One Hundred of the Most Invasive Alien Species in Europe
One of the primary tools for raising awareness on biological invasions has been the publication of species accounts of the most prominent alien invaders. Until now such compilations have been available only for particular taxa, biomes and/or regions (Cronk and Fuller 2001; Weber 2003; Weidema 2000). In Europe, species accounts for selected invasive species have been published for a few countries or regions: the Czech Republic (Mlíkovský and Stýblo 2006), France (Pascal et al. 2006), Italy (Andreotti et al. 2001; Scalera 2001), Spain (Capdevila-Argüelles and Zilletti 2006); the Mediterranean Sea (CIESM 2007), and the North European and Baltic region (Gollasch et al. 1999; NOBANIS 2007). These accounts highlight invasive alien species which cause significant harm to biological diversity, socio-economic values and human health in these regions. The main purpose of these accounts is to provide guidance to environmental managers and raise public awareness of the biological, ecological and socio-economic impacts of the most harmful invaders, together with a description of the main management options to prevent their spread and reduce their impacts. The importance of the role of such tools has been clearly shown by the IUCN's 100 of the World's Worst Invasive Species list (Love et al. 2000) which has been very influential in raising awareness and supporting the development of policy conservation instruments relevant to biological invasions (Shine et al. 2000).
The European Environmental Agency has produced, within the SEBI 2010 project, a list of the worst invasive alien species threatening biological diversity in Europe (EEA 2007). This list contributes to the general indicator of changes in biological diversity caused by invasive alien species. The SEBI 2010 list is primarily a means to communicate the issue of invasive species to policymakers, stakeholders and the general public. The selection of the 168 species on the list was carried out in an open consultative process with an expert group, the scientific community and national environmental authorities. The main criterion used for selection was that the species have a serious impact on biological diversity at the regional level. Serious impact implies that the species has severe effects on ecosystem structure and function, it can replace native species throughout a significant proportion of its range, it can hybridise with native species or threaten biodiversity. In addition, the species can have negative consequences for human activities, health and/or economic interests.
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