Invasive Alien Species are a major threat to biological diversity on a global scale, second only to habitat loss. Collection and dissemination of information on these species are widely recognised as crucial components for finding a solution to the problems they cause to nature and people. The IUCN Member Institute of Nature Conservation of the Polish Academy of Sciences manages a website to collect and distribute information on Invasive Alien Species in Poland.
The database on species introduced into Poland was developed by the Institute for the Ministry of the Environment in 1999. In 2003, thanks to a grant from the US State Department, part of the data was translated and made accessible on the internet.
Between 2003 and 2009 new species were included, as a result of cooperation between a group of experts. Currently, there are 1,239 alien species of plants, animals and fungi in the database. Information available on some of these species includes: pathway, place and time of introduction into Poland, current distribution, population trends and impact on native species, habitats and ecosystems. Needs and methods of species control and management are also included.
Among the latest additions to the database are exotic bird escapees:
- Regent parrot, Polytelis anthopeplus
- Lord Derby's parakeet, Psittacula derbiana
- American flamingo, Phoenicopterus ruber
Well known invasive species of Poland are:
- Raccoon, Procyon lotor, which have spread from Germany and escaped from fur farms
- Coneflower, Rudbeckia laciniata L. which was brought into the country back in the 18th century for ornamental purposes and whose impact is considered serious.
The Polish database is part of NOBANIS (European Network on Invasive Alien Species) which is an important gateway to data on invasive alien species in Northern and Central Europe. The database is also the main source of data from Poland for the DAISIE project (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe), whose aim was to develop a database of on all alien species in Europe. In 2009, the database structure was significantly changed, according to guidelines developed by GISIN (Global Invasive Species Information Network).
More information here.