A prioritization process for invasive alien plant species incorporating the requirements of EU Regulation no. 1143/2014.
When faced with a large species pool of invasive or potentially invasive alien plants, prioritization is an essential prerequisite for focusing limited resources on species which inflict high impacts, have a high rate of spread and can be cost-effectively managed. The prioritization process as detailed within this paper is the first tool to assess species for priority for risk assessment (RA) in the European Union (EU) specifically designed to incorporate the requirements of EU Regulation no. 1143/2014. The prioritization process can be used for any plant species alien to the EU, whether currently present within the territory or absent. The purpose of the prioritization is to act as a preliminarily evaluation to determine which species have the highest priority for RA at the EU level and may eventually be proposed for inclusion in the list of invasive alien species of EU concern. The preliminary risk assessment stage (Stage 1), prioritizes species into one of four lists (EU List of Invasive Alien Plants, EU Observation List of Invasive Alien Plants, EU List of Minor Concern and the Residual List) based on their potential for spread coupled with impacts. The impacts on native species and ecosystem functions and related ecosystem services are emphasized in line with Article 4.3(c) of the Regulation. Only those species included in the EU List of Invasive Alien Plants proceed to Stage 2 where potential for further spread and establishment coupled with evaluating preventative and management actions is evaluated. The output of Stage 2 is to prioritize those species which have the highest priority for a RA at the EU level or should be considered under national measures which may involve a trade ban, cessation of cultivation, monitoring, control, containment or eradication. When considering alien plant species for the whole of the EPPO region, or for species under the Plant Health Regulation, the original EPPO prioritization process for invasive alien plants remains the optimum tool.