NeoBiota invites risk analysis studies in a new Special Issue on advancements in the screening of freshwater and terrestrial non-native species

The “Recent advancements in the risk screening of freshwater and terrestrial non-native species” Special Issue in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal NeoBiota is now open for submissions. The deadline for submission is 30 April 2022, with the issue scheduled for publication in August 2022.

The “Recent advancements in the risk screening of freshwater and terrestrial non-native species” Special Issue in the open-access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal NeoBiota is now open for submissions.

The issue is managed by the international team of guest editors of Dr Daniela Giannetto (Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey), Prof. Marina Piria (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Prof. Ali Serhan Tarkan (Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey) and Dr Grzegorz Zięba (University of Lodz, Poland).

Update: The deadline for submission has been extended to 30 April 2022, with the issue expected to be published in August 2022. 

The new special issue is expected to collate prominent contributors from the field of invasive ecology, thereby addressing existing gaps in the knowledge about both freshwater and terrestrial non-native species and their management.

The editors note that despite the current efforts and measures to monitor and tackle the spread of non-native species, and especially those posing imminent threat to local biodiversity and ecosystems, further expansion of such populations has increasingly been recorded in recent years. Of special concern are developing countries, where legislation for controlling non-native species is still lacking.

A major problem is that – as of today – we are still missing on risk screening studies needed to provide evidence for the invasiveness potential of many non-native species across several taxonomic groups, which would then be used to support specific conservation efforts. Unfortunately, this is particularly true for species inhabiting the world’s biodiversity hotspots, point out the editors.

Risk-based identification of non-native species is an essential process to inform policy and actions for conservation and management of biodiversity. Previously published papers on risk screening of aquatic non-native species, and especially those using the most widely-employed ‘-ISK’ decision-support toolkits, have attracted mounting interest from the wider scientific community.

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Cost-benefit analysis of strategies against severely harmful giant hogweed in Germany

While invasive species are considered to be a primary driver of biodiversity loss across the globe, species such as the alien for Germany giant hogweed pose even greater risks, including health hazards to humans, limited accessibility to sites, trails and amenity areas, as well as ecological damages.

Since 1st January 2015, EU member states are obligated to develop concrete action plans against (further) spread of invasive alien species. In order to do so, however, policymakers need adequate knowledge about data of the current spread situation as well as information about costs and benefits of control measures. Therefore, German researchers analyse the present situation and control measures, as well as the cost-effectiveness of the possible eradication strategies. Their analysis is published in the open access journal NeoBiota.

Largely spread across Germany, the giant hogweed (H. mantegazzianum) grows in a wide range of habitats, including roadsides, grasslands, riparian habitats and woodland margins. The highest invasion percentage (18.5%) was found for abandoned grasslands, field and grassland margins, and tall-forb stands.

While the species poses a serious threat on native biodiversity through competitive displacement of native plants, it is particularly dangerous to human health. Its watery sap contains several chemical agents. In contact with the skin, this sap can cause severe blistering if the person is simultaneously exposed to sunlight. Furthermore, the hypersensitivity of the skin towards sunlight may persist for a number of years. Additionally, the giant hogweed can limit public accessibility to sites, trails and amenity areas, as well as inflict ecological damages, such as erosion at riverbanks.

In order to provide policymakers with the information needed for adequate control measures, Dr. Sandra Rajmis from the Julius Kühn-Institute, Dr. Jan Thiele from the University of Münster, and Prof. Dr. Rainer Marggraf from Georg-August-Universität Göttingen examine costs and benefits of controlling giant hogweed in Germany.

To address these challenges, the scientists firstly study the present state and costs of control measures, based on survey data received from German nature authorities. Then, they analyse the identified control options in terms of cost effectiveness with regard to the invaded area types and sizes in the infested German districts. To estimate the benefits of the eradication strategies, they turn to a choice experiment survey conducted in German households.

“Only in light of these findings, policymakers can properly understand about the societal costs and benefits of alternatives and decide about societal favored control options in Germany,” point out the researchers.

The team also notes that cost-effectiveness of eradication strategies depends on the length of the period over which they are implemented and observed.

“As this is the first cost-benefit analysis estimating welfare effects and societal importance of giant hogweed invasion control, it could serve as guideline for assessments of eradication control in other European countries and support the implementation of the EU directive 1143/2014,” they conclude.

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Original source: Rajmis S, Thiele J, Marggraf R (2016) A cost-benefit analysis of controlling giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) in Germany using a choice experiment approach.NeoBiota 31: 19-41. doi: 10.3897/neobiota.31.8103