One of our recent books on invasive species...
Invasive species are plants, animals or microorganisms not native to an ecosystem, whose introduction has threatened biodiversity, food security, health or economic development.
Famous invasive species include:
Water hyacinth – a water weed that has clogged African lakes and is now widespread in Southeast Asia and has reached southern Europe. Its removal from 75km of the Guadiana river in Spain has cost nearly 15 million Euros.
Japanese knotweed – an ornamental plant introduced to Europe in the mid-nineteenth century and one of the few terrestrial plants to be legislated for in UK law.
Freshwater zebra mussel – the native distribution of this species is the Black and Caspian Seas. It is invasive in estuaries, lakes, and water courses of the UK and the rest of western Europe, Canada and the USA. It has probably been introduced through ballast water.
Globally, the cost of damage caused by invasive species has been estimated to be US$1.5 trillion per year – close to 5% of global GDP. More recent estimates of costs within Europe alone are €12 billion.
Many ecosystems are affected by invasive species and they pose one of the biggest threats to biodiversity worldwide. Globalization through increased trade, transport, travel and tourism will inevitably increase the intentional or accidental introduction of organisms to new environments, and it is widely predicted that climate change will further increase the threat posed by invasive species.
CABI has a long history researching invasive species that affect agriculture and the environment to find biological ways of controlling them. But our role is now much broader than that: we advise on policy for invasive species management and we implement countrywide management plans.
Browse the projects CABI is currently involved in, which tackle the issue of invasive species >>