A new GBIF task group will address the urgent need for improved access to better data and information on invasive alien species in response to the landmark Invasive Alien Species Assessment
Among its findings, the IPBES Thematic Assessment of Invasive Alien Species and Their Control concluded that support for information systems, infrastructures and data sharing was one of seven complementary strategic actions that could achieve ambitious progress in management, prevention and control of biological invasions.
The report also identified the critical role that open and interoperable information systems can play in understanding biological invasions, supported by international cooperation and networking among governments and stakeholders.
The assessment also identified the most important data gaps relating to invasive alien species, “which, if closed, would strengthen the understanding of biological invasions” in marine, tropical and polar ecosystems; among microorganisms and invertebrates; as well as regional data gaps especially in Africa and Central Asia.
The task group recommended by the GBIF Science Committee, and endorsed by the GBIF Executive Committee will review recent developments in the science-policy interface relating to invasive alien species, and recommend actions for GBIF that will best address the needs of data users. These developments include not just the IPBES assessment but also the needs of governments to track progress towards Target 6 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), relating to preventing or reducing the introduction and establishment of invasive alien species.
“It is clear that the issue of invasive alien species is among the strategic priorities for GBIF in demonstrating the importance of our network and infrastructure in addressing major global challenges,” said Dr Liam Lysaght, director of Ireland’s National Biodiversity Data Centre and chair of the GBIF Governing Board. “We know that data flowing through GBIF already provides an irreplaceable body of evidence on invasive alien species, but we also know we can do even better–and that’s where the task group can help.”
The topic of invasive alien species accounts for nearly 14 per cent of published peer-reviewed uses of data from the GBIF network, with almost 1,300 papers relating to invasives recorded in the archive of GBIF-enabled research compiled through its literature tracking programme.