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Belgium's regions join forces to fight invasive alien species
Belgium’s three regions and the European Union are providing €7 million to fight invasive alien species (IAS) in the country over the next six years. The project, called LIFE RIPARIAS (Reaching Integrated and Prompt Action in Response to Invasive Alien Species) will be coordinated by Brussels Environment.
IAS have been recognised as one of the main threats to biodiversity and ecosystems. There are currently 66 IAS listed as a concern by the European Union. Of these, 12 species of plants and three types of crayfish are already widespread in Belgium or could be a problem in the future.
Currently, the approach to dealing with IAS has been fragmented with those involved taking ad hoc decisions about what action to take. Additionally, data sources and information on species have not been efficiently shared. It is therefore difficult to have a clear view of the rationale behind actions and their efficiency.
The close collaboration between the three Belgian regions is therefore central to this project, as biological invasions know no borders. It is hoped that increased cooperation and sharing of information between the regions and their associated partners from the public, academic and research sectors, will lead to a better overview of the situation in Belgium and coordinated action plans to deal with threats.
Monitoring and management actions to combat invasions will be coordinated in order to maximise their effectiveness while brochures and guides to good management practices will also be developed "to facilitate the identification and management of IAS in the field." Information and training sessions are also planned, and opportunities to involve volunteers are also being considered.