Invasive Species

The designation of geographical entities in this book, and the presentation of the material, do not imply

It may be possible to tell that a species is likely to be invasive, for example because it has been a problem elsewhere. However it will be difficult to say with certainty that a

Early settlers brought in animals (e.g. cattle, pigs, goats, cats, chickens and dogs) for food, pets and hunters for their survivals. Some of the animals were not well managed that they become wild (feral) and become problems. Feral pigs, cattle, goats tramp and graze on forest plants and garden crops that may result in desertification in some areas. Their manure deposits in water cause algal growth that makes water bodies look dirty. Feral and domesticated cats and dogs kill native birds, reptiles and insects, which leads to great loss of native wild life throughout the islands.

Many countries are currently looking at growing high-yielding crops for the production of biofuels as alternatives to traditional fuels (petrol and diesel) to address imminent energy shortages and reduce impacts of climate change. This usually involves the importation of foreign (i.e., alien) species of plants that are known for their fast and productive growth.

The effects of alien invasive species on biodiversity have been described as “immense, insidious and usually irreversible” (IUCN 2000). There is no doubt that invasive species can cause severe economic and ecological damage (Mack et al. 2000). They may soon surpass habitat loss as the main cause of ecological disintegration globally (Vitousek et al. 1997, Chapin et al. 2000) and are probably already the main cause of extinctions in island ecosystems.

Many governments are actively encouraging private investment in biofuels developments to harness the perceived benefits of biofuels such as agricultural development, increased energy security and independence, improved balance of trade and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, in the rush to pursue the benefits of biofuels, the risks of invasion by introduced species have received little or no attention and are not being adequately prevented or managed. The situation is most acute in countries lacking the capacity and resources to adequately avoid and manage the risks of invasion.

Invasive species (non-native, harmful organisms) undermine human health and safety, food and water security, and economic development. Consequently, invasive species can have significant socio-economic impacts and warrant attention as a public policy priority. Trade and travel are the primary drivers of biological invasion both into and within the United States and prevention measures have been identified as the most cost-effective means of minimizing the introduction and thus impact of invasive species.

Pacific island nations are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate. Cyclones and severe flooding have hit Yap, Niue and Fiji recently. Air temperature, the number of cyclones and sea level are all predicted to rise, and changes in rainfall are also predicted across the Pacific (1). Forces driving climate change are beyond the control of island nations. Pacific islands, while constituting 0.12 per cent of the world’s population, release only 0.003 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide from fuel combustion (2) .