Development of the Invasive Alien Species Indicator

What are we about?

Invasive alien species (IAS) are a major threat to global biodiversity. As a result ‘Trends in IAS’ was selected as one of 22 Headline Indicators (HI) to measure progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity's target of reducing the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010. The indicators were designed to meet the goal and two targets for this HI, i.e. Goal 6 is to ‘control threats from invasive species’ (UNEP/CBD/COP/8/2), and the targets under this goal are:

The outcomes of the 2010 Biodiversity Target assessment for the global Invasive Alien Species Indicator were reported in McGeoch et al. (2010) and Butchart et al. (2010).

The Invasive Alien Species Target (No. 9) of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets now paves the way for both further development and testing of the Invasive Alien Species Indicator, as well as re-expression to assess progress by between now and 2020.

How did we get here?

The 2010 Biodiversity Indicators Partnership (2010 BIP) brought together over 40 organizations working on a suite of indicators to assess progress towards the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) 2010 Target, i.e.“to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth”.

The Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) was the key indicator partner for this indicator, ‘Trends in invasive alien species’. GISP signed the Letter of Agreement to this effect with the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) in December 2007. A GISP Expert Working Group was established in early 2008 to advise the development of the indicators for invasive alien species. A meeting of the Expert Working Group was then convened in London, UK, in March 2008. Prior to the meeting a Background Document was circulated to the Working Group, summarising current progress, and during the meeting, a discussion paper on guiding principles for the development of invasive species indicator(s) was presented.

Key outcomes of the meeting included an agreed composite indicator of invasive alien species comprising 4 measures, for further development and an agreed Workplan including data provision and methodologies.

The first three measures include: 1. Number of IAS per country, 2. Number of IAS with operational management plans in place (per country), and 3. Number of countries party to IAS-relevant international agreements. The IAS Indicator is thus closely related to other species-based indicators. A fourth indicator, i.e. Impact of IAS on species conservation status was also developed using the IUCN Red List.

The Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB) was subsequently contracted to produce a Proof of Concept for the Invasive Alien Species (IAS) Indicator i.e. the first 3 measures. This was delivered by early December 2008, for review by the GISP Expert Working Group. Thereafter a strategy for delivery of the indicator by December 2009 was developed. Work on the Invasive Alien Species Indicator at the CIB (Stellenbosch University, South Africa) began officially on 1 June 2008, and was successfully completed by December 2009 with a final report to GISP, and the subsequent publication of McGeoch et al. (2010).