To effectively tackle the challenge of biological invasions through targeted strategies and mitigation measures, managers and policy makers require adequate reporting and flow of information. For this reason, the European Natura 2000 network of protected areas, which is the main conservation tool of the European Union, is supported by a standardized database, where all threats to biodiversity are to be reported.
This study compared the reported threats by invasive non-native species in the Natura 2000 database with the actual cumulative impacts of invasive alien species on marine habitats in the Mediterranean using the CIMPAL index (Cumulative Impacts on invasive alien species).
The results show that the threat of invasive alien species is substantially under-reported in the official documentation. Among the 1,455 marine sites of the network, no threat was officially reported in one third of the sites. The threat of biological invasions was only reported in 154 sites, despite negative impacts by invasive alien species being predicted for 98% of all sites when using CIMPAL.
The authors conclude on the insufficient reporting of threats in the Mediterranean marine Natura 2000 sites, which, they state, presents a significant obstacle to the flow of accurate information needed to support conservation policies and marine management.
Mazaris AD, Katsanevakis S (2018) The threat of biological invasions is under-represented in the marine protected areas of the European Natura 2000 network. Biological Conservation 225:208-212