In March 2016, I attended a workshop at the Institute of Botany in Průhonice in the Czech Republic, to discuss the implementation of a new methodology to quantify and categorise the impacts of alien species, known as the Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT). The workshop was planned and facilitated by Tim Blackburn, Professor of Invasion Biology at UCL’s Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER). Attendees included invasion biologists and environmental scientists from 8 countries, along with the Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), Dr Piero Genovesi.
Over two days, we discussed the processes required to further develop and implement EICAT, and reviewed the results of provisional EICAT assessments undertaken for a range of taxa, including all known alien bird and amphibian species. A motion for the formal adoption of EICAT by the IUCN will be debated at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016, and the group also assessed the procedures and timetable for taking the motion forward. Assuming that the motion is passed, it is hoped that EICAT assessments will be completed and peer reviewed for all alien species worldwide by around 2020, and will be published online via the IUCN Global Invasive Species Database (GISD). In so doing, EICAT and the IUCN will provide the most comprehensive source of information on the environmental impacts of alien species globally.
Further details on EICAT can be found here.
The workshop was funded by the EU through COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), under Action TD1209: ALIEN Challenge. COST provides a framework for the support of trans-national research amongst research scientists. ALIEN Challenge aims to facilitate knowledge gathering and information sharing to improve decision-making regarding the identification and management of impacts associated with alien species. We would like to thank Dr Helen Roy, Chair of COST Action TD1209: ALIEN Challenge, for funding this workshop, which has been extremely useful in the development of EICAT.