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Multiple negative impacts of Invasive Alien Species

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Some 60% of the animals and plants that have become extinct globally are due to invasive alien species, according to a new international report.

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), entitled ‘Invasive Alien Species and their Control’, describes the impact of invasive alien species on biodiversity, human health, and the economy.

And the global cost of these impacts is estimated at $423 bln per year and is expected to continue to quadruple every decade.

The report was prepared by 86 researchers from 49 countries, including Dr Angeliki Martinou, an entomologist at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Joint Services Health Unit at Akrotiri, and a research associate at The Cyprus Institute’s Centre of Excellence for Climate and Atmosphere Research (CARE-C).

Alien invasive species are organisms transported to new locations outside their natural range, unintentionally or intentionally, through human activities.

It is estimated there are 37,000 alien species worldwide, of which around 3,500 are invasive.

Introducing these invasive species into new areas has negative impacts on the area’s biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainable development, and human health.

According to research by the RAF Joint Services Health Unit, around 1270 alien species have been recorded in Cyprus, some of which are invasive https://ris-ky.info/cydas.

Invasive alien species combined with climate change and urbanisation can have a devastating impact on the island’s biodiversity and natural protected areas or even lead to the extinction of endemic species unique to Cyprus.

Some of the alien invasive species that may pose a threat to Cyprus’ biodiversity are the acacia tree, the myna bird, the swamp crayfish, the mosquitofish, the small fire ant, the lionfish, the silver-cheeked toadfish, and many others.

The IPBES report stresses the importance of studying the impact of invasive alien species on human health.

For example, the yellow fever mosquito or the Asian tiger mosquito, recently established in Cyprus, carries pathogens that can cause diseases such as yellow fever, dengue fever or Zika virus, while invasive alien species can also threaten agricultural production, with economic implications.

The report recommends ways to manage the problem, such as implementing management plans to control or eradicate invasive alien species by stakeholders.

Better information for citizens about invasive alien species is extremely important, as is their involvement in their identification, as prevention and early detection of these species in case of importation, is usually the only way to combat them successfully.