Developing a framework of minimum standards for the risk assessment of alien species

Roy, HE; Rabitsch, W; Scalera, R; Stewart, A; Gallardo, B; Genovesi, P; Essl, F; Adriaens, T; Bacher, Sven; Booy, O; Branquart, E; Brunel, S; Copp, GH; Dean, H; D’hondt, B; Josefsson, M; Kenis, M; Kettunen, M; Linnamagi, M; Lucy, F; ... (2018). Developing a framework of minimum standards for the risk assessment of alien species. Journal of applied ecology, 55(2), pp. 526-538. Wiley 10.1111/1365-2664.13025

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1. Biological invasions are a threat to biodiversity, society and the economy. There is an urgent need to provide evidence-based assessments of the risks posed by inva-sive alien species (IAS) to prioritize action. Risk assessments underpin IAS policies in many ways: informing legislation; providing justification of restrictions in trade or consumer activities; prioritizing surveillance and rapid response. There are benefits to ensuring consistency in content of IAS risk assessments globally, and this can be achieved by providing a framework of minimum standards as a checklist for quality assurance.

2. From a review of existing risk assessment protocols, and with reference to the r equirements of the EU Regulation on IAS (1143/2014) and international agreements including the World Trade Organisation, Convention on Biological Diversity and International Plant Protection Convention, coupled with consensus methods, we identified and agreed upon 14 minimum standards (attributes) a risk-assessment scheme should include.

3. The agreed minimum standards were as follows: (1) basic species description; (2) likelihood of invasion; (3) distribution, spread and impacts; (4) assessment of intro-duction pathways; (5) assessment of impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems; (6) Assessment of impact on ecosystem services; (7) assessment of socio-economic impacts; (8) consideration of status (threatened or protected) of species or habitat under threat; (9) assessment of effects of future climate change; (10) completion possible even when there is a lack of information; (11) documents information sources; (12) provides a summary in a consistent and interpretable form; (13) includes uncertainty; (14) includes quality assurance. In deriving these minimum standards, gaps in knowledge required for completing risk assessments and the scope of exist-ing risk assessment protocols were revealed, most notably in relation to assessing benefits, socio-economic impacts and impacts on ecosystem services but also inclu-sion of consideration of climate change.

4. Policy implications. We provide a checklist of components that should be within in-vasive alien species risk assessments and recommendations to develop risk assess-ments to meet these proposed minimum standards. Although inspired by implementation of the European Union Regulation on invasive alien species, and as such developed specifically within a European context, the derived framework and minimum standards could be applied globally.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Science
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Community Ecology [discontinued]

UniBE Contributor:

Bacher, Sven, Nentwig, Wolfgang


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Alexander Strauss

Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2018 16:48

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:13

Publisher DOI:





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