Foundations-Building Capacity

Invasive alien species represent an insidious and pervasive threat to the environmental, economic and human well-being of the Pacific islands. Pacific island ecosystems make up one of the world’s important biodiversity hotspots, with high numbers of endemic species that are particularly vulnerable to extinction due to their limited habitat and isolation.

The Indian, or common, myna, Acridotheres tristis (Sturnidae: Passeriformes: Aves) was introduced throughout New Zealand in the 1870?s by locals and Acclimatisation Societies (Bull et al., 1985). Birds subsequently established in most of the North Island, with high densities present in the urban and suburban areas. Common mynas continue to flourish in the northern and central North Island, and are usually more abundant than most native birds in gardens and parks (LCR, 2008)

The importance of natural resources to the economy of the Pacific island region cannot be overstated. Island communities have unsurprisingly relied heavily on ocean resources for sustenance and economic activities, such as fishing and transport. Land-based resources are also vital at subsistence level, and are providing increasing development opportunities, for example through forestry and mineral mining.

The intentional and unintentional transfer of species from one water body to another around the world has boomed in recent decades. Many seas and regions have been invaded by a high number of non-native species. Some of these species thrive in their new habitats, out-competing native species and changing

Pacilic island countries are particularly vulnerable to the effects of invasive species. After habitat destruction or modification, invasive species are responsible for more species extinctions than any other cause. Further, the rate of extinction of native species has been higher on islands than anywhere else in the world. Invasive species have also degraded native ecosystems.