The Belgian Biodiversity Platform works on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) by facilitating science-policy processes on invasive alien species:
- Facilitating a Belgian Community of Practice on invasive alien species
- Actively participating in the implementation of the EU Regulation on IAS in Belgium
- Being a partner in Belgian initiatives related to invasive alien species
- Contributing to publications on invasive alien species
FACILITATION OF THE BELGIAN COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE ON INVASIVE SPECIES
Strong of its network, the Belgian Forum on Invasive Species (BFIS) is an informal Community of Practice animated by the Belgian Biodiversity Platform in which scientists, policy-makers and stakeholers interested in biological invasions are involved. We favour information sharing and dissemination on IAS-related news through our mailing list to which you can subscribe.
The experts of this Community of Practice are involved in key activities, are being kept informed on alien species related issues, and are mobilised to work on specific requests from policy-makers, practitioners and other stakeholders.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EU REGULATION ON IAS IN BELGIUM
In order to establish rules to prevent, minimise and mitigate the adverse effects of invasive alien species (IAS), the EU Regulation 1143/2014 entered into force on 1 January 2015. The Regulation stipulates a series of measures that apply to any organism listed on the list of invasive alien species of Union Concern.
The actual implementation of the Regulation is performed through two main bodies:
- The EU Scientific Forum on IAS, made up of representatives of the scientific community appointed by the Member States, which provides advice on any scientific question related to the application of the Regulation, and in particular, on whether additional species for inclusion on the list of EU concern and their associated risk assessments are robust and fit for purpose.
- The EU Committee on IAS, composed of representatives of all Member States, discusses the compliance of the proposed species with the criteria for listing. Any update of the Union list is subject to the positive opinion of the IAS Committee.
The implementation of the EU Regulation on IAS is based on a close cooperation between all the Member States. Concretely, the species included on the list of EU concern are subject to restrictions and measures set out in the Regulation. These include restrictions on keeping, importing, selling, breeding and growing. Member States are required to take action on pathways of unintentional introduction, take measures for early detection and rapid eradication of these species, and to manage species.
In Belgium, the implementation of the Regulation involves the competences of the Federal State and the Regions. In this regard, three entities were created in Belgium:
- The Scientific Council on IAS, composed of scientific experts providing advice to the National Committee on IAS.
- The National Committee on IAS, composed of decision-makers who develop and adopt Belgium's position on the Union List and its updating (Belgium's position is then shared with other Member States within the EU Committee on IAS).
- The National Scientific Secretariat on IAS, supporting the Scientific Council in answering questions of the National Committee on IAS.
The Belgian Biodiversity Platform is a member of the EU Scientific Forum on IAS, a member of the Belgian Scientific Council on IAS, and an observer in the National Committee on IAS. It works in close collaboration with the National Scientific Secretariat on IAS.
If you wish to receive more information on the EU Regulation and its implementation in Belgium, please contact Dr Sonia Vanderhoeven.
PARTNERSHIP IN BELGIAN INITIATIVES RELATED TO INVASIVE SPECIES
TrIAS is a Belspo-funded project running from 2017 to 2020. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform is actively engaged in this project built on two components:
- The establishment of a data mobilisation framework for alien species data from diverse data sources
- The development of data-driven procedures for risk evaluation based on risk modelling, risk mapping and risk assessment.
Concretely, the project outputs will be the:
- Establishment of an alien species checklist for Belgium (to be published on GBIF): data will be gathered from a large set of regional, national and international initiatives; with a wide taxonomic scope from marine, terrestrial and freshwater environments.
- Establishment of an occurence dataset of alien species in Belgium.
- Development of indicators to identify emerging species: the combination of obervation data and the checklist feeds indicators for the identification of emerging species; their level of invasion in Belgium; changes in their invasion status and the identification of areas and species of concern that could be impacted upon by bioinvasions.
- Elaboration of risk assessments and modelling: data-driven risk evaluation of identified emerging species are supported by niche and climate modelling and consequent risk mapping using climatic variables. The resulting risk maps complement risk assessments performed by Harmonia+ protocol.
The project is developed in open access, therefore ensuring that interested stakeholders in Belgium and abroad can make use of the information generated through TrIAS.
AN INNOVATIVE APPROACH FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES
LIFE RIPARIAS is a project running from 2021 to 2026, co-funded by Belgian authorities responsible for IAS management and the European Union in the framework of the LIFE programme. The Belgian Biodiversity Platform is actively engaged in this project that aims to optimise IAS management by developing a science-based workflow which will establish priorities for action. It will guide decision-makers and managers in the decision-making process for IAS management, informing the best management methods while maximising the cost-effectiveness of actions. The LIFE RIPARIAS approach is based on cooperation between management practitioners, policy makers and the general public. It specifically aims to
- Improve IAS monitoring with the help of the public to achieve rapid eradication of emerging invasive alien species and controlled control of more widespread species.
- Develop clear guidelines for prioritisation of actions.
- Develop a management strategy in a pilot area, and apply this strategy to aquatic plants and crayfish.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the actions undertaken.
- Promote the LIFE RIPARIAS approach in Belgium and elsewhere.
Find out more about LIFE RIPARIAS on the project website.
CONTRIBUTION TO PUBLICATIONS ON INVASIVE SPECIES
Our expert on invasive species, Dr Sonia Vanderhoeven, recently contributed to the following publications:
- Seven Recommendations to Make Your Invasive Alien Species Data More Useful (April 2017)
- Beyond protocols: improving the reliability of expert-based risk analysis underpinning invasive species policies (April 2017)
- Assessing the assessments: evaluation of four impact assessment protocols for invasive alien species (January 2017)
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
- Get informed on news related to the EU Regulation on IAS and on our activities at the Belgian level by registering to our IAS mailing list.
- Join our Community of Practice on IAS through our experts registry.
- Read our latest recommendations on IAS for scientists and for decision-makers.
- Get support for any question you may have on invasive species by contacting Dr Sonia Vanderhoeven, our expert on Invasive Species.