- No island could claim that its current invasive alien species management is sufficient to maintain present biodiversity levels. In the western Indian Ocean, enhanced regional collaboration and information exchange on how to tackle this acute problem emerged as the two priorities at the recent meeting in the Seychelles.
The meeting was co-organised by the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the environmental organisation IUCN and the governments of Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros and the French island of La Réunion.
The 2003 release of the IUCN 'Red List of Threatened Species' had revealed that invasive species were causing havoc on many islands around the world, wiping out native plants and animals and disturbing the delicate ecological balance.
Some ecologists predict that biological pollution by alien invaders may surpass loss of habitat to become the leading factor in ecological degradation.
On the Seychelles, alien species were sometimes deliberately introduced with good intentions, as in the case of the trees Cinnamonum verum, introduced for commercial and economic reasons, and Albizzia lebbeck, introduced to combat erosion.
The workshop on terrestrial ecosystem rehabilitation for Western Indian Ocean island states, hosted by the Seychelles Ministry of Environment and organised by the SSC Indian Ocean Plant Specialist Group (IOPSG), brought together over twenty IAS experts from Mauritius, La Réunion, the Comoros Islands and the Seychelles and was facilitated by John Mauremootoo of the IOPSG and Souad Boudjelas of the SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Plant invaders and invasive alien species management for biodiversity conservation were the main focus of the meeting, IUCN today reports.
Outputs included a declaration on invasive alien species for submission to this year's Summit on Small Island Developing States to be held in Mauritius, a concept note for a regional invasive alien species management project for the small islands of the south western Indian Ocean, and workshop proceedings, available electronically.
- International initiatives such as the Global Invasive Species Programme and the Cooperative Islands Initiative can complement national and regional efforts in invasive alien species management, IUCN said after the meeting.
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