European Alien Invasion
Recently, invasive species experts have insisted Europe-wide legislation be established to protect indigenous species from the invaders, reports the BBC. Researchers advise installing legislation as soon as next year, to try to decrease the 12 billion euros (around US$16 billion) of damage that invasive animals, plants and microorganisms cause in Europe each year.
A 2008 European inventory found over 10,000 invasive, non-native species. Around 1,300 of these invaders have a negative impact on the environment, economy or human health. Some alien species were brought over for ornamental purposes (eg. Ruddy duck which interbreeds with native ducks), or were accidentally brought along with international travel/transport (eg. Asian tiger mosquito which carries a fever similar to Dengue Fever).
The DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species In Europe) project has an online list of 100 of the worst invasive species in Europe. The heading for each species is only in Latin, which makes easy recognition difficult, but otherwise it’s an excellent list.
A study published in Biological Conservation has shown that many bird species (such as the Canada Goose) have an impact on agriculture and human health as far reaching, if not worse, than many mammals, writes the BBC.
Swiss researchers found that brown rats, sika deer and muskrat are among those invasive mammal species having the largest ecological and economic impact, reports the BBC. While rats may especially make many Europeans shudder, given their history, invasive species collectively cause damage to other species, ecosystems, agricultural lands and even homes.
In an effort to solve the problem of invasive species, scientists recently gathered in Copenhagen at the Neobiota conference. The invasive species laws of New Zealand and Australia are examples of what scientists are calling for the EU to implement. Legislation would fulfill the commitment previously agreed to in June 2009 by the council of European ministers.