About the project
What are Invasive Alien Species?
Invasive Alien Species (IAS) present an increasingly urgent economic, societal and environmental problem. Europe experiences an annual economic impact from IAS estimated at €12.5-20 billion, of which € 9.6 billion can be attributed to damage (e.g. to infrastructure and health sectors). IAS are stated as one of the five main causes of global biodiversity loss in the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, alongside climate change, pollution, overexploitation and habitat loss. The EU’s ‘Biodiversity Strategy to 2020’ is the main instrument for meeting the challenges posed by IAS, which are likely to threaten European ecosystems and the services they provide in Europe. Consequently, European countries are obliged to tackle IAS problems and EU/international legislation sets out substantial expectations. For example, the United Nations (UN) Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) expects countries to “eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species”, whilst the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife & Natural Habitats requires members to “strictly control the introduction of non-indigenous species”.