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Invasive Species: What We Do

Promote Stronger Public Policies

The Nature Conservancy engages lawmakers and agencies in developing public laws and allocating funds to prevent, detect, and control invasive species. This requires that we build awareness among the public and lawmakers about the effects of invasive species on natural areas, the economy and human health.  We also encourage the public and the business community to take voluntary action to address their role in the spread of invasive species.

Creating a Global Framework for Preventing New Invasions

Given the pervasive and widespread nature of the invasive threat around the world, international cooperation and supportive policy is essential. The Nature Conservancy is working with national governments and other partners to address the issue of invasive species on a global scale through the Convention on Biological Diversity. In 2008, over 180 countries will conduct a major review of efforts to prevent the spread of invasives worldwide, and provide guidance on what more needs to be done. The Conservancy and others are advocating that this review:

  • Assess what type of scientific, institutional and legal support countries need to effectively combat invasive alien species; 
  • Set guidelines and benchmarks for countries to achieve at least a minimum level of protection; 
  • Encourage and facilitate regional collaboration to address common threats; and
  • Establish mechanisms to address gaps in international law related to the pathways through which invasive species move.

Leading up to 2008, The Nature Conservancy will work with the Global Invasive Species Program, a coalition of international conservation organizations, and other partners to encourage and support governments in creating a strong international framework for preventing the spread of invasives species, including efforts under the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Controlling Pathways through International Trade

Addressing the spread of invasive species through international trade is another critical tool in the battle against invasive species. While the rapid expansion of international trade is bringing new financial opportunities to developing nations, the spread of dangerous invasives associated with increased trade could easily undermine these economic benefits. For example, invasive congress weed in Ethiopia reduces the quality of grazing which is vital to the livelihood of local pastoralists.

Efforts to integrate countries into the world economy and action to combat invasive species can go hand-in-hand.

Bilateral and regional free trade agreements provide an important opportunity to target particular pathways and species. We are working to shape discussions on trade liberalization to ensure provisions are included to keep invasive species from hitch hiking on the back of new trade routes.

Securing Funds to Fight Invasive Insects and Diseases

In the United States, Federal agencies, such as United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the Forest Service, are trying to stop the spread of invasive insects and diseases that could irreparably damage our nation's forests and neighborhood trees. With adequate funding for control measures, these trees can still be protected. The Conservancy supports these crucial efforts by engaging Congressional representatives to allocate sufficient funds to eradicate these pests before they can spread further. 

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