Invasive species cause $1.4 trillion of losses a year: scientists 2009-11-06 16:01:46   Print

    FUZHOU, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- Scientists should intensify international collaboration to fight invasive species that are causing 1.4 trillion U.S. dollars of losses a year globally, said experts and officials who concluded an international congress on biological invasions here Friday.

    The first-ever International Congress on Biological Invasions, held in Fuzhou, east China's Fujian Province, from Nov. 2 to 6, called on policymakers worldwide to pay closer attention to the threat.

    A declaration adopted Friday also said they should be more aware of the links between biological invasions, biodiversity loss and the degradation of ecosystem services.

    The Fuzhou Declaration on Biological Invasions also urged policymakers and scientists to focus on the interactions between climate change and biological invasions, and the threats of invasive species to biodiversity, food security, trade, human health and economic development.

    At the congress, more than 500 experts from 44 countries heard the latest figures from China, which suggested more than 500 species were recognized as being invasive.

    "About 300 of them have proven harmful," said Wan Fanghao, vice director with the Research Center for Invasive Alien Species Prevention and Control of China's Ministry of Agriculture

    More than half of the 100 dangerous alien species listed by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) had been found in China, he said.

    An alien species, when invading a new environment without being monitored, is apt to proliferate and form a "mono-dominant" community, competing for living spaces previously occupied by local species.

    "They are ruining bio-diversity, threatening the ecological system and driving local species to extinction," said Wan.

    Participants to the congress agreed an international expert committee would be established to provide scientific, technical and policy guidance to the International Congress of Biological Invasions (ICBI).

    The congress will meet once every four years.

Editor: Anne Tang
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