Wetlands are critical
habitats and highly productive ecosystems, providing environmental, social and
economic services to the local communities (so-called ecosystem services).
Their importance is recognized by the
RAMSAR Convention, which aims at the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through
local and national actions and international cooperation. However, these unique
ecosystems are highly susceptible to invasions by alien species, primarily due
to the habitat degradation from human based activities. In Europe, at least 260
different alien plants are considered established in inland waterways.
A recent study led by
University of Valencia monitored the number of alien flora in three
Mediterranean Wetlands: Valencia Community, Balearic Islands, and Sardinia. In
total, 380 alien taxa have been recorded, including 77 invasive species, of
which 9 were common in the three areas and have been recognised as the most
invasive in Mediterranean islands, while 6 are considered invasive worldwide.
The analysis of introduction pathways, revealed that most of the alien species
recorded, introduced intentionally by humans, were originally used as
Despite the global
and national recognition of their importance, Europe’s wetlands remain under
severe pressure from land use, pollution etc.
The degradation of such habitats, is the main driver for the dispersal
of invasive species that can damage wetlands’ capacity to provide ecosystem
The Council of
Europe designed a voluntary code of conduct on pets and
invasive alien species including guidelines for
ornamental plants used in gardens, ponds, aquaria or homes. In addition, a list
of invasive alien species of Union concern can be found in the Commission Implementing Reg. 1141/2016.
AlterIAS LIFE Project