UMass Amherst researcher identifies threats from invasive alien species

A research team including a UMass Amherst researcher recently assessed the potential global impact of invasive species.
A research team including a UMass Amherst researcher recently assessed the potential global impact of invasive species. | File image
A study led by Bethany Bradley, a biogeographer from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the first global analysis of environmental risk from invasive alien species.

The findings show that approximately one-sixth of the lands on Earth are “highly vulnerable” to invasion.

“First, we analyzed threats of invasive species introduction and establishment globally,” Bradley said. “Then, we took a look at national policies to see how prepared we are to combat these threats. Our results show some pretty clear vulnerabilities — high risk, but few policies to deal with invasion. We hope that by raising awareness of the highest risk areas, maybe we can help to jump start a more proactive policy response.”

The report, which was published by Nature Communications, said “most countries have limited capacity to act against invasions” and that a “clear need for proactive invasion strategies in areas with high poverty levels, high biodiversity and low historical levels of invasion.”

The researchers spent their time collecting data to see how the invasives are introduced and established to the environment while evaluating the capabilities of national response to “improve early warning and eradication schemes.”

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