Invasive species cause billions in damage, study finds
According to a recent study, introduced animal species have caused billions of dollars in damage over the past decades. The fight against these invasive species and associated crop losses cost the global community an estimated $17 billion between 1986 and 2020, according to a report by a team of scientists in the journal Scientific Reports.
As a result, the North American toad and the brown snake are the main cost drivers among exotic animals. “The damage is very likely to be much greater,” said lead author Philip Hoebroek of the Gelnhausen chapter of the Senckenberg Nature Research Society in Frankfurt. It therefore proposes a significant increase in “measures to reduce the global transfer of invasive amphibians and reptiles” with greater attention given to imminent new invasions.
Invasive species can seriously disrupt the biological balance of their new environment. Since there are often no predators there, they can spread almost unhindered. For example, the brown python was introduced to the island of Guam in the western Pacific, and multiplied rapidly and wiped out many species of birds and small animals. This, in turn, has an effect on the flora of the island as birds are important for seed dispersal.
According to the Naturschutzbund Deutschland Nabu newspaper, the American toad has been kidnapped or actively domesticated around the world in order to obtain frog legs, for example. “In all new areas of occurrence, it is a major competitor to native amphibians and other animal species.”
For their study, the researchers said they assessed figures from the “InvaCost” database, which collects the economic costs of invasive species. The data comes from peer-reviewed articles and documents on government, academic and NGO websites. (ap/ap)
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