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Environment: Pooling information to combat the threat of alien species in Europe
Date:9/14/2012

How many plants can be found in the Alps that are not native to that region? Which animals were deliberately or accidently introduced to the Danube? How big a threat will they become to local wildlife? EASIN, the European Alien Species Information Network, launched today by the European Commission's in-house science service, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), takes a first step towards answering these and other questions related to 16 000 alien species currently reported all over Europe. This information network the first of its kind in Europe is an important step to deal with the threat of alien species that become invasive. Invasive species present a serious threat to biodiversity and natural resources, with an economic impact estimated at around 12 billion per year.

Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Invasive alien species are causing growing problems for our natural resources, people's health and the economy. This threat arises from non-native species whose numbers are growing rapidly in an increasingly interconnected world. The EASIN network will help people in Europe get better information about where non-native species are, and how common they are and that will support better policy making on this difficult issue."

Alien species non-native organisms that become established in a new environment are on the increase worldwide. Most of them do not present significant risks for their new environment. However, some of them adapt so successfully to the new environment that they become invasive from being biological curiosities they become genuine threats to local ecosystems, crops and livestock, threatening our environmental and social wellbeing. Invasive alien species are the second leading cause of biodiversity loss, after habitat alteration.

EASIN facilitates the mapping and classification of alien species by indexing reported data from over 40 online databases. Through dynamically updated web features, users
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Contact: Elena Gonzalez Verdesoto
jrc-press@ec.europa.eu
European Commission Joint Research Centre
Source:Eurekalert

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