Wildlife & Biodiversity

Threat of invasive alien species is increasing worldwide: International study

Urgent action is required to prevent, detect and control invaders at both local and global levels, say authors

 
Last Updated: Monday 29 June 2020

The threat from invasive, alien species is increasing globally, a new study done by an international team of scientists has warned.

Urgent action is required to prevent, detect and control invaders at both local and global levels, the authors of the study said.

Invasive, alien species are plants, animals and microbes brought in by people accidentally or intentionally into regions where they do not exist.

There are around 18,000 invasive alien species around the world, according to the study.

The researchers noted that the increase in the number of alien invasive species was due to the rise of new ‘pathways’ such as the online trade in exotic pets as well as the transport of species across oceans on rafts of plastic.

Invasive species caused 25 per cent of plant extinctions and 33 per cent of animal extinctions, a 2017 study on global extinctions had noted.

The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, India and Brazil lose $100 billion annually due to alien species. 

Invasive and alien species are also increasing due to factors such as climate change, land-use change and international trade, the study said. Species transported through shipping can now thrive in new regions, for instance, owing to climate warming, it added.

The permanent opening of the Arctic Ocean due to global warming is allowing marine species to move between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, it said.

Published in Biological Reviews, the study was carried out by a team of researchers from 13 countries.

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