Protecting the Hornbills from the Ills of Climate change 

  • Prelims: CBD, Invasive plants in news
  • Mains (GS3): Climate Change, Invasive plants and Mitigation

What are invasive alien species?

Invasive alien species (IAS) are non-native organisms that have been introduced to a new habitat, either accidentally or intentionally, and have the ability to spread rapidly and cause harm to the environment, economy, or human health. These species can include plants, animals, and microorganisms.

Invasive alien species often have a competitive advantage over native species because they lack natural predators or diseases in their new habitat. They can quickly establish themselves and outcompete native species for resources such as food, water, and space. This can lead to the decline or extinction of native species, which can have cascading effects on the ecosystem.

An invasive species, Senna spectabilis, an exotic tree, has taken over between 800 and 1,200 hectares of the buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the picturesque Nilgiris hill district - The Hindu 2022

Image Credit : Storyset

What needs to be done?

Invasive alien species (IAS) are a global issue that requires international cooperation and actions. Preventing international movement of IAS and rapid detection at borders are less costly than control and eradication. Preventing the entry of IAS is carried out through inspections of international shipments, customs checks and proper quarantine regulations. Prevention requires collaboration among governments, economic sectors and non-governmental and international organizations.

Some international and regional binding agreements that contain guidelines for IAS :

International Agreements:

  • The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

          CBD states that “Each contracting Party shall, as far as possible and as appropriate, prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species”. The Conference of the Parties (COP) acknowledged the urgent need to address the threat of at its fourth meeting (decision IV/1), in 1998.

  • Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS or Bonn Convention)

          The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species. IAS are considered a threat to migratory species and are addressed as per the convention.

  • Ramsar Convention

         The aim of the Ramsar Convention is the conservation and wise use of wetlands and resources. COP 7 resolution addresses threats of invasive species to wetland ecosystems.

  • International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC)

         The International Plant Protection Convention is a treaty that aims to prevent introduction of pests of plants and plant products in international trade.

  • United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)

         States under UNCLOS are required to protect and preserve the marine environment from intentional or unintentional introduction of alien species.

  • World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Agreement

           The OIE is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide. It has 169 countries and territories as its members. It aims to guarantee the safety of international trade in animals and animal products and to control animal diseases and zoonoses worldwide while avoiding unjustified sanitary barriers.