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Press release 2012/09 - Issued by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
*** For immediate release - Wednesday 12 September 2012 ***
Major update to Europe's 'alien' species catalogue
The key catalogue of information on 'alien' (non-native) species in Europe has undergone a major update. The DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventory for Europe) database allows the public and policy-makers to get a comprehensive overview of which alien species are present in Europe, their impacts and consequences for the environment and society.
The DAISIE online database www.europe-aliens.org, which is relaunched today at the NEOBIOTA conference in Pontevedra, Spain, contains details of over 12,000 alien species. Information collated by DAISIE plays an increasingly important role in tackling the threat of alien species within Europe which has been highlighted as a priority action in policies at all levels from national to global including the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (Aichi Target 9).
The DAISIE project began in 2005 with funding from the European Union and is now supported by the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology in the UK and the Swiss Sciex programme in collaboration with a consortium of alien species experts from across Europe. In recent months details of over 1000 new species have been added to the database by experts from across Europe, and many other species entries have been updated with the latest information.
DAISIE contributor Dr Franz Essl, from Environment Agency Austria, said, “The DAISIE-portal has become the prime source on the state of the growing threat of biological invasions in Europe. The launch of the updated version of the DAISIE-portal providing lots of new information and new search tools makes it even more relevant – for scientists, conservation managers, and decision makers.“
DAISIE information helps in monitoring and assessing emerging threats from new arrivals, such as the northwards expansion across Europe of the Asian Hornet, and current changes in locations of the grey squirrel in Southern Europe.
DAISIE co-coordinator, Dr Helen Roy, from the NERC Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, “The freely available, high quality, information on the DAISIE website is key to underpinning decision-making on invasive alien species across Europe and beyond. The project is successful because a dedicated group of experts from across Europe take time to contribute, maintain and update the species information in DAISIE. This pan-European collaboration within the project is critical to addressing the threat of invasive alien species, considered one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, now and in the future.”
The DAISIE inventory currently contains details of over 12000 species (986 Aquatic marine, 669 Aquatic inland, 2740 Terrestrial invertebrates, 400 Terrestrial vertebrates, 6658 Terrestrial plants, 724 Terrestrial fungi).
The majority of the alien species currently listed in the DAISIE database are not harmful. Where impacts have been assessed, around 15% are known to cause economic damages and around 15% are known to cause harm to biological diversity (environment, habitats and native plants, animals and micro-organisms).
Notes to Editors
Further information for journalists can be obtained from the CEH press office.
The DAISIE website is found at www.europe-aliens.org
The DAISIE website is being relaunched at NEOBIOTA 2012 - Halting Biological Invasions in Europe: from Data to Decisions, the 7th European Conference on Biological Invasions, Pontevedra (Spain), 12-14 September 2012.
More than 11,000 alien species were documented by DAISIE (Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventory for Europe), a three year research project that ran from 2005 to 2008 involving more than 100 European scientists. DAISIE, originally funded by the European Union, provides new knowledge on biological invasions in Europe. Biological invasions by alien species often result in a significant loss in the economic value, biological diversity and function of invaded ecosystems.
What is an alien species? Alien species, also known as exotic, introduced or non-native species, are species, subspecies, or lower taxon occurring outside of the range they occupy naturally or could not occupy without direct or indirect introduction or care by humans. Although the majority of alien species cause no harm, some alien species spread very rapidly and can harm biological diversity, human health, and/or economic and aesthetic values. These harmful species are called invasive alien species. More information