

Alien species may have a profound impact on the environment and society as they can act as vectors for new diseases, alter ecosystem processes, change biodiversity, disrupt cultural landscapes, reduce the value of land and water for human activities and cause other socio-economic consequences. Alien species are plants, animals and micro-organisms that have been moved by humans to new environments outside of the range they occupy naturally.

Information in this week published DAISIE "Handbook of alien species in Europe" and the internet accessible knowledge base provides an important tool for managing the threat of biological invasion in Europe. Information in DAISIE can be used for documenting current invasions, predicting new invasions and preventing future invasions. Crucial information for planning measures for early detection, eradication and control methods is also provided to decision-makers, environmental planners, students and all concerned.

Source: Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Explore further: Sharks found to exhibit altered swimming behavior when exposed to more acidic water

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The road to sustainable tuna aquaculture

Jul 04, 2014

Domesticating Atlantic Bluefin Tuna may help meet the food industry's demand for this endangered species. However, making such an endeavour sustainable is a challenging task.

Busting an invasion myth of the Spanish slug

Jun 18, 2014

Spanish slugs (Arion lusitanicus) are one of the most common slug species in Central Europe. The animals sometimes nicknamed "killer slugs" are known to do their fair share of damage in fields and gardens. ...

EU must take urgent action on invasive species

Apr 16, 2014

The EU must take urgent action to halt the spread of invasive species that are threatening native plants and animals across Europe, according to a scientist from Queen's University Belfast.

Europe fends off alien species

Jan 28, 2013

To help decision makers mitigate the consequence of alien plant and animal invasion, an EU-wide database maintains a black list of these unwelcome biological invaders.

The five biggest threats to human existence

May 29, 2014

In the daily hubbub of current "crises" facing humanity, we forget about the many generations we hope are yet to come. Not those who will live 200 years from now, but 1,000 or 10,000 years from now. I use ...

Recommended for you

Reducing pesticides and boosting harvests

36 minutes ago

Scientists in Italy are experimenting with sound vibrations to replace pesticides. Adapting different eco-friendly methods they are able to boost harvests and open up a new chapter in sustainable farming.

Native vegetation makes a comeback on Santa Cruz Island

56 minutes ago

On islands, imported plants and animals can spell ecological disaster. The Aleutians, the Galápagos, the Falklands, Hawaii, and countless other archipelagoes have seen species such as rats, goats, brown ...

Power lines offer environmental benefits

1 hour ago

Power lines, long considered eyesores or worse, a potential threat to human health, actually serve a vital role in maintaining the health of a significant population, according to new research out of the ...

New dawn for pasta wheat in Australia

2 hours ago

The University of Adelaide's durum breeding program today at the Hart Field Day will release a new durum wheat variety called DBA-Aurora which promises a step-change in potential durum production in southern Australia.

User comments : 0