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Use of Non-native Species for Poverty Alleviation in Developing Economies

Published: February, 2017

Book chapter

Arne Witt

For decades, development agencies, donors, and others have worked to improve the social and economic reality of people living in the developing world through inputs into the agricultural and fisheries sectors. To improve agricultural production and stem land degradation, often brought about by unsustainable land use practices, non-native tree and shrub species have been introduced, especially to Africa and Asia. To feed rapidly growing populations in these regions, non-native fish species have also been introduced to supplement existing protein sources, which are rapidly being depleted as a result of overexploitation and pollution. Many of these non-native species provide significant benefits to poor communities, but there are also costs associated with these introductions when species escape cultivation or culturing and establish populations in the wild. These “escapees” can have significant negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function, negating their benefits, especially when measured at a landscape or national level. The failure of many development agencies and others to seek holistic or win–win solutions that benefit all sectors, or do not have negative impacts on others, will, in the final analysis, be to the detriment of the millions of poor communities they have tried to assist. The unfortunate reality is that many donors and development agencies have failed to recognise or acknowledge that cultured organisms can have significant impacts on ecosystems and human health should they escape and establish invasive populations.

Use of Non-native Species for Poverty Alleviation in Developing Economies

Type Book chapter

Published in Impact of Biological Invasions on Ecosystem Services, Vilà M., Hulme P. (eds), Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology, vol 12. Springer, Cham 295-310

Language English

Year 2017

Related projects

Action on Invasives

The global cost of invasive species is estimated at US$1.4 trillion per year – close to 5% of global gross domestic product. Invasives disproportionately affect vulnerable communities in poor rural areas, especially in developing countries which depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems, trade and tourism for their livelihoods.

Start: 02/01/18 -End: 31/03/21