22 Sep 2010

Action on invasive species

I was delighted to hear that leading experts are now calling on the EU to take action on invasive species - see BBC report here. I recently wrote about the threat to Ruscombe Brook re Himalayan Balsam - see here - and have also joined the campaign to get the sale of invasive species stopped - see my blog entry re garden centres here.

Photos: Standish woods last weekend

Anyhow these researchers want urgent action from the EU to protect Europe's indigenous species from these "alien invaders". Invasive, non-native animals, plants and microorganisms cause at least 12 billion euros of damage in Europe each year!! Our Government has failed to take this issue seriously - it would be better still if there was an EU wide plan.

As the BBC article notes "a European inventory in 2008 found more than 10,000 alien species in Europe, with 1,300 having some kind of impact. This impact was exerted either on the environment, economy or, on human health. And numbers are on the rise. Research published this year in the journal Science found alien species in Europe have increased by 76% in the last 30 years alone."

As well as the impact on biodiversity and agriculture some species are also a problem for human health - the Asian tiger mosquito apparently carries the Chikungunya virus which causes an illness similar to Dengue fever in humans. It is high time there was a coordinate response.

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