In recent decade, invasions of various alien species have become a major driver of biodiversity loss, second only to habitat fragmentation. One-third of bird species included in the IUCN Red List, 6 % of mammals, and 11 % of amphibians are threatened by invasive species, which account for more extinctions worldwide than any other agent.
Invasions do not only threaten our biodiversity. They also affect our well-being and economies, causing losses exceeding EUR 12 billion annually, endangering the ecosystem services that we depend on and transforming the landscapes that have formed Europe’s cultural background for millennia.
The European Commission has formally recognised the urgent need to tackle invasions in its Communication ‘Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species’ (COM (2008) 789 final). There it commits to develop a policy on the issue and establish an early warning system. The Council of European Ministers endorsed these commitments in the Conclusions of its 2953rd meeting (Luxembourg, 25 June 2009). In addition, G8 Environment Ministers in 2009 stressed the urgent need to combat invasive species, calling on the world community to establish a global early warning system.
|Author||European Environment Agency|