Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Publication Title

Ecological Applications

Volume

16

Issue

6

First Page

2035

Last Page

2054

DOI

10.1890/1051-0761(2006)016[2035:BIRFUP]2.0.CO;2

Abstract

The Ecological Society of America has evaluated current U.S. national policies and practices on biological invasions in light of current scientific knowledge. Invasions by harmful nonnative species are increasing in number and area affected; the damages to ecosystems, economic activity, and human welfare are accumulating. Without improved strategies based on recent scientific advances and increased investments to counter invasions, harm from invasive species is likely to accelerate. Federal leadership, with the cooperation of state and local governments, is required to increase the effectiveness of prevention of invasions, detect and respond quickly to new potentially harmful invasions, control and slow the spread of existing invasions, and provide a national center to ensure that these efforts are coordinated and cost effective. Specifically, the Ecological Society of America recommends that the federal government take the following six actions: (1) Use new information and practices to better manage commercial and other pathways to reduce the transport and release of potentially harmful species; (2) Adopt more quantitative procedures for risk analysis and apply them to every species proposed for importation into the country; (3) Use new cost-effective diagnostic technologies to increase active surveillance and sharing of information about invasive species so that responses to new invasions can be more rapid and effective; (4) Create new legal authority and provide emergency funding to support rapid responses to emerging invasions; (5) Provide funding and incentives for cost-effective programs to slow the spread of existing invasive species in order to protect still uninvaded ecosystems, social and industrial infrastructure, and human welfare; and (6) Establish a National Center for Invasive Species Management (under the existing National Invasive Species Council) to coordinate and lead improvements in federal, state, and international policies on invasive species. Recent scientific and technical advances provide a sound basis for more cost-effective national responses to invasive species. Greater investments in improved technology and management practices would be more than repaid by reduced damages from current and future invasive species. The Ecological Society of America is committed to assist all levels of government and provide scientific advice to improve all aspects of invasive-species management.

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