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Impronte specie aliene inglese

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  • ALIENS IN THEIR OWN LANDNon - native species:

    responsibilities and solutions

    Massimo Vitturi and Barbara Bacci


    Barbara BacciTranslator and wildlife enthusiast. Her work as volunteer and her studies in wildlife management brought her to collaborate withLAV on this report.

    Massimo VitturiResponsible for the Hunting and Wildlife sector within LAV, he's been a member of the National Board of Directors since 2009.Vitturi often holds conferences on humane methods of wildlife control. He works with Italian and foreign veterinarians andbiologists to perfect new methods for the management of wildlife respecting the well-being of the animals and the interests ofthe stakeholders involved.

    Editor Peter Oswald

    LAV thanks the Cariplo Foundation for the propagation of this Dossier

  • Contents

    1 - The Invaders 4

    2 - The Invasion Process 5

    3 - Resident Aliens 7

    4 - Eradication and Control 9

    5 - Towards a More Humane Management of Allochthonous Species 12

    6 - Italy 16

    7 - Social and Financial Implications 23




    We are seeing one of the greatestconvolutions of the worlds floraand fauna.

    Charles Elton, 1958

    When we talk about invasive alien species (IAS) we usually referto animals or plants introduced intentionally or unintentionallyinto a natural environment. The Convention on Biological Diver-sity (CBD), in its Conference of the Parties (COP) VI/23, definesalien species as a species, subspecies, or lower taxon, both ani-mal and plant, introduced outside its natural past or present di-stribution. According to Richardson et al. (2010), alien species arethose whose presence in a region is attributable to human ac-tions that enabled them to overcome fundamental biogeogra-phical barriers. Other researchers have a different view. NedHettinger (2001), philosophy professor at the College of Charle-ston in South Carolina, proposes a more flexible and comprehen-sive meaning for the term, defining nonnative as any speciessignificantly foreign to an ecological assemblage, whether or notthe species causes damage, is human introduced, or arrives fromsome other geographical location.It is generally understood that when IAS start spreading theymight become a threat to local species and damage whole eco-systems, destroying their biodiversity and causing the extinctionof local species. Alien species can be harmful to autochthonousspecies in different ways: by competing over resources, such aslight, food, water, and space, by predating on them, displacingthem, parasitising them or by introducing new pathogens andparasites to which indigenous species are not adapted; and final-ly, by hybridising with local species, causing global homogenisa-tion (McKinney and Lockwood, 1999). Alien species haveimportant socioeconomic consequences for society. To estimatein probabilistic terms the percentage of an alien species beco-ming an invasive the tens rule is applied. According to this rule10% of imported species become casual, 10% of these becomenaturalised and 10% of naturalised species have a negative im-pact (Williamson & Fitter, 1996). Thus, in reality only a very smallnumber of introduced species eventually becomes establishedand has a negative impact on its new environment.All invasive alien species share characteristics which facilitatetheir colonisation of new habitats, such as rapid reproductionand high growth rate, high dispersal ability, phenotypic plastici-tythat is, the ability to adapt physiologically to new condi-tionsas well as the ability to survive on a varied diet and indifferent of environmental conditions. These characteristics,matched with the vulnerability of some ecosystems, speed up theprocess of invasion.

    At present, there is a global consensus that IAS represent a dan-ger. A new Strategic Plan was adopted by the COP 10 of theConvention for Biological Diversity held in Nagoya, Japan, in Oc-tober 2010. Other international bodies, such as The InternationalPlant Protection Convention (IPPC), the World Organization forAnimal Health (OIE), and the International Maritime Organiza-tion (IMO), deal with the question of exotic species.In Europe, however, there is no comprehensive European Unionlegislative instrument addressing the question of IAS, and Mem-ber States vary in the way they address the issue. Different legi-slative instruments addressing the question of IAS exist: the EUlegislation (e.g., Council Regulation 338/97 (Wildlife Trade Regu-lation), Directive 2000/29/EC (Plant Health Directive), VeterinaryLegislation, Council Regulation 708/2007 (concerning use ofalien and locally absent species in aquaculture), Nature Directi-ves (Directives 92/43EEC and 79/409/EEC, Habitats and Bird Di-rectives), Water Framework Directive (2000/60/EC) and theMarine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC).The Council of the European Union, in its meeting on Dec 19,2011, covered the issue of IAS in its conclusions on the imple-mentation of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. In the documentthe European Parliament called for the preparation of a dedica-ted legislative instrument by 2012, and for the inclusion of que-stions relating to the impact of IAS on biodiversity within the EUPlant and Animal Health Regimes. Furthermore, Member Statesshould ratify the Ballast Water Convention to minimise the spre-ad of IAS from maritime and inland water transport. The dedica-ted legislative instrument should cover all aspects relative to IAS,including their identification and prioritisation, control and era-dication, management and implementation of their pathwaysfollowing a risk-based approach and in a proportionate andcost-effective manner.Risk assessments (RA) are employed by the different MemberStates to establish whether an organism is an IAS, and whatcourse of action should be taken: prevention, control, or eradica-tion. There is no EU risk assessment procedure, and each MemberState defines its own based on two criteria: the obligation toconduct risk assessments for IAS in defined circumstances, andthe existence of a standardised methodology for conductingsuch assessments.The existing research projects on alien species are DeliveringAlien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE), AssessingLarge-scale Risks for biodiversity with tested Methods (ALARM),Increasing Sustainability of European Forests Modeling for secu-rity against invasive pests and pathogens under climate change(ISEFOR) and Vectors of Change in Oceans and Seas Marine Life,Impact on Economic Sectors (VECTORS).Prevention, early detection, and a rapid response are the bestway to minimise the impact of alien species. Prevention can be


  • implemented through stricter import regulations, by adoptingmore biosecurity measures, such as quarantines, for specieswhich have been introduced.


    Alien species (synonyms allochthonous, foreign, exotic, introdu-ced, nonindigenous, nonnative): Refers to a species, subspecies,or lower taxon, introduced outside its normal past or present di-stribution and outside of their natural dispersal potential; inclu-des any part, gametes, seeds, eggs, or propagules of such speciesthat might survive and subsequently reproduce.

    Autochthonous species (synonyms indigenous, native): Refersto a species, subspecies, or lower taxon living within its naturalrange (past or present), including the area that it can reach andoccupy using its own legs, wings, wind/waterborne or other di-spersal systems, and therefore without human intervention, evenif it seldom found there.

    Biological invasions (synonyms bioinvasions, biotic invasions):Refers to events and processes by which a species, introduced byhuman agency through various introduction pathways into anew range, adapts and starts spreading into a region. It includesall aspects of adaptation: how species become established, re-produce, disperse, spread, proliferate, interact with resident bio-ta, and have an impact over their new ecosystem.

    Casual alien species (synonyms acclimatised, not established,adventive): These are alien species that occasionally reproduce ina new environment, but which eventually die out because theydo not form self-replacing populations, and rely on repeated in-troductions. (CBD, 2000).

    Eradication: This is the extirpation of all the individuals in a po-pulation or propagules of an invasive species.

    Introduction: Refers to movement of a species, subspecies, orlower taxon (including any part, gamete, or propagule thatmight survive and subsequently reproduce) outside its past orpresent natural range. This movement may be intentional or ac-cidental, by human agency, within a country or between coun-tries.

    Invasive Alien Species (IAS): Refers to an allochthonous specieswhich has spread in its new environment and represents a threatto its biodiversity and/or for human activities, agriculture, has anegative impact on human health and has important socioeco-nomic consequences. Invasives often reproduce in large numbersand can spread over large areas quickly, thus expanding rapidlytheir new range.

    Naturalised species (synonym established refers to plants, whileanimals are said to be naturalised): These are allochthonous spe-cies that form free-living, self-sustaining, and durable popula-tions in the wild unsupported and independent of humans(IUCN, 2000, 2002; Richardson et al., 2000: Occhipinti-Ambrogiand Galil, 2004; Pyek et al., 2004).

    Para-autochthonous species: In Italy, this term refers to a spe-cies of plant or animal, nonnative to a certain environment,which was introduced and naturalised before 1500 (Genovesi,2007). According to the Decree of the President of the ItalianRepublic, no. 120/03

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