Invasive Alien Species - International Day for Biological Diversity, 22nd May
Good afternoon everyone:
22nd May marks the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB). Organised by the Convention on Biological Diversity, this year the celebration has a focus on a subject of great relevance to Ramsar – Invasive Alien Species (IAS).
Recognised by the Millennium Ecosystem assessment as one of the five key drivers of change in wetland ecosystems, invasive species are assessed as having a high impact on wetland biodiversity over the last century with inland waters suffering rather more seriously than coastal waters. The other four key drivers are habitat change, climate change, overexploitation and pollution.
Why does it matter? Apart from the known losses of local species through the impact of invasive aliens, the cost to human society of IAS damage and control is huge. At a global scale, the annual cost is estimated at US$ 1.4 trillion (for all invasive species, not just those associated with wetlands). To take but one wetland example, the cost water hyacinth and other water weeds in developing countries related to water use is estimated as US$ 100 million per year.
The CBD has developed quite a number of materials for the IDB that provide excellent information sources on IAS and of course these can be used if you intend to run an IDB day event on the 22nd of this month. Start here http://www.cbd.int/idb/2009/. On this web page you will find links to a downloadable poster, a bookmark, as well an illustrated 24-page bookletInvasive Alien Species: a threat to biodiversity. After a brief introduction, chapters helpfully cover threats and impacts, pathways of invasion, climate change and IAS, and then a section on what can be done (the latter variously addressing policy makers, consumers, landowners, educators and youth). A final section on what you should NOT do is aimed at pet owners, travellers, boaters and fishers, and horticulturists/landowners. There is also a helpful glossary at the end to define some of the technical words in the text.
Scroll to the bottom of the IDB web page and you will find a reference and link to a useful publication from The Nature Conservancy called Assessing and Managing Invasive Species within Protected Areas.Protected Area Quick Guide Series. Amongst other things, this helpfully (and concisely) looks at assessing IAS threats, prevention and pathways, management control and restoration, management planning for invasive species in PAs etc.
With best wishes, Sandra Hails, Ramsar Secretariat
CEPA Programme Officer
Ramsar Convention Secretariat
Rue Mauverney 28, 1196 Gland, Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 9990176
Fax: +41 22 9990169