Invasive alien species are recognized as the second largest drivers of biodiversity loss worldwide and island ecosystems appear to be more vulnerable to invasions. The Oceania region, home of six of the recognized 39 world biodiversity hotspots, has suffered significant loss of species and ecosystems as result of the spread of invasive alien species. The IUCN Species Survival Commission Invasive Species Specialist Group (IUCN SSC ISSG) and the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) are working together to address this challenge by improving the access to data on invasive alien species in the Oceania-ACP island countries.
The lack of information on species is often cited as a hindrance to effective management. With this in mind, the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group is developing tools to support the monitoring and data sharing on species. The Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) is significant repository of global invasive species information on the distribution of species at the “action level”, impacts of invasive species on natural ecosystems and species they contain, and options to prevent the introduction and spread of introduced species.
The Island Biodiversity and Invasive Species database (IBIS) is a new tool of the IUCN SSC ISSG that addresses specifically the threats to island ecosystems, who appear to be more vulnerable to invasions. The objective of the IBIS is to provide information that will assist prioritization and inform decision making in invasive alien species management, ultimately improving the response to invasions in islands ecosystems.
In the Pacific, as well as in the Caribbean, BIOPAMA has identified the access to invasive species management information for conservation practitioners as a high-priority goal. BIOPAMA will support this effort in the Pacific-ACP countries, to collect, compile and structure data on invasive alien species that decision makers and protected areas managers can use for an effective management.
More specifically, the Joint Research Centre (JRC), under the BIOPAMA mandate, and ISSG are working jointly to implement enhanced web-services on the IBIS database. The IBIS will become the primary resource of invasive alien species information for decision makers and protected area managers. It will also be an important information product within the BIOPAMA Regional Reference Information System of the Pacific Regional Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity. The Secretariat for Regional Pacific Environment Programme (SPREP) is the host of the Regional Observatory for the Pacific region.
The updated Island Biodiversity and Invasive Species Database will be available for users by the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.