Another milestone towards 2010: will Europe win the battle against Invasive Species?

The European Commission has just released a Communication on possible measures to be taken against Invasive Species. “Following the European Union’s commitment of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010, this Communication is crucial to mobilise joint efforts of all EU institutions including its Member States towards this issue”, said Sebastian Winkler, Head of Countdown 2010.

Knotweed infestation in Cornwall.

Invasive Species are one of the major threats to the earth’s biological diversity, along with climate change, habitat change, overexploitation and pollution. The spread of non-native species – mostly related to enhanced mobility of people and increased trade – causes the disappearance of other indigenous species across Europe and elsewhere and threatens human well-being, agricultural production and health as well.

Recent research indicates that 100,822 non-native species can be found in Europe and it is estimated that at least 10-15% of these species have a negative economic or ecological impact. Threats are particularly high in the EU’s overseas entities. Conservative figures note that the damage caused by Invasive Species and the necessary control measures in Europe amount to EUR 12,700 million annually.

The existing measures are too fragmented for a coordinated implementation among Member States. The newly published Communication paves the way for a stronger role of the European Union in defining new actions – among them legislation, thus limiting the impact and spread of Invasive Species in the European Union. In particular, the paper lays the foundations and outlines options for an EU engagement on Invasive Species to be implemented in the next years – with the aim of having a final and comprehensive strategy adopted in time for the International Year of Biodiversity in 2010.

Read the Communication and if interested take action.

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