The participants of the workshop in Leipzig in March 2015, including representatives from around the world and
various institutions participating in initiatives related to the monitoring of biological invasion.
What variables should be monitored to aid the management of invasive species? Applying the concept of essential biodiversity variables, a new
study identified three essential variables for invasion monitoring; alien species occurrence, status and impact. This minimum information set can
then be delivered by joint, complementary contributions from countries and global community initiatives. In a recent article published in
Biological Conservation, post-doctoral researcher Guillaume Latombe
and C·I·B associate Melodie A. McGeoch brought together 22
international researchers to present their vision for implementing and harmonising the global
monitoring of biological invasions. This work is the result of a workshop including all co-authors (comprising C·I·B core team
members Cang Hui, Sabrina Kumschick and John Wilson, and C·I·B associates Tim Blackburn and Petr Pyšek) hosted by the
Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (GEO BON) at the
German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) in Leipzig in March 2015.
Current information with complete global coverage is central to managing biological invasions. International and cross-border policy and
co-operation is particularly essential; trans-boundary and trading partnership risks cannot be evaluated without adequate information on alien
species distributions. However, systematic monitoring of alien species is lacking, and a standardized approach for tracking biological invasion
has until now not been developed. In this article, the authors show how the architecture for tracking biological invasions is now within reach
and is provided by a minimum information set of essential variables, global collaboration on data sharing and infrastructure, and staged,
strategic contributions by countries. With the approach developed in this study, country contributions are made feasible using a modular approach
where all countries are able to participate and strategically build their contributions over time. Current developments in best-practice data
infrastructure and biodiversity informatics, including for alien species, are ready to support the system.
Recent progress that makes this vision realizable includes the current focus on identifying essential biodiversity metrics. The recent
development, and support by the IUCN, of a standard scheme
for quantifying invasive species impacts form a key part of the approach. Finally, significant developments in digital infrastructure and
delivery of information on alien species are well advanced in their capacity to support a global observation system for alien species. The
approach provides clear direction for national and international efforts to collect the data most essential to enable actions to reduce the
negative consequences of biological invasions. It is also flexible enough to accommodate data with a range of precision and accuracy for multiple
taxa, ecosystems and countries.
“The vision we outline will deliver wide-ranging benefits to countries and international efforts to slow the rate of biological
invasions and minimize their environmental impacts”, says Prof. McGeoch. “These benefits will accrue from the step change in
global coverage and current information on alien species, particularly those with the most severe impacts. The system further provides a
much-needed platform for improving the performance of indicators of alien species prevalence and impact, and the delivery of reliable information
for policy, such as for the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, 2011-2020.”
The proposed essential variables for the monitoring of biological invasions, outlined in a modular approach
enabling all countries to participate in this initiative. View a larger image.
Read the paper
Latombe G, Pyšek P, Jeschke JM, Blackburn TM,
Bacher S, Capinha C, Costello MJ, Fernández M, Gregory RD, Hobern D, Hui C, Jetz W, Kumschick S, McGrannachan C, Pergl J, Roy HE, Scalera R,
Squires ZE, Wilson JRU, Winter M, Genovesi P & McGeoch MA (2016) A vision for global monitoring of biological invasions. Biological Conservation
For more information, contact Sabrina Kumschick firstname.lastname@example.org