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Invasive species are a huge problem. Researchers: generate huge costs

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Invasive species that are spreading across Europe pose a huge threat to local flora and fauna. A group of researchers has estimated the costs of such natural disturbances to the European Union. “It is imperative that we take immediate action to improve cost reporting, identifying the most worrying economic impacts of this situation,” said Morgane Henry of McGill University, lead author of the study.

Europe is exposed to thousands of invasive species introduced by humans from different regions. Why? Because its high economic activity increases the risk of biological invasions spreading through trade and transport of goods between EU Member States without sufficient border controls. The study, published in Environmental Sciences Europe, sheds light on the drastic economic costs that result from the spread of alien species across the European Union.

An international team of scientists says most invasive species are not properly assessed for their real and potential economic impacts. To fill this gap, the authors of the new paper estimated the costs of biological invasions in the European Union, while highlighting current knowledge gaps and estimating possible future costs. They describe the results as “alarming.”

Invasive species generate huge costs

First, of the approximately 13,000 invasive species – known to have formed populations in the European Union – only 259 (around 1 percent) have documented costs. The new models, meanwhile, predict that undocumented costs can be as much as 501 percent lower. higher than currently registered, reaching a total of EUR 26.64 billion, with a clear contribution from countries such as Lithuania, Malta and the Czech Republic. Forecasts indicated a significant increase in costs – to over EUR 142.73 billion in 2040, in the absence of countermeasures. Coordinated international action to prevent and mitigate the biological effects of invasions in the European Union and worldwide is therefore of key importance, the researchers argue. According to them, different countries must work together to prevent invasive species from appearing in new places and to manage existing ones. ‘Our study reveals a massive underestimation of the economic costs of biological invasions in the European Union. These costs are not only a huge burden on the Union’s economy, but also a threat to the ecological balance and well-being of society. It is essential that we take immediate action to improve cost reporting, identify the most worrying economic impacts of this situation. It is also important that we work together on a global scale to adequately address the threat posed by invasive species, said study co-author Morgane Henry of McGill University.

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State Forests about an intruder in Polish forests – a raccoonKrzysztof Tomczak, the forest inspector of the Cybinka Forest District in Zielona Góra, recorded a video of a raccoon eating the fruits of the American cherry. Interestingly, both the animal and the shrub are invasive alien species.lasy.gov.pl

Much can be done

Fortunately, according to experts, much can be done. – The European Union has unique opportunities to deal with the enormous economic losses it is experiencing. That’s because its funding model enables a consistent approach to projects that cross national borders. These figures should be a wake-up call that the current strategy is not working and a new continent-wide vision should be considered immediately, added one of the authors, Professor Corey Bradshaw.

Marbled crayfish in the Polesie National Park

Marbled crayfish in the Polesie National ParkThe Poleski National Park warns against the invasion of the marbled crayfish. It is a dangerous invasive that has no competitors. Its expansion may cause mass extinction of amphibians, degradation of aquatic ecosystems and disappearance of water reservoirs. Bartłomiej Gorzkowski/Epicrates Foundation

Main photo source: Adobe Stock

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