A Unified Classification of Alien Species Based on the Magnitude of their Environmental Impacts

PLOS Biology 12(5)
PLOS Biology 12(5)

Tim M. Blackburn, Franz Essl, Thomas Evans, Philip E. Hulme, Jonathan M. Jeschke, Ingolf Kühn, Sabrina Kumschick, Zuzana Marková, Agata Mrugała, Wolfgang Nentwig, Jan Pergl, Petr Pyšek, Wolfgang Rabitsch, Anthony Ricciardi, David M. Richardson, Agnieszka Sendek, Montserrat Vilà, John R. U. Wilson, Marten Winter, Piero Genovesi, Sven Bacher— 2014

Species moved by human activities beyond the limits of their native geographic ranges into areas in which they do not naturally occur (termed aliens) can cause a broad range of significant changes to recipient ecosystems; however, their impacts vary greatly across species and the ecosystems into which they are introduced. There is therefore a critical need for a standardised method to evaluate, compare, and eventually predict the magnitudes of these different impacts. Here, we propose a straightforward system for classifying alien species according to the magnitude of their environmental impacts, based on the mechanisms of impact used to code species in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Global Invasive Species Database, which are presented here for the first time. The classification system uses five semi-quantitative scenarios describing impacts under each mechanism to assign species to different levels of impact—ranging from Minimal to Massive—with assignment corresponding to the highest level of deleterious impact associated with any of the mechanisms. The scheme also includes categories for species that are Not Evaluated, have No Alien Population, or are Data Deficient, and a method for assigning uncertainty to all the classifications. We show how this classification system is applicable at different levels of ecological complexity and different spatial and temporal scales, and embraces existing impact metrics. In fact, the scheme is analogous to the already widely adopted and accepted Red List approach to categorising extinction risk, and so could conceivably be readily integrated with existing practices and policies in many regions.

TitelA Unified Classification of Alien Species Based on the Magnitude of their Environmental Impacts
VerfasserTim M. Blackburn, Franz Essl, Thomas Evans, Philip E. Hulme, Jonathan M. Jeschke, Ingolf Kühn, Sabrina Kumschick, Zuzana Marková, Agata Mrugała, Wolfgang Nentwig, Jan Pergl, Petr Pyšek, Wolfgang Rabitsch, Anthony Ricciardi, David M. Richardson, Agnieszka Sendek, Montserrat Vilà, John R. U. Wilson, Marten Winter, Piero Genovesi, Sven Bacher
VerlagPublic Library of Science
Datum20140506
Kennungdoi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001850
Quelle/n
Erschienen inPLOS Biology, Volume 12, Issue 5, e1001850 (May 2014)
Spracheeng
ArtText
Rechte© 2014 Blackburn et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.