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Ecological and socioeconomic impacts of invasive alien species in island ecosystems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 May 2007

JAMIE K. REASER
Affiliation:
Ecos Systems Institute, c/o Ravens Ridge Farm, 1207 Bull Yearling Road, Stanardsville, Virginia 22973, USA
LAURA A. MEYERSON
Affiliation:
The University of Rhode Island, Department of Natural Resources Science, 1 Greenhouse Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
QUENTIN CRONK
Affiliation:
University of British Columbia Botanical Garden and Centre for Plant Research, 206 Campbell Building, 6804 SW Marine Drive, British Columbia, Canada
MAJ DE POORTER
Affiliation:
Centre for Invasive Species Research (CISR), University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
L.G. ELDREGE
Affiliation:
Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice Street, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
EDMUND GREEN
Affiliation:
Marine and Coastal Programme, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, 219 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge, UK
MOSES KAIRO
Affiliation:
Center for Biological Control, Florida A&M University, 310-South Perry-Page, Tallahassee, FL 32307, USA
PEPETUA LATASI
Affiliation:
Ministry of Environment, Energy and Tourism, Tuvalu
RICHARD N. MACK
Affiliation:
School of Biological Sciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4236, USA
JOHN MAUREMOOTOO
Affiliation:
CAB International – Africa Regional Centre, PO Box 633-00621, Nairobi, Kenya
DENNIS O'DOWD
Affiliation:
Australian Centre for Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, PO Box 18, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia
WAREA ORAPA
Affiliation:
Secretariat of the Pacific Community, Private Mail Bag, Suva, Fiji Islands
SOETIKNO SASTROUTOMO
Affiliation:
CAB International, Southeast Asia Regional Centre, Glasshouse No. 2, Opposite Block G Mardi Complex, PO Box 210UPM Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia 43400
ALAN SAUNDERS
Affiliation:
Cooperative Initiative on Invasive Alien Species on Islands, School of Environmental and Marine Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
CLARE SHINE
Affiliation:
World Conservation Union (IUCN), Environmental Law and Policy, 37 Rue Erlanger, 75016, Paris, France
SIGURDUR THRAINSSON
Affiliation:
Ministry for the Environment, Vonarstraeti 4, IS-150 Reykjavik, Iceland
LELIUA VAIUTU
Affiliation:
Agriculture Plant Protection Office, Department of Agriculture, Tuvalu

Abstract

Minimizing the impact of invasive alien species (IAS) on islands and elsewhere requires researchers to provide cogent information on the environmental and socioeconomic consequences of IAS to the public and policy makers. Unfortunately, this information has not been readily available owing to a paucity of scientific research and the failure of the scientific community to make their findings readily available to decision makers. This review explores the vulnerability of islands to biological invasion, reports on environmental and socioeconomic impacts of IAS on islands and provides guidance and information on technical resources that can help minimize the effects of IAS in island ecosystems. This assessment is intended to provide a holistic perspective on island-IAS dynamics, enable biologists and social scientists to identify information gaps that warrant further research and serve as a primer for policy makers seeking to minimize the impact of IAS on island systems. Case studies have been selected to reflect the most scientifically-reliable information on the impacts of IAS on islands. Sufficient evidence has emerged to conclude that IAS are the most significant drivers of population declines and species extinctions in island ecosystems worldwide. Clearly, IAS can also have significant socioeconomic impacts directly (for example human health) and indirectly through their effects on ecosystem goods and services. These impacts are manifest at all ecological levels and affect the poorest, as well as richest, island nations. The measures needed to prevent and minimize the impacts of IAS on island ecosystems are generally known. However, many island nations and territories lack the scientific and technical information, infrastructure and human and financial resources necessary to adequately address the problems caused by IAS. Because every nation is an exporter and importer of goods and services, every nation is also a facilitator and victim of the invasion of alien species. Wealthy nations therefore need to help raise the capacity of island nations and territories to minimize the spread and impact of IAS.

Type
Papers
Copyright
2007 Foundation for Environmental Conservation

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