EU funded project “Invasive alien species (IAS): improvement of understanding and communication” - Kick-off meeting on Soil Transport Platform– 1 April 2021!

EU funded project “Invasive alien species (IAS): improvement of understanding and communication” - Kick-off meeting on Soil Transport Platform– 1 April 2021!

Invasive Alien Species (IAS) have been identified as one of the key ongoing threats to biodiversity. Their spread can be tackled by addressing the “pathways” of introduction. The ways in which IAS arrive, either intentionally or inadvertently, are varied with examples including escapes of pets and ornamental plants through to arrival within habitat material such as soil. However, it is important that a range of different stakeholders, working in sectors impacting on or impacted by IAS come together to exchange ideas and improve communication on the importance of preventing the arrival and spread of IAS.

The European-wide project, “Invasive alien species: improvement of understanding and communication”, is funded by the European Commission (ENV.D.2/SER/2019/0006) and brings together stakeholders to discuss approaches to engagement and communication on this important topic. The project is managed by UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH), IT Sligo – Institute for Technology, adelphi and other consortium partners.

The objective of establishing stakeholder IAS platforms is to foster a constructive dialogue within and among stakeholder organisations and competent authorities involved in the respective cluster of pathways (both on “impacting” and “impact” sides) and to develop joint initiatives to address the problem.

The project team has established five IAS stakeholder groups/platforms which address some of the pathways involved in the introduction or spread of IAS. The platforms aim to exchange good practice between one another and come up with new ways to deal with IAS.

The groups are: Aquatic ornamentals, Pet species, Soil transport, Forest ecosystems and Aquatic recreation (angling).

In particular, each platform will:
· discuss IAS and the required prevention measures related to the cluster of pathways,
· discuss IAS of Union concern and the improvement of the implementation of the prevention measures provided for in the IAS Regulation,
· discuss options for stakeholders involved in the introduction and spread of IAS (cause) which may help them to continue and expand their activities, while reducing the
associated risks (e.g. by replacing alien species by native species) and contributing to halting the loss of biodiversity,
· co-operate on the development and joint implementation of an IAS prevention campaign for that cluster of pathways,
· discuss how prevention and control of IAS can support the objectives of nature conservation in protected areas, particularly in Natura 2000 areas.

The European Region of the International Federation of Landscape Architects – IFLA EUROPE has been identified as one of key organisations and was invited to engage further with the project for the Soil Transport cluster. The IAS platform aims to facilitate dialogue, cooperation and experience sharing to support the prevention and management of IAS in a participative and integrative manner.

Participation of IFLA Europe will enable our organisation to:

1. present our organisational viewpoints on how IAS and IAS regulation may impact us economically;
2. examine various alternative means for reducing the impact of IAS in our sector;
3. understand the roles of other types of organisations engaged in impacting and impacted sectors.

As a part of this project IFLA Europe representatives joined the stakeholder kick-off meeting which took place on 1 April 2021.

The kick-off meeting gave an overview of the project and highlighted the main aims of the Soil Transport Platform:
1. To identify knowledge gaps, differences in understanding and perspectives on IAS and their prevention among sectors and competent authorities;
2. To facilitate dialogue, improve the level of understanding in all directions;
3.To prepare IAS prevention campaigns to be implemented with the aim of reducing the risks associated to the selected pathways;
4.To facilitate and support the implementation of the proposed IAS prevention campaigns.

The European Commission/DG Environment provided an overview of the EU Regulation on Invasive Alien Species (2015) focusing on the IAS of EU’s concern. He highlighted that the platform’s focus should be to improve communication, raise awareness about IAS and share knowledge about their diverse impacts and the solutions
available.

The project team then gave a presentation describing the role of IAS in the context of soil transportation. He gave a few representative examples of invasive alien plants
(e.g. Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed) and animals (e.g. New Zealand flatworm) species, as well as diseases (e.g. ash dieback), which can be introduced and spread through soil transport. The presentation explained the different types of impacts and possible management measures. Impacts range from threats to human health over habitat loss to economic damages due to restoration and management costs. Regarding introductory pathways, transportation (vehicles, machinery, people, soils), intentional release or escape from gardens are the most common.

The kick-off meeting included representatives from different key sectors, such as national and European road authorities, nursery association representatives, land owner associations and national soil transport agencies.

Next meeting will take place on 10 June 2021.
You can find here Invasive species mini guide EU

For more information about the project please contact IFLA Europe Secretariat at secretariat@iflaeuroep.eu


 Illustrations © Chris Shields ; Guide © European Commission- Invasive Alien Species: Improvement of understanding and communication
Illustrations © Chris Shields ; Guide © European Commission- Invasive Alien Species: Improvement of understanding and communication
 Illustrations © Chris Shields ; Guide © European Commission- Invasive Alien Species: Improvement of understanding and communication
Illustrations © Chris Shields ; Guide © European Commission- Invasive Alien Species: Improvement of understanding and communication




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