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Invasive species, threatening biodiversity in Europe

Invasive Alien
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Invasive Alien Species

Invasive Alien Species are animals and plants that are introduced accidently or deliberately into a natural environment where they are not normally found, with serious negative consequences for their new environment. They represent a major threat to native plants and animals in Europe, causing damage worth millions of euros every year.

New legislation to address invasive alien species and protect biodiversity

A new Regulation on invasive alien species has been adopted by Council on 29 September 2014. The new legislation, which will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union in the next weeks, seeks to address the problem of invasive alien species in a comprehensive manner so as to protect native biodiversity and ecosystem services, as well as to minimize and mitigate the human health or economic impacts that these species can have.

The legislation foresees three types of interventions; prevention, early warning and rapid response, and management. A list of invasive alien species of Union concern will be drawn up with Member States using risk assessments and scientific evidence.

The original Commission proposal and all related documents can be found below:

The EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy adopted in May 2011 announced a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species, hence the new proposal.

In formulating its policy, the European Commission has sought citizens' and stakeholders' views on invasive alien species (2008) and on the specific choices to be made when setting up dedicated legislation on invasive species (2012). The results of the 2008 and 2012 consultations are available here: 2008 and 2012.

All other working material related to the EU invasive alien species policy is accessible here. For further information or comments please mail:  ENV-BIODIVERSITY@ec.europa.eu

 

Commission Communication "Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species"

On 3 December 2008 the European Commission adopted a Communication presenting policy options for an EU Strategy on Invasive Species. The Communication examines the evidence regarding the ecological, economical and social impact of invasive species in Europe, analyses the effectiveness of the current legal situation for tackling this problem and describes 4 possible options for a future EU strategy.

The Commission Communication has since been discussed in various EU institutions:

The Environment Council adopted conclusions on the mid-term assessment of implementing the EU Biodiversity Action Plan (the 2008 Report) and Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species

The Committee of the Regions adopted its opinion "A NEW IMPETUS FOR HALTING BIODIVERSITY LOSS".

The European Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on Towards an EU Strategy on Invasive Species.

 

Information support system

The European Commission is working together with several partners to develop an information exchange mechanism to facilitate the implementation of the EU policy on invasive alien species: the European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN) is an online platform that aims to facilitate the exploration of existing information on alien species from distributed sources.

To access data and information on alien species in Europe through a network of interoperable web services click on European Alien Species Information Network (EASIN)

 

Preparatory studies

Assessment of existing policies on invasive alien species in EU Member States and selected OECD countries – September 2011

This Commission funded study provides an overview of the existing policies on invasive alien species in the 27 EU Member States, as well as in four OECD countries - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The report includes two parts:

  • Final report - summarising the findings of the study
  • Country assessments - summarising the existing policies in each Member State and country considered.

Assessment to support continued development of the EU strategy to combat invasive alien species – November 2010

This Commission funded report sets out a suggested outline for key components of the future EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. The report also provides an initial assessment of the possible level / scale of costs associated with EU policy action on IAS.

Recommendations on policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU – September 2009

Other technical studies aimed at support the development of an EU strategy are list below. Their contents and views are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the European Commission.

  • Recommendations on policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU
  • Assessment of the impacts of invasive alien species in Europe and the EU
  • Policy options to minimise the negative impacts of invasive alien species on biodiversity in Europe and the EU
  • Analysis of the impacts of policy options/measures to address IAS

 

Other research

Other research was conducted focusing on common ragweed, an alien species which is highly invasive across Europe and has harmful impacts on a range of sectors, especially human health and agriculture.

Complex research on methods to halt the Ambrosia invasion in Europe – May 2014

This Commission grant supported a team of scientists from the fields of agronomy, weed science and ecology to design and perform joint experiments and create guidelines and recommendations on the control of ragweed.

Assessing and controlling the spread and the effects of common ragweed in Europe – October 2012

This Commission funded study summarised and systematically reviewed data and utilised modern modelling methods to quantify the current extent of ragweed infestation in Europe, its economic, social and environmental harmful effects in all sectors and possible future scenarios (according to control efforts and climate change).