In an increasingly globalized world, people don’t just travel for tourism. So are plants and animals. Their trips become more problematic, because if they like one of their destinations they will be invasive alien species.
He only saw the light first global report on invasive alien species. This report is addressed to the more than 140 governments that make up the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) which assesses trends, causes, impacts and management proposals to address biological invasions around the world. . It is expected that it will serve to create information systems, implement prevention plans with blacklists and alerts or dedicate efforts to eliminate certain species in the beginning stage of invasion, and other issues.
It also allows us to understand who, now, are the most sought after invasive alien species, let’s say, those of today and those of the near future.
The Department of Climate Action of the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Observatory of Natural Heritage and Biodiversity are working to integrate data on invasive species collected by institutions and initiatives that should then be used to plan and manage this environmental problem, social and economic, they explained from CREAF, the organization that carries out most of that work. The Catalan list helps us, in this case, to understand the panorama at a level beyond that autonomous community.
“Blacklists and alerts are a very effective tool in prioritize where prevention and detection efforts should be placed and make sure we respond quickly and appropriately,” said Marc Vilahur, director general of Environmental and Natural Resources Policies at the Department of Climate Action.
Blacklists operate at different levels of priority. The Catalan lists show a total of 300 species that require control and eradication actions, in the case of 172 species on the black list, and monitoring and surveillance in the case of 125 on the alert list.
Loss dominant groups in these black and red lists (the most serious) and alert are plants, birds, aquatic invertebrates and mammals. Most of the birds considered a priority and with invasive potential are already present in Catalonia and, therefore, included in the black lists, while an important part of the plants and mammals have not yet been found in the territory and are included in the alert lists.
The most wanted
But what are these most sought after invasive species? CREAF data refers to Catalonia, but it helps to visualize things.
Roser Rotchés: “Its great capacity for dispersion and colonization of the territory makes it difficult to control it”
Among the non-invasive (black list) they cover various groups of animals and plants. For example, about plants, the Cylindropuntia is a species of flowering plant (C. spinosior), few aquatic plants especially in the genus Ludwigia (L. grandiflora) or to Dense Egeria and the Eicchornia crassipes is a species of flowering plant. In the case of insects The eastern wasp stands (Vespa orientalis), found for the first time in the port of Barcelona in 2022 and in principle eliminated by the Department of Climate Action. on birds from CREAF they make special mention of parrots in the old genre Aaratinga which can be found in the city of Barcelona and the metropolitan area of Barcelona, Psittacara mitratus or Nandyus nenday. The two most sought after mammals are raccoon (Procyon lotor) and the Vietnamese pork (Sown in pig var. HOME), both are subject to the control measures of the Catalan Department of Climate Action.
The lists also identify other species that have not yet reached Catalonia, but are already present in nearby geographical areas and help to outline the peninsular and European map of invasive species. They emphasize the seaweed such as Caulerpa taxifolia is a species of flowering plant or Asian crab (Cherax destructor, Eriocheir sinensis). The colorful mammals that were widespread throughout Europe also stood out: the Java mongoose (Herpestes javanicus), he raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), the gray squirrel (Carolina squirrel), he waste (Ammotragus lervia), he montjac (Muntiacus reevesi) yl American muskrat (Muskrat zibeticus).
“The main reason that these species raise more concern is their ability to tolerate different environmental conditions, and above all their great capacity to spread and colonize the territory, which makes their control difficult, ” explained Roser Rotchés, technical coordinator of Exocat.
In addition, most have a significant impact on the natural environment, changing conditions and displacing native species. Aquatic plants can also alter water levels in rivers and lagoons, potentially impeding irrigation infrastructure, for example. Some have an impact on human health or the economy, such as cacti in the genus Cylindropuntia which can be a danger to animals and people because of their spikes or the oriental Vespa which can be a problem in the beekeeping sector and a danger to people because of its stings.
Elimination is possible
Is it possible to prevent an invasive species from establishing itself? From CREAF they remember the bullfrog success story which reached the Ebro Delta and is considered to have been eliminated this August (although in 2024 the sampling will be repeated to confirm its elimination).
The bullfrog was found for the first time in June 2018, when the larvae were located in the green filter lagoon of Isla de Mar in the delta. Because of the impact that this species can cause, preventive measures are immediately implemented to contain the found nucleus and prevent its spread. Likewise, an elimination plan was launched.
“Early detection and fast and strong action have been the key to achieving eradication,” explained Marc Vilahur. Vilahur emphasized the important collaboration of various entities, volunteers, research teams and experts who participated in the eradication plan when he discussed its success.