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September 29, 2023

CASC Senior Administrator Doug Beard co-chaired the working group that led to the IPBES Assessment Report on invasive species which provides management tools and policymaking options to deal with the challenges of biological invasions.

Invasive alien species have directly or indirectly caused 60% of global species extinctions, and in doing so have changed ecosystems in ways that negatively affect human quality of life – including food and water security, human health, economies, and cultural identities.

Globally, more than 37,000 alien invasive species have been introduced by human activities and 200 more are recorded each year – an unprecedented rate of increase to a problem that already has an annual economic cost of $423 billion. Despite these staggering numbers, current governments do not have sufficient laws or regulations targeting the prevention and control of invasive alien species and many do not invest in managing these species at all.

The tenth session of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) met in Bonn, Germany in September 2023 to create the first comprehensive global report on managing invasive species. The report, titled “Thematic Assessment Report on Invasive Alien Species and their Control,” was authored by government representatives, experts, and authors from 49 countries, including National CASC Senior Administrator Doug Beard. Beard serves on the IPBES Bureau as Vice-Chair from Western Europe and Other Governments and co-chaired the working group one that reviewed and approved the assessment report and was joined by the National CASC Chief of Staff Isabella Caltabiano who served as the IPBES national focal point. The USGS has provided scientific support and been a part of the US Delegation since the inception of IPBES in 2012, contributing to the approval of this and prior reports. 

The report “outlines key responses and policy options for prevention, early detection, and effective control of invasive alien species and mitigation of their impacts in order to safeguard nature, nature’s contributions to people, and good quality of life.” Prevention strategies (e.g., border biosecurity) are the most cost-effective option but they are not always feasible. Tools in the report can support decision-making about other management options that include prevention, preparedness planning, eradication, containment, control, and more. For example, eradication might be the best option for small, slow-spreading populations, while containment might be the best option in closed water ecosystems.

The assessment also explores how governance, and sociocultural, demographic, technological, and economic factors pave the way for future invasions, especially when these factors interact with natural factors like floods, storms, and fires.

This report summarizes how the negative impacts of invasive alien species could be prevented and mitigated through effective management and governance. Governments, communities, and the private sector can use this report to find the best-available evidence, analyses, and options to manage invasive alien species and protect human well-being.

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