What informs decisions to manage urban biological invasions?
A framework of key considerations for establishing invasive alien species (IAS) management thresholds to inform decision-making in urban areas and how they relate to the stages of invasion.

What informs decisions to manage urban biological invasions?

Urban areas are foci for the introduction of alien species and very often act as launching sites for invasions into natural ecosystems that adjoin urban ecosystems. Until very recently, the study of biological invasions has focused on developing concepts and frameworks mainly for (semi)natural ecosystems.

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Retooling invasion science to deal with rapid global change
Figure 2. The “bridgehead effect” of the global spread of the harlequin ladybird beetle Harmonia axyridis, based on genetic analyses by Lombaert and colleagues (2010; PLoS ONE 5: e9743). The beetle was introduced intentionally as an insect biocontrol agent in some regions (shown in green). From these bridgehead regions, the beetle was transported inadvertently to other continents. Most of the global spread of this species has originated from non-native populations in Eastern North America.

Retooling invasion science to deal with rapid global change

Invasion science must adapt to meet growing societal demands and biosecurity challenges in the face of rapid global environmental change. This task was addressed at a workshop during the NEOBIOTA conference in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland, in September 2018 that was attended by several researchers affiliated with the Centre for Invasion Biology (C∙I∙B).

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Addressing uncertainty in impact assessments for alien species
Participants at the workshop held in Melbourne, Australia in 2018. (Picture supplied by Melodie McGeoch)

Addressing uncertainty in impact assessments for alien species

Impact classification schemes for alien taxa are becoming more prominent as the threats posed by biological invasions increase. A recent study found that despite a high variety of uncertainties occurring in impact assessments, some of which cannot be eliminated easily, communicating their existence, cause and variety can lead to more useful and reliable outcomes of impact assessments.

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The invasion continues: Alien species expected to increase by 36% until 2050

Compared to the year 2005, the number of alien species is expected to increase by 36% by the middle of this century. The majority of these newcomers are insects. These are the results of a study by an international team of researchers led by Dr Hanno Seebens of the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center in Germany.

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Scientists warn of increasing threats posed by invasive alien species
The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer is an ambrosia beetle that is native to Asia and was first recorded in South Africa in 2017. This beetle and an associated fungus pose substantial threats to both native and alien trees in the country. At least 80 tree species, including 35 native, are known to be attacked. This invasion has already caused huge damage by killing large trees in urban areas. The full extent of impact of this invader on the South African urban environment will only be ascertained over time. Municipalities already face the costly removal of many heavily infested street trees. Photos: Samantha Bush, Trudy Paap

Scientists warn of increasing threats posed by invasive alien species

Invasive alien species are one of the top five threats to biodiversity and ecosystems globally, yet only a handful of countries regard biosecurity measures as a priority.

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