Alan Gange, Amanda Currie & Nadia Ab Razak (Royal Holloway, University of London), Carol Ellison, Norbert Maczey & Suzy Wood (CABI ) and Robert Jackson & Mojgan Rabiey (University of Reading) discuss the threat of invasive species to biodiversity, including the biological control of Himalayan balsam
Invasive species are one of the main threats to biodiversity across the world, being second only to habitat destruction in causing biodiversity decline. In the UK, they cost the economy £1.7 billion annually, through costs of control, losses to agriculture and damage to infrastructure.
CABI has joined an international team of experts in the field of agricultural science to develop a framework for Global Surveillance System (GSS) for crop diseases that could help ensure greater food security around the world.
Dr Roger Day, Programme Executive for the recently launched Action on Invasives programme led by CABI, was of one many scientists representing more than 15 international research and governmental organisations concerned with reducing the global burden of crop diseases by informing, preparing and enabling response plans for a more food-secure future.
Gareth Richards, CABI’s Compendium Programme Manager, said, “Risk assessors, plant protection officers, quarantine officers, protected area managers and researchers will find that the invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool provides a quick and user-friendly means of accessing a large volume of relevant data for categorizing and prioritizing potential invasive species.”
Millions of the world’s most vulnerable people face problems with invasive weeds, insects and plant diseases , which are out of control and have a major impact on global prosperity, communities and the environment. Developing countries are disproportionately affected. The global cost of the world’s 1.2 million invasive species is estimated at $1.4 trillion per year – close to 5 percent of global gross domestic product. In East Africa, five major invasive species alone cause $1 billion in economic losses to smallholder farmers each year.
In response, CABI is today launching a unique, global programme with the aim to protect and improve the livelihoods of 50 million poor rural households impacted by invasive species. The DFID and DGIS funded Action on Invasives programme will champion an environmentally sustainable, cross-sectoral and regional approach to dealing with invasive species.
When tackling health, hunger or education, how many projects consider the threat of invasive species? The Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences International believes not incorporating biosecurity and invasive species management into development work could jeopardize the success of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this guest column, Roger Day highlights how invasive species can have major economic, social, and environmental impact and explains the importance of cross-sector collaboration.
CABI scientists have today raised concerns that an attack on the world’s banana production is worse than first feared, with a perfect storm of three pests having the potential to decimate around $35 billion worth of crops.