Island LAB Azorean Biodiversity Group

Databases - Management

Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource

One of the most important types of information in the practical approach to prevention and management of biological invasions is the identity of the pathways of introduction and details of the vectors. These are necessary for the prevention of introduction of potentially invasive species and also for the containment of further spread of established invasions. The Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource aims to provide information on the identity and the management of these pathways.

Invasion pathways are the actual or theoretical routes along which introduced species move during their early stages of invasion (which includes introduction, establishment or naturalization, spread and then damage to biodiversity or human development). Species that become invasive (whether they are animals, plants or micro-organisms) usually come from another ecosystem or country (where they are native or indigenous) before entering a new ecosystem (or country) where they are not native. It is that passage from their former "home" to the new locality where they have the advantage of being "foreign" that invasion biologists term the pathway of invasion. This can be made more precise by adding the means by which such species move along that pathway - and this is called the invasion "vector".

Commonly quoted problematic pathways include, among others live plant trade, food and vegetable trade, wood packaging material and tourism, all of which have been enhanced by globalization, while some major vectors of these pathways would be aircraft, ships and their steel containers and the goods moved from the locality of the manufacturer to the consumer. A ship could be carrying alien species in ballast water or on its hull, or alternatively in the goods that it is carrying.

The nature of international trade is evolving and increasing in scale. For example, in recent years, the demand for, and delivery of, live plants, mainly for ornamental purpose, has increased enormously (the value of all trade in imported live plants to the EU Member States was €1,434 Billion in 2007), while this particularly high risk pathway is responsible for the vast majority of alien terrestrial invertebrate and plant pathogens' introductions in the EU and elsewhere.

One of the most important types of information in the practical approach to prevention and management of biological invasions is the identity of the pathways of introduction and, if possible, details of the vectors. These are necessary for the prevention of introduction of potentially invasive species and also for the containment of further spread of established invasions.

The study of pathways allows us to understand the principal routes through which alien species enter a country or ecosystem and to respond accordingly. More specifically, this information allows policy-makers and managers to:

  • Prepare for the arrival of known (and unwanted) potentially invasive species (and other species of uncertain status that may prove to be likely to become invasive as determined by a risk assessment)
  • Develop monitoring systems for yet unknown (and unwanted) potentially invasive species applicable in specific areas or industries
  • Establish barriers (physical, legislative, community-managed) to the introduction of unwanted species
  • Prepare for the spread of recognized invasive species that have already entered a country (or ecosystem)
  • Develop communication campaigns and codes of conduct addressing key stakeholders to support preventative measures

It is envisaged that the Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource will assist countries to implement international sanitary and phytosanitary standards, guidelines and recommendations, for example by enabling pathway risk assessments in order to protect their human, animal and plant health while maintaining and improving access to markets.

Note: The Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource has been developed with the co-funding from the European Union through the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity within the framework of the Global Invasive Alien Species Information Partnership (GIASIPartnership)

The GIASIPartnership has come together in order to assist Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, and others, implement Article 8(h) and Target 9 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets - "By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and prioritized, priority species are controlled or eradicated, and measures are in place to manage pathways to prevent their introduction and establishment"

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