By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com staff writer
An international team of scientists is warning about the growing threats of invasive species. According to the researchers, urgent action is required to prevent, detect, and control alien species at both local and global levels.
Invasive animals, plants, and microbes often thrive when they are introduced to new habitats where they do not occur naturally. Their presence can be extremely detrimental to the environment, economy, and human health.Professor Petr Pyšek of the Czech Academy of Sciences is the study’s co-lead author.
“As our knowledge about invasive alien species increases, the problems associated with biological invasions are becoming clearer,” said Professor Pyšek. “The threats posed by invasive alien species to our environment, our economies and our health are very serious, and getting worse. Policy makers and the public need to prioritize actions to stem invasions and their impacts.”
The researchers found that the prevalence of invasive species is rapidly increasing, with more than 18,000 alien populations currently listed worldwide.
Laura Meyerson is an associate professor of Natural Resources Science at the University of Rhode Island. She explained that the escalation of biological invasions can be attributed to a rise in the number and variety of pathways through which species spread, including the online trade of unusual pets and the transport of species across oceans on rafts of plastic.