IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment 

IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment 

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment”. The topic “IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment” has relevance in the “Ecology and Environment” section of the UPSC CSE exam.

For Prelims:

What are Invasive Alien Species?
What is IPBES? 

For Mains:

GS3:  Ecology and Environment

Why in the news?

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recently released a report on Invasive Alien Species.


Invasive Alien Species

  • An invasive species is one that is not indigenous to a specific area and has a negative impact on the environment, economy, or human health. Invasive species can be intentionally or unintentionally introduced into a new area.
  • Invasive species establish themselves in an environment by outcompeting native wildlife, causing infrastructure damage, and endangering human health and livelihoods.


Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)

  • IPBES, also known as the “IPCC for biodiversity,” is an independent intergovernmental body with over 140 member governments.
  • It was established by governments in 2012 to provide policymakers with objective scientific assessments of the state of knowledge regarding the planet’s biodiversity, ecosystems, and the contributions they make to people, as well as the tools and methods for protecting and using these vital natural assets in a sustainable manner.
  • It is not a United Nations organisation. However, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) provides secretariat services to IPBES at the request of the IPBES Plenary and with the authorization of the UNEP Governing Council in 2013.


Assessment Report on Invasive Alien Species and their Control

  • According to the report, human activities have introduced approximately 37,000 alien species, encompassing both plants and animals, to various regions and biomes worldwide. 
  • Among these, there are over 3,500 invasive alien species, which have played a significant role in causing 60% of documented global extinctions in both plant and animal species. 
  • The report also highlights that invasive alien species rank among the top five primary drivers of biodiversity loss on a global scale.
  • The report underscores that the proliferation of alien species has been an ongoing trend for centuries across all regions. However, it is now accelerating at an unprecedented pace, primarily due to increased human mobility, trade, and the expansion of the global economy. 
  • Notably, roughly 6% of introduced plant species, 22% of introduced invertebrates, 14% of introduced vertebrates, and 11% of introduced microbes are recognized as invasive, posing substantial threats to both natural ecosystems and human well-being.
  • This comprehensive study, conducted over a four-year period, involved the collaboration of 86 leading experts hailing from 49 countries. Their research drew upon a vast body of knowledge, encompassing more than 13,000 references.


Major Invasive Species

  • The water hyacinth is the most common invasive alien species on land in the world.
  • Lantana, a flowering shrub, and the black rat are the second and third most common species on the planet.

  • The brown rat and house mouse are two other common invasive alien species.
  • The Caribbean false mussel devastates Kerala’s important fishery resources by eradicating native clams and oysters.
  • Malaria, Zika, and West Nile Fever are spread by invasive species such as Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegyptii. 

Methods to control invasive species

  • Physical removal: This involves physically removing the invasive species from the environment. This can be done by hand, using tools such as traps or nets, or by using herbicides or pesticides.
  • Biological control: This includes using natural predators or parasites to control the invasive species. This can be a more sustainable approach than physical removal, but it can also be more difficult to implement.
  • Genetic control: It involves introducing genes into the invasive species that will make them sterile or less competitive. This is a new and experimental approach, but it has the potential to be very effective.
  • Cultural control: It includes changing the way that people interact with the environment to make it less hospitable to invasive species. This can include things like changing farming practices, cleaning up waste, and controlling the spread of invasive species through trade.


Way Forward

  • Minimising the risks and costs associated with their negative impacts while capturing the social and economic benefits possible through responsible management.
  • Regulating the trade and movement of invasive alien species is the most effective way to prevent their introduction and spread. 
  • Once an invasive species arrives in a new area, it is possible to limit their negative impacts through early detection, monitoring, and rapid eradication


Sources: Biodiversity loss: 37,000 ‘alien species’ introduced by human activities, says report | India News – The Indian Express 

Yojna daily current affairs eng med 5th Sep 2023


Q1. With reference to Invasive species, consider the following statements: 

  1. Invasive species are only those who are unintentionally introduced into a new area.
  2. Invasive species lead to infrastructure damage as well as endangering human health and livelihoods.
  3. The invasive alien species are one of the primary drivers of biodiversity loss.

Which of the statements given above is/are NOT correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only 

(d) None 

Answer: (a) 


Q2. Consider the following :

  1. Black Rat
  2. Kondana Rat
  3. Caribbean false mussel
  4. Komodo dragon

How many of the abovementioned species are invasive species?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) Only three 

(d) All Four 

Answer: (b)


Q3. Discuss the significance of regulating the trade and movement of invasive alien species as a strategy for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem protection. Elaborate on the challenges associated in this regard.

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