JRC maps invasive alien species14/07/17Environment
The EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published the first Baseline Distribution of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) of concern, prioritising 37 species as needing to be addressed.
According to the EU Regulation on IAS, member states must prevent the introduction and spread of those species, enforce effective early detection and rapid eradication mechanisms for new appearances, and adopt management measures for those that are already widely spread.
For proper implementation, the competent authorities need detailed and up-to-date spatial information on IAS distribution. A commonly acknowledged baseline will help member states with implementing the regulation.
It will also help member states and the European Commission monitor invasion trends and the effectiveness of the EU policy on invasive species.
For each IAS, the report provides spatial information, at both country and a 10x10km grid level covering information on the year and country of first introduction into the EU, the main pathway of introduction, the taxonomic group, the habitat, the origin and the impact.
The highest number of IAS of EU concern have been found in Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
The red-eared terrapin turtle is the most common across the EU, found in 24 member states. It is followed by the signal crayfish and the Chinese mitten crab, which are present in 23 and 22 member states, respectively.
Certain species are still in an early invasion stage in the EU (the small Indian mongoose, the Kudzu vine and the fox squirrel) or are not yet present at all (the mile-a-minute weed).
The general public, and particularly citizen scientists, can assist in the reporting and monitoring of IAS.
The JRC has also developed a dedicated smartphone application which can act as a supplementary tool for monitoring IAS of Union concern, and increase co-operation with citizens.