Indicator Update: Status of Alien Species Invasion

Invasive Alien Species are plants, animals or micro-organisms outside of their natural range whose introduction and/or spread threatens biodiversity, food security, human health, trade, transport and/or economic development. They pose the second biggest threat to biodiversity globally, and in certain ecosystems notably Islands, the biggest threat to biodiversity. The cost of damage caused by invasive alien species is estimated as US$ 1.4 trillion per annum - close to 5% of GDP! GISP is the key invasive alien species indicator partner of 2010 BIP. Together with the Centre for Invasion Biology, GISP has developed the number of invasive alien species in a country as one indicator of the threat posed by invasive species to biodiversity.

Information on the number and identity of invasive alien species in a country is an indicator of invasion status. It forms a baseline from which future trends can be monitored, and it can be used to inform policy and management. However there is huge global variation in data availability across both countries and taxa. As a result, those countries with the most developed monitoring and recording systems (data rich countries) have the most invasive alien species in the indicator. Countries that are data deficient for invasive species information could not only be at substantial risk from invasive alien species, but the extent of this threat remains unknown.

Due to global inconsistencies in available data, the status indicator becomes the number of documented invasive alien species, and under-represents countries that have little monitoring, recording and dissemination of invasive alien species information. As the indicator is intended to measure actual changes in the threat to biodiversity, it is imperative that invasive alien species data availability and collation is substantially improved in many regions.

View this newsflash in the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (BIP) newsletter.

Status of invasive alien species data for countries reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity

[ Indicator in action list ]