An increase of 20 to 30 per cent in invasive non-native (alien) species would lead to dramatic future biodiversity loss worldwide.
An increase of 20 to 30 per cent in invasive non-native (alien) species would lead to dramatic future biodiversity loss worldwide. This is the conclusion of a study by an international team of researchers led by Franz Essl and Bernd Lenzner at the University of Vienna and also involving the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. It has been published in the journal Global Change Biology.
Human activities intentionally and unintentionally introduce more and more plant and animal species to new regions of the world – for example, via commodity transport or tourism. Some of these alien species have negative consequences for biodiversity and humans well-being, for example by displacing native species or transmitting diseases. However, while we have relatively good information on the historical spread of alien species, there is still little knowledge about their future development.
“At the moment it is not yet possible to generate precise predictions based on computer models as to how the spread and impact of alien species will change in the future. Therefore, expert assessments via standardised surveys are an important tool to obtain a better understanding of the causes and consequences of the spread and impact of alien species for the coming decades,” says Franz Essl.
The study shows that an increase of 20 to 30 per cent in the number of newly introduced alien species is considered sufficient to cause massive global biodiversity loss – a value that is likely to be reached soon, as the number of introduced species is constantly increasing.
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Read more at UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Image: Canada geese are now well established in Europe, posing a serious threat to biodiversity. They also damage farmland and have been involved in a number of bird strikes. (Credit: Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS (CC BY 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/HRBQXq)