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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Impacts of invasive species

Impacts of invasive species

Economies icon

Economies – Invasive species are costing a fortune – both directly, through attempting to control them, and indirectly through lost resources and devaluing land.

Losses caused by invasive species on just eight staple crops are nearing $12.8 billion per annum.

Safety icon

Health – Invasive species can have severe impacts on human and animal health. The allergenic pollen of common ragweed's (Ambrosia) impacts are well known, giant hogweed's toxic sap can cause burns to skin, and opuntia's thorns cause abscesses in the stomachs of the livestock who eat them.

Biodiversity icon

Biodiversity – Invasive weeds crowd out native vegetation and limit plant and animal species diversity. Some invasive plant species can reduce native plant richness by up to 90%.

Water icon

Water and fisheries – Invasive weeds growing in and beside water bodies have the potential to alter food chains, and their impact on water quality can threaten aquatic ecosystems and fisheries. Water hyacinth which is found in Lake Victoria, Kenya, is a well-known example.

Infrastructure icon

Infrastructure – Invasive species, particularly weeds, can cause significant damage to buildings, drainage systems, railway lines, and other structures. This can add huge costs to development and regeneration schemes.

The impacts of invasive species to livelihoods in the developing world are huge. We have created a dedicated website to highlight the impacts on smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa. With videos and information from our Invasive Species Compendium, it highlights the plight of those affected and some of the worst invasive species.

Invasive species: The livelihoods threat

Invasive species impact the livelihoods of the rural poor who are dependent on natural resources for income and survival. They also undermine international development investment. CABI is developing an ambitious solution to this complex problem. We aim to target local, national and regional communities and will work across sectors. We want to... >>