Invasive Species

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.

Invasive alien species are recognised as one of the leading threats to biodiversity and also impose enormous costs on agriculture, forestry, fisheries, and other human enterprises, as well as on human health. Rapidly accelerating human trade, tourism, transport, and travel over the past century have dramatically enhanced the spread of invasive species, allowing them to surmount natural geographic barriers. Not all non-indigenous species are harmful. In fact the majority of species used in agriculture, forestry and fisheries are alien species.

The Pacific is biologically unique, as its isolated islands provide ideal conditions for the evolution of new species. Thus, Pacific islands have high numbers of "endemic"species - species that are restricted to only one or a few islands and found nowhere else in the world.

As we experienced with the Taro Leaf Blight outbreak in the 1990s, the introduction of exotic pests or diseases into Samoa can have disasterous effects on our people and on our economy.