Discussion forum on development of IAS management tools and guidance

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Discussion forum on development of IAS management tools and guidance

Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1507]
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posted on 2019-08-01 14:02 UTC by Dr Andy Sheppard, CSIRO
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1533]
Dear all,

I believe that with the question “Can the knowledge gained provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future?” the answer is definitely yes. We always need to get the lessons learned and make analysis on improvements and management for future activities.

Getting the examples provided to the question 4a (“cases of the impacts of invasive alien species”), we can extract good examples, actions and initiatives that we can build in to future activities.

Repeating one example provided, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the pine wood nematode (PWN) and the IPPC:

Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, the pine wood nematode (PWN) is the causal agent of the economically and environmentally significant ‘pine wilt disease’ in species of pine (Pinus spp.). PWN is native to North America and is vectored by species of the wood-inhabiting longhorn beetle Monochamus. PWN was introduced into Asia (Japan) at the turn of the 20th century via timber exports, and has now spread into China and Korea. PWN was first detected in Europe (Portugal) in 1999 and now threatens to spread in Europe. The spread of the disease from tree to tree is primarily through the vector (Monochamus spp.), and the emergence of adult beetles from PWN infested wood is believed to be the most likely method of introduction. Local species of Monochamus that can vector PWN are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. PWN is not only an important pest with regard to forestry production, but can have significant environmental repercussions such as biodiversity loss or increased erosion in alpine environments.

In The Republic of Korea, over USD 600 million has been lost in 20 years as estimated losses of forest and crops with additional ecological and social impact. Prior to the adoption of the standard related to the use of wood packaging material (ISPM 15), wood packaging was considered to be the main pathway for the spread of PWN.  The Commission has adopted a set of ISPMs to assist in PWN management (https://www.ippc.int/en/core-activities/standards-setting/ispms/).

Best regards,

Adriana G. Moreira
Standard Setting Officer (Programme Specialist)
International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) Secretariat
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN)
E-mail / Skype:  adriana.moreira@fao.org
Websites: http://www.fao.org | http://www.ippc.int
posted on 2019-08-15 13:16 UTC by Ms Adriana Moreira, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO/UN)
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1534]
"Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future?"
I think the way the question is formulated is symptomatic of one of the problems we face, at least regarding alien invasive plants, maybe less for other groups: We are in mid-2019 and it seems to me we have accumulated enough knowledge and data over the past 30 years in order to 'define', 'measure' and 'quantify' accurately the impacts of alien invasive plants on 'socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities'. What we lack, in most cases, is implementable and successful control solutions and I tend to think that this is partly because we, i.e. IAS scientists, have not devoted enough attention and studies to practical solutions. There are various reasons for that. But it seems to me that while we know and understand quite well the phenomena, we, paradoxically and sadly, have in fact very few solutions to propose to the people we meet in the field and who are asking us: So what can be done?
For example, the impacts of alien prosopis (mesquite) in Africa and in India are well known, well documented and we know for instance that dense stands of mesquite severely lower the water table in the soil causing the collapse of the grass that creates the pastures. Within few years after the establishment of mesquite there is not enough fodder left and pastoralists have to move. It inevitably creates bloody conflicts and dismay for local communities. Well, we know the process, the causes and the consequences. We have quantitative measures, yet we have almost no solution to propose for solving this problem. So we keep describing an already well known process. At best we produce new maps displaying the extent of the proliferation. This is good but not enough.
Significant progress has been done in the field of biocontrol, especially in reducing the non-target effect and this is good. Yet, we face serious issues with the sustainability of bioagent populations over time. Chemical control is still expensive and the application poses problems to the environment, though new molecules show better ecotoxicological profiles. Still we are a far cry from viable, affordable and therefore implementable solutions relevant for vast areas infested with AIPs.
When I see the programs of IAS conferences it turns out that more than 80% of the issues addressed are dealing with theoretical aspects, no doubt they are interesting, but we run out of time and we urgently need practical solutions.
So the answer to the question of this thread is YES, but we must focus on solutions rather than on the description of the impacts.
Maybe am I excessively pessimistic. I hope so.
posted on 2019-08-15 16:22 UTC by Dr Jean-Marc Dufour-Dror, Independent Consultant
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1535]
Jean-Mark

Can I add my support for this message. For me a major gap in our approach to invasive species is the lack of focus on practical and effective outcomes.  I think it is a challenge to the science community to help achieve this. Questions for me include: 

How can we guide and prioritise actions to better focus on achievable management goals? Too often the priorities for species listing or management are based on the scale and likelihood of the impact, without considering the feasibility of management. These considerations need to work in tandem to produce effective outcomes.

What is the best model to invest resources in prevention, eradication or long-term management? Prevention can of course be highly cost-effective but is often ineffective and the problems remain.  All three management approaches need resources, but how do we optimise this process in different environments and for different taxa? Far too much is spent on long-term management with often poor results.

What are the ecological criteria to switch species management goals from prevention to eradication to long-term management?  Too often we see programmes that misapply these objectives, failing to prevent and eradicate when it is still feasible, while investing in long-term species management.

How can the science community support the production of new and refined tools for management? Practitioners need more species specific control methods, more cost-effective ones and new technologies to achieve this.

How can the science community help practitioners manage effectively at large scales? There are numerous examples of successful eradications or removals, but most are based on very small areas.  How do we use our understanding of ecology and species dynamics to guide more effective management at scale?

A focus on effective outcomes is important. The resources spent on management are too low; we will not be effective with our current level of investment, but we need to show we can be effective if we want to see investment increase.

We need the information on impacts, be they economic, biodiversity or social, but we also need science that combines this with information on management feasibility and economics to guide our strategies if we want effective outcomes.  

Pete Robertson
posted on 2019-08-16 10:20 UTC by Peter Robertson, Newcastle University
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1536]
As a common comment as per the near east region and in many countries such the effect on socioeconomic status as a tool is not well developed or not developed at all or might not be comprehensive. There are scattered literature here and there and many of which doesnt reach the level to underpin a real indicative information. For this there is an urgent need of many developing countries to carry out studies immediately to identify first which species are invasive then the impact of each on the local livelihood. On the other hand, the it is encouraged to share results of studies carries out on similar environments of neighboring countries to trigger taking an action as per required
posted on 2019-08-18 08:25 UTC by Dr. Khaled Abulaila, Natuibak Agricultural Research Center
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1538]
Thanks Khaled for the information from your region. Do you know of any cases in your region where widespread invasive alien species and being used by local communities to support rural livelihoods (e.g. fuel production)showing socio-economic adaptation to an IAS as a new resource?

Thanks Andy
posted on 2019-08-19 13:18 UTC by Dr Andy Sheppard, CSIRO
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1539]
Dear Andy
Yes, an example is the Prosopis juliflora that is widespread in Jordan Valley and Wadi Araba, it has been introduced earlier for greenery purposes then it has spread all over and totally changed the ecosystem in many areas of its occupancy. In addition to many adverse direct effect on resources touching the life of nomads living the area. However, as positive side, the pods are being used as source of fodder for the goats and the wood is used as a fuel and all depend on the context of each case of the local livelihood of the area
posted on 2019-08-20 09:37 UTC by Dr. Khaled Abulaila, Natuibak Agricultural Research Center
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1540]
Peter,
The questions you have formulated in your last post address crucial aspects that deserve more attention from decision makers and persons in charge with AIS policy elaboration. I propose hereafter several brief remarks, relevant mostly for alien invasive plant control and management, but I guess these may be relevant, at least partly, also for other phyla:

(1) Focus on achievable goals and feasibility of management: The feasibility of management depends on several parameters, among them (A) the political will, (B) the available techniques/knowledge for implementing the control measures,(C)  the availability of well-trained teams in order to perform the control, and, of course, (D) the financial resources allocated to AIS control management. According to (A) (B) (C) (D) we can propose different control goals, ranging from containment to eradication with intermediate stages including , e.g., the decrease of AIP densities or the reduction of the extent of infested areas. More 'realistic' goals are more likely to be achieved. Yet, there is one further problem and this is the timespan: Inevitably decision-makers and even scientists want to see results rapidly, but realistic and efficient control programs of AIS require long time periods.

(2) Ineffectiveness of prevention: Indeed, though prevention is, on paper, the cheapest and the most effective strategy to control AIS, many prevention programs fail. There are several reasons for that: Effective prevention needs robust enforcement systems. It turns out that most countries, even the richest, experience problem in AIS prevention enforcement. This is maybe because it requires much more resources than initially thought. Another reason is the lack of motivation of national or local authorities to perform prevention actions on the long term: Preventing a problem that has not yet occurred requires a strong self-motivation at all levels.  This is a question of human psychology.

(3) "Far too much is spent on long-term management with often poor results". This is not clear to me if the poor results are related to the timespan over which the control management programs are planned and performed. Maybe a more rigorous methodology in the follow-up of control programs could improve the control efficiency: If one has to produce progress reports frequently enough the efficiency of the control actions may improve; in case it does not the program can be reconsidered soon enough so resources are not lost. In many cases the follow-up is not very strict and control programs are not well monitored.

(4) "How can the science community support the production of new and refined tools for management? Practitioners need more species specific control methods, more cost-effective ones and new technologies to achieve this." Frankly my feeling is that too many researchers and their students are 'seduced' by theoretical issues. This is a broader problem, not restricted to the field of AIS studies. Theoretical aspects are perceived as more prestigious than practical and technical ones. As a consequence not enough attention is devoted to the development of new technologies. Unfortunately, for many of us a paper proposing a new theory is more attractive than an article describing a new control technique.

(5) "How can the science community help practitioners manage effectively at large scales?" This is probably the toughest question. As far as invasive plants are concerned it seems that the solution is in biocontrol. But we are a far cry from effective solutions readily implementable over large areas. Biocontrol has made tremendous progress in the past 20 years, reducing the problems of non-target effects. But new issues arise, such as the unknown consequences of the release of bio-agents in local food webs. Also, the sustainability of bio-agent populations turned out to be far more complicated to ensure over time than initially anticipated. Maybe the development of highly specific herbicides has been neglected because much hope was put on biocontrol? This is not clear to me.

(6) "A focus on effective outcomes is important. The resources spent on management are too low; we will not be effective with our current level of investment". I agree, but in the aftermath of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, almost all countries carry abyssal debts, and continue to print money that does not exist, so I do not see how and which governments will significantly increase budget lines allocated to AIS management. So we need to move forward with the very limited resources we have; all the more reason to focus on control techniques and tools, rather than on theory.

Jean-Marc Dufour-Dror
posted on 2019-08-20 19:32 UTC by Dr Jean-Marc Dufour-Dror, Independent Consultant
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1545]
Answer to this question is broadly 'Yes'. However, it seems that the wealth of knowledge related to the impacts of IAS is simply not sufficient to help management of IAS at national as well as regional levels. Major challenge is probably the identification of the management/control measures that are cost effective and appropriate under various socio-ecological contexts. As somebody else has already mentioned in this thread, we do not have appropriate answer for many species when local communities ask for effective tools for their management. Therefore, future research should focus on developing appropriate tools for managing IAS.

In some instances, efforts made by the local communities for managing IAS have not been well informed from scientific research. For example, water hyacinth is being physically removed from wetlands including Ramsar sites in Nepal (e.g. Beeshajari lake, Phewa lake). However, removal has never been complete and adequate propagules are always left in the wetlands, thereby providing opportunity for rapid expansion in the lakes. And, removal has not been done every year. They wait until the cover of water hyacinth is again very high. This cycle (removal and colonization) has continued for several years and problem remains as such. In small lakes, continuous effort for few years until the last propagule is removed may lead to the eradication of water hyacinth from particular area.    

In summary, future research should focus on generating knowledge to inform management and policy directly.
posted on 2019-08-31 02:07 UTC by Bharat Babu Shrestha, Tribhuvan University
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RE: Session 4c) Can the knowledge gained so far on the impacts of invasive alien species on socio-economic and cultural values and the well being of indigenous and local communities provide a basis for better ways of defining, measuring and quantifying such impacts in the future? [#1546]
Hi all, apologies for joining the conversation late, and thank you for your excellent contributions and to Dr Sheppard for your moderating.

New Zealand was pleased to see this topic as part of this online discussion and as something for CBD to consider in its forward work on IAS. We would like to pick up on the cultural elements in particular- and the importance of not only researching and acknowledging the impacts of IAS on cultural values, but on the role of cultural values and perspectives in the management of IAS. This is an area of great importance for New Zealand.

In New Zealand, Māori-sourced IK, referred to as mātauranga Māori, has an increasingly important role in environmental management, including protection of biological heritage from invasive alien species.

The New Zealand government is actively exploring with Maori how to include mātauranga Māori into our work on IAS management.  This is signalled as a clear priority in our Conservation and Environment Science Roadmap (https://www.mfe.govt.nz/about-us/our-policy-and-evidence-focus/conservation-and-environment-science-roadmap ) and mātauranga Māori approaches are central to several of our research programmes focussed on fighting IAS, such as the pathogens causing kauri dieback and myrtle rust.

  It is now also commonplace for Māori to be involved in governance of IAS management programmes where taonga (treasured, sacred) species are at risk.
The chapter linked below presents two case studies of indigenous biosecurity action from Aotearoa New Zealand. Both are relevant to the present discussion and well worth a read. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-319-76956-1_5 .
posted on 2019-08-31 05:48 UTC by Adam van Opzeeland, Minstry for Primary Industries
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