Mitigating the Threat of Invasive Alien Species
Invasive alien species are threatening ecosystems around the world. However islands, with their diverse but delicate ecosystems, are particularly at risk from invasions which can do great damage to the native biodiversity. In the Caribbean, invasive alien species are a major threat to the vulnerable marine, freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity of the many islands, and to the people depending on this biodiversity for their livelihoods and well-being. Due to the nature of many of the invasive species and their ability to spread and colonise new areas, any attempt to tackle this threat will require a regional effort. Caribbean states have recognised this need for a regional strategy, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s declaration that efforts must be made to prevent, control or eradicate invasive species that threaten ecosystems.
In response, CABI Caribbean & Latin America is coordinating a project entitled “Mitigating the threat of Invasive Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean”. We are working with 11 international, seven regional and more than 25 national partners from five island nations across the insular Caribbean; namely the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic and St Lucia. This project aims to broaden the approach to deal with invasive alien species both by strengthening existing national capacity and measures and by fostering regional cooperation frameworks through which Caribbean-wide strategies can be developed.
Regional consultations will be held on marine, terrestrial, and freshwater aquatic invasives which will provide the basis for a cooperative Caribbean wide strategy and policy for dealing with invasive alien species in the Caribbean. This will build on the Caribbean Invasive Species Working Group’s (CISWG) Caribbean Regional Invasive Species Intervention Strategy (CRISIS) – which currently focuses on agricultural invasives – by including invasive species which threaten biodiversity. The project will also develop regional strategies for marine, terrestrial and aquatic species, broadening the scope of the work done to date. These regional consultations will also benefit from work done by the five participating countries in developing their respective national strategies.
Participation of the CARICOM Secretariat and other regional institutions that are collaborators on the project will ensure that the regional strategy is developed in a participatory manner and will be sustained beyond the life of the project.
Knowledge generation, management and dissemination will also allow the impact of the work to continue long after the end of the life of the project. Based on a critical situation analysis for each country, best practice guidelines will be drawn up and this as well as findings from all research work will be made available. Access to data and the need to build capacity and create public awareness at each level is key if invasive species are to be eradicated, their control and management improved, and new invasions prevented.
Trinidad and Tobago
The Dominican Republic