The North American beaver, turtle jaws, harlequin ladybird and rainbow trout are some of the invasive alien species (ISA) found in Chile, where they cause environmental damage, economic loss and impact people’s lives. This phenomenon is repeated worldwide and is one of the top five causes of biodiversity loss, along with climate change, changes in land and sea use, pollution and the direct exploitation of organisms. So explains University of Concepción (UdeC) scientist Aníbal Pauchard Cortés, who was one of the three co-chairs of the Intergovernmental Scientific-Regulatory Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) in the development of its latest report, on ERA.
This report was published three days ago after four years of work reviewing more than 13,000 documents – including scholarly articles and contributions from indigenous peoples and local communities – with the participation of 86 experts from 49 countries and more than 200 contributing authors. These characteristics make this IPBES study the most comprehensive assessment of invasive alien species ever conducted anywhere in the world.
“The main finding of this report is that invasive species are a global problem affecting every ecosystem on the planet. “There is no ecosystem that is safe from this problem, so we should all be concerned, not just in the areas where there are more invasive species,” Pauchard said Country Circular just before returning from Germany to Chile, the country where the last stage of the preparation of the document was carried out.
“Another point we note is that this trend of invasive species will continue to multiply with climate change, increase in trade, population, travel, etc.,” adds the scientist who heads the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity (IEB). One of the most striking figures in research “is the annual cost of invasive species: more than $423 billion worldwide; and it is quite an oversimplified and underestimated cost, since we probably have many losses that are not considered in our study,” commented Pauchard, professor at the UdeC Faculty of Forest Sciences.
The report shows that these costs have quadrupled in every decade since 1970.
Another figure included in the study states that human activities have introduced more than 37,000 exotic species worldwide, of which 3,500 are invasive and harmful, posing a major threat to nature, nature’s contribution to humans and the good quality of the life. In addition, IAS and their impact are increasing at an unprecedented rate around the world and are expected to continue to increase in the future.
A species is exotic if it is not endemic, meaning it was intentionally or unintentionally introduced from another area. An exotic species is considered invasive if its presence and spread negatively impacts ecosystems, native species, and/or human activities. To describe this phenomenon, one also speaks of “biological invasions”.
“Humans caused this problem and they may also be the only way to fix it.” That is, humans have been moving species since there have been migrations; It is normal that we move species. The point is that until recently we didn’t know that in some cases it’s negative, and that’s where we need to prevent, manage and control those that are having out of control impacts on the environment,” explains Pauchard , who co-chaired with Professors Helen Roy from the UK and Peter Stoett from Canada.
The Chilean scientist believed the report was the result of the work of “a high-level human team, including people from all over the world, from different cultures and languages, who came together to bring the best of science to the world.” world.” “They help to preserve biodiversity and also improve people’s quality of life.”
He also noted that it was a “personal sacrifice (…). In addition, there were significant costs to the family as meetings were held from 6am to 9pm; suddenly at very strange times because we all came from different parts of the world.” He also acknowledged the support of the University of Concepción, which allowed him to devote a third of his day to this study for four years. “The last week was extremely difficult and very intense. “I’ve been in Bonn for 14 days and am leaving pretty exhausted,” admitted Pauchard shortly before leaving for Chile.