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Invasive species sponsored by humans are involved in 60% of plant and animal extinctions; The damage is estimated at about 423 billion dollars per year

This is according to a report by the UN's IPBES committee, the equivalent of the IPCC that reports on the climate crisis

Rhopilema Akhziv is a migratory threadworm. Dr. Shavi Rothman, Tel Aviv University
Rhopilema Akhziv is a migratory threadworm. Dr. Shavi Rothman, Tel Aviv University

Invasive alien species are a threat to nature, the economy, food security and human health, and are involved in 60% of the global extinctions of plants and animals. The estimated annual economic cost of biological invasions is over $423 billion. This is according to a committee report IPBES extension of the UN, the equivalent of the IPCC that reports on the climate crisis.

Prof. Bela Galil, a senior marine biologist who works as a researcher and curator at the Steinhardt Natural History Museum, Tel Aviv University, and one of the authors of the IPBES report, also participated in the production of the report. In the IPBES report Prof. Galil was one of the three main authors of the chapter on "Effects of biological invasions on nature, nature's contribution to humanity and a good quality of life".

 The main findings

Invasive alien species

  • Higher than 37,000 alien species around the world
  • 200 More foreign species are recorded every year
  • Higher than 3,500 Invasive alien species are documented worldwide: 1,061 plants (6% of all alien plant species), 1,852 invertebrates (22% ), 461 vertebrates (14%) and 141 bacteria (11%)
  • 37%  All foreign species have been reported since 1970
  • 36%  - The increase is expected in the number of foreign species until 2050 in the "business as usual" scenario (assuming that the trends driving biodiversity change continue)


  • 75%  Of the reported impacts, 14% were caused on land, 10% in inland bodies of water, and XNUMX% in the sea. 
  • Invasive alien species have played a significant role in 60%  of global extinctions
  • 1,215 Local species extinctions were caused by the introduction of 218 invasive alien species (38.3% invertebrates, 42.9% vertebrates, 18.4% plants, 0.4% bacteria)
  • 90%  Of the global extinctions that have occurred in the islands, they were mainly caused by invasive alien species
  • Higher than 423 BILLION DOLLARS – The estimated economic cost of biological invasions in 2019
  • 92% of the economic costs of biological invasions result from damage to nature's contributions to humans and good quality of life (8% cost of managing biological invasions)
  • 400%  - The increase in the economic cost of biological invasions every decade since 1970

policy and management

  • 80%   Of the countries (156 out of 196) set goals in the national strategies for biological diversity and the action plans for managing biological invasions
  • an increase of 200%  In the last decade, the number of countries that have national lists of invasive alien species, including databases (196 countries in 2022)
  • 80%  None of the countries have yet promoted national legislation or regulations regarding invasive alien species
  • The success rate of biological control of invasive alien plants and vertebrates exceeds 60%

IPBES report Provides evidence, tools and possibilities for achieving an ambitious global goal on invasive alien species. These species pose a significant threat to biodiversity and may cause irreversible damage to nature, including the extinction of species on a local and global scale, and threaten human well-being.

According to the new report of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), more than 37,000 alien species have been directly or indirectly introduced by human activities to regions around the world. Over 3,500 are invasive alien species that threaten nature, nature's contributions to humanity and a good quality of life.

presentation event IPBES report, September 2023

The report, which was approved on Saturday in Bonn, Germany, by representatives of the 143 member countries of IPBES, reveals that alongside the dramatic changes in biodiversity and ecosystems, the global economic cost of invasive alien species is estimated at approximately $423 billion per year in 2019, with the costs increasing at least fourfold every decade since 1970.

The previous IPBES report submitted in 2019 reported that invasive alien species are one of the five most important direct drivers of biodiversity loss - Along with changes in the use of the terrestrial and marine environment, direct exploitation of species, climate change and pollution. Based on this finding, the member governments tasked IPBES with providing scientific evidence for the distribution and impact of alien species and the possible options for dealing with the challenges of biological invasions. The report, prepared by 86 expert scientists from 49 countries, and based on more than 13,000 documents, is the most comprehensive assessment ever made of invasive alien species worldwide.

While many alien species have been transferred in the past and are currently being transferred for agriculture, ornamental purposes, or as pets, the IPBES report indicates that the negative effects of those that become invasive are many. Invasive alien species are an important factor in 60% of the global extinctions of animals and plants, as well as close to 80% of their effects on nature's contributions to humans, and 85% of the documented effects on the quality of life - for example diseases such as malaria, Zika and West Nile fever spread by Invasive foreign mosquitoes. More than a third of all foreign species known today have been documented in the last 50 years, both due to the increase in the scope of world trade and agricultural development and due to the focus of research on the subject with the increase in awareness of the risks. Along with the increase in the global population, and with it economic growth and the large-scale changes in the use of land and sea, an increase in invasive alien species is expected along with the expansion of the distribution of some of the alien species found today. The report emphasizes that interactions between invasive alien species and other drivers of change in biodiversity may worsen the situation - thus destroying natural habitats on the animal societies where opportunistic species, some of which are alien species, allow colonization.

IPBES experts point to deficiencies in preparations to deal with these challenges. While 80% of countries have declared goals for the management of invasive alien species in their national biodiversity plans, only 20% have national laws or regulations addressing the issue, and 45% of countries do not budget for the management of invasive alien species at all.

Read the full report

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