Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Michael Bowman, Peter Davies and Edward Goodwin
Chapter 7: Alien invasive species: is the EU’s strategy fit for purpose?
The spread of alien species throughout the world is a phenomenon which gathered momentum in colonial times as more trade routes opened up, and has proliferated in today’s world of integrated economies and markets. International trade has particularly facilitated the movement of alien species as has our ability to travel far more easily than ever before. Having arrived in its new environment, a given alien species might lack the capacity to adapt and survive. Others may continue to exist with minimum impact on the ecosystem in question, and may indeed bring benefits to a given ecosystem. However, some alien species become ‘invasive’ in that their introduction or spread presents a serious threat to the native wildlife and biodiversity generally. In Europe alone it is estimated that 10 per cent of the 12,000 alien species are invasive, and it is believed that there has been an increase of 76 per cent in the number of invasive alien species in this region since the 1970s. The cost of invasions by invasive alien species (IAS) in Europe has been estimated to be at least €12 million each year, whilst the total cost to date in Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the USA is thought to be in the region of US$300 billion.
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