Biodiversity decline is attributed to multiple anthropogenic threats and pressures, including the impacts of invasive species . Given there is no evidence that species invasions are slowing , the impacts of invasions are predicted to increase without management . Successful protection of biodiversity requires measures to mitigate the threat of impacts that species invasions pose. Emerging invasive species are best managed by preventative actions including biosecurity and pathway management and eradication measures (e.g. Asian Hornet). Established invasive species are typically managed by impact mitigation, containment or control measures (e.g. American mink) and in some cases complete removal (e.g. Ruddy Duck).
Removal of known impacts and the restoration of ecosystems can be easier to evaluate than assessing the potential impacts avoided by preventative measures. For example, it was possible to attribute the conservation success of avoiding species extinctions to removal of established invasive species  but there is little evidence to help inform the benefits of taking preventative action. From the decision makers perspective, the value of taking preventative action must outweigh the potential long-term impacts of inaction. Full assessment of the success of abatement measures requires prediction of the scale of impact that would have occurred without management action. Making informed decisions about the most appropriate management action to abate future impacts needs nuanced justification through demonstration of biodiversity benefits in terms of impacts avoided on ecosystem function. Predictive modelling approaches are needed to assess how preventative management action results in “bending the curve” of invasive species accumulations and a resultant reduction in ecosystem impacts.
Horizon scanning through expert elicitation has identified the most likely invaders into Europe, potential pathways of arrival and spread and potential preventative or control actions to minimise impact . Yet to model future spread and impacts avoided on ecosystem functions, specific points of incursion in time and space need to be predicted. Climatic and habitat models can combine known species-environment relationships and behaviours such as dispersal to predict likely spread and area of impact in the invaded region. Our understanding of changes in species impacts in time and space is limited but can be incorporated into models to improve our knowledge of how the trajectory of both species accumulation rates and scale of impacts can be changed through management.
This research has three main aims to improve our knowledge of the link between future species invasions and potential environmental impact mitigation.
1. Assess evidence for INNS impacts on threatened native species and their associated ecosystem functions.
2. Develop predictive models of species likely entry and spread for a range of taxa to be used as a framework for further species assessments, incorporating natural and human mediated dispersal processes.
3. Develop species and taxa level indicators for abatement through different preventative and control actions, including area based, speed of spread and impacts avoided on ecosystem functions.
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