Improving the environmental impact classification for alien taxa (EICAT): a summary of revisions to the framework and guidelines.
The Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT) classifies the impacts caused by alien species in their introduced range in standardised terms across taxa and recipient environments. Impacts are classified into one of five levels of severity, from Minimal Concern to Massive, via one of 12 impact mechanisms. Here, we explain revisions based on an IUCN-wide consultation process to the previously-published EICAT framework and guidelines, to clarify why these changes were necessary. These changes mainly concern: the distinction between the two highest levels of impact severity (Major and Massive impacts), the scenarios of the five levels of severity for the hybridisation and disease transmission mechanisms, the broadening of existing impact mechanisms to capture overlooked mechanisms, the Current (Maximum) Impact, and the way uncertainty of individual impact assessments is evaluated. Our aim in explaining this revision process is to ensure consistency of EICAT assessments, by improving the understanding of the framework.