CABI’s Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) has been rated highly amongst three other databases for the breadth of information it contains regarding 49 Invasive Alien Species of Union Concern including the Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus) and Asian hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax).

Scientists, who published research in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation looking at the ‘harmonisation and educational potential’ of the ISC as well as EASIN, GISD and NOBANIS, said the CABI platform ranked ‘significantly highest’ based on combined scores for the topics: morphological identification, EU distribution, detrimental impacts, control options, and the use of source material citations.

The team, which included lead authors Dr Neil Coughlan and Dr Jaimie Dick from Queen’s University Belfast, also said CABI’s ISC also ranked highest for the individual topics of species identification, impacts, control options, and the use of citations.

Dr Coughlan and Dr Dick, in the paper, said ‘overall, scores differed significantly among databases and thus lacked harmonisation, whereby CABI ranked significantly highest based on the combined score for all topics.’

Since 2016, there has been a requirement for Member States of the European Union to prevent, control and eradicate a range of selected Invasive Alien Species (IAS) designated as Species of Union Concern.

As part of the conservation efforts, online information systems – such as the ISC – are used to present IAS information to the wider public. The scientists add that this is often done to ‘bolster community-based environmental monitoring’ despite the fact that they assert both the ‘conformity and quality of information present amongst online databases remain poorly understood.’

The ISC is an encyclopaedic resource that draws together scientific information on all aspects of invasive species. It comprises detailed datasheets that have been sourced from experts, edited by CABI’s scientific staff, peer-reviewed, enhanced with data from specialist organizations, and with images and maps, and linked to a bibliographic database.

Asian hornet Pixabay

The Asian hornet (Credit: Pixabay).

It is aimed at researchers, lecturers and students, resource and environment managers in agriculture, forestry, rangeland, urban land, rivers, lakes and coastal waters, policy makers, agricultural research centres and extension officers, quarantine officers, crop protection and animal health practitioners (both public and private sector) and weed specialists.

Dr Coughlan and Dr Dick argue that for ‘each topic, the highest scoring databases achieved scores indicative of detailed or highly detailed information, which suggests a high educational potential for the information portrayed, nevertheless, the extent of harmonisation and quality of information presented amongst online databases should be improved.’

Lucinda Charles, Senior Content Editor on the ISC, said, “We are delighted that recognition has been made for over 10 years of continuous development of the Invasive Species Compendium which is aimed at providing up-to-date detailed information for researchers, students and practitioners.”

In 2001, CABI’s Compendium Programme Consortia identified a need for a Compendium on Invasive Species in recognition of the threat posed by invasive species to the global economy and environment. This coincided with a similar recognition by the US National Invasive Species Management Plan.

CABI’s long-standing expertise in invasive species makes it ideally placed to develop this resource, in partnership with other expert organizations including the US Department of Agriculture which is a lead partner with CABI in the project.


Additional information

Main photo: The Siberian chipmunk (Tamias sibiricus) is one of 49 Invasive Alien Species of Union concern in Europe (Credit: Pixabay).

Full paper reference

Neil E. Coughlan, Linda Lyne, Ross N. Cuthbert, Eoghan M. Cunningham, Frances E. Lucy, Eithne Davis, Joe M. Caffrey, Jaimie T.A. Dick, In the black: Information harmonisation and educational potential amongst international databases for Invasive alien species designated as of Union Concern, Global Ecology and Conservation, Volume 24, 2020,

About the Invasive Species Compendium

The Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) is an encyclopaedic resource that brings together a wide range of different types of science-based information to support decision-making in invasive species management worldwide.

The US Department of Agriculture is a lead partner with CABI in the development of this Compendium which has been resourced by a diverse international Consortium of government departments, non-governmental organizations and private companies (further information is provided on this page).

The ISC could not have been produced without the collaboration of experts from around the world. See Contributors for the list of the authors, reviewers and consultants who have helped develop the Compendium.