Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Passport, Please: A Global Strategy To Curb Invasive Species

Date:
February 22, 2001
Source:
Stanford University
Summary:
Plants have no respect for boundaries. Nor, for that matter, do zebra mussels, crazy ants or Nile perch. When alien species invade, they wreak havoc on economies and ecosystems across the globe. Curbing the problem is an international task, says Harold A. Mooney, a Stanford biologist who helped design a global plan to deal with the invaders.

Plants have no respect for boundaries. Nor, for that matter, do zebra mussels, crazy ants or Nile perch. When alien species invade, they wreak havoc on economies and ecosystems across the globe. Curbing the problem is an international task, says Harold A. Mooney, a Stanford biologist who helped design a global plan to deal with the invaders.

Related Articles


``If we have a fire, then we send for the fire truck. People respond right away. But we have no strategy for invasive species,`` says Mooney, the Paul S. Achilles Professor of Environmental Biology. He will outline a 10-point strategy to curb invasive species at the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference on Friday, Feb. 16, at 9 a.m. PT.

Mooney is speaking on behalf of the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), an international collaboration of scientists, lawyers and policy makers that has been working for three years to come up with an effective and globally acceptable plan.

Behind habitat destruction, alien invasion is the second greatest cause of species extinction worldwide. On islands, alien invasion is the number one cause of extinction, says Laurie Neville, project officer for GISP.

When the small brown tree snake arrived on the coast of Guam, it entered an island with 13 species of forest birds, 12 types of lizards and three bat species. Today, only one bat species remains, three forest birds and six native lizard species.

Biodiversity loss, though devastating, is not the only issue. More than one million nocturnal brown snakes now inhabit even the smallest spaces on Guam. They cause black-outs by crawling on power lines, hunt in family chicken coops and slide into homes through bathroom vents.

Guam may sound extreme, but many examples rival the plague-like status of the brown tree snake. The invasive, hardy water hyacinth strangled the ecosystem and economics of Lake Victoria in Africa until a multimillion dollar international control program was put into effect. Crazy ants form supercolonies in the rainforests of Christmas Island, changing the habitat and preying on the animals of the forest floor. The alien star thistle outcompetes native desert grasses of California. ``The range-lands of the west are being taken over by noxious weeds causing enormous financial loss,`` says Mooney.

The human propensity to travel, carrying plants, animals and bacteria, is essentially taking our ecosystems back some 200 million years, when the Earth consisted of a supercontinent called Pangea. During that era, plant seeds and animals could move freely across the land, since they were not yet separated by thousands of miles of ocean. Mooney dramatizes the long-term consequences of alien invasion by holding up a picture of the continents as Pangea once again.

Currently there is no global network set up to deal with or prevent future ecosystem invasions. ``We`re looking at designing something like the CDC [Centers for Disease Control],`` says Mooney. ``We need something comparable for invasive species.`` He will introduce the 10 elements of the GISP global strategy - a ``framework for mounting a global-scale response`` - at the AAAS symposium.

Mooney will describe the need for a ``rapid response mechanism`` - a fire truck for invasive species. If nations develop the resources to react immediately to an invasion, they will save money and time by controlling the invasive species before it establishes itself.

Mooney also will address the crucial need for developing international financial checks and balances. ``If you import something, and it gets away, you should help pay,`` Mooney says. He suggests adopting a type of bond, or insurance system, where those who do the importing contribute to a fund set aside to fight harmful invasive species. The GISP strategy also recommends considering the actual cost of invasives and incorporating that cost into a financial code of conduct for the importers.

One of the most controversial areas, Mooney says, is the legal arena. ``There are a lot of holes and inconsistencies`` in current national and international law touching invasive species, he notes. The goal is to create consistent laws, whether in the export country, the import country, or both, that help minimize the introduction of alien species.

To synthesize three years of research and finalize the 10-point global strategy, Mooney met with other biologists, along with economists, lawyers and policy makers from around the world in Cape Town, Republic of South Africa, this past September. ``This is a consensus,`` says Mooney.

Whereas in the past, the invasive species issue has partitioned people in agriculture, shipping, and government, ``that meeting in South Africa was a coming together,`` notes Mooney. ``It was a breath of fresh air.``

Related Web Sites:

http://jasper.stanford.edu/gisp/

http://www.issg.org/

http://www.iucn.org/


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Stanford University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Stanford University. "Passport, Please: A Global Strategy To Curb Invasive Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 February 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221073055.htm>.
Stanford University. (2001, February 22). Passport, Please: A Global Strategy To Curb Invasive Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221073055.htm
Stanford University. "Passport, Please: A Global Strategy To Curb Invasive Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/02/010221073055.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins