In order to meet the challenge posed by invasive alien species (IAS) and know the risks that they pose to biodiversity, it is imperative to precisely know the biology of the animal or the plant and its ability to settle in Belgium.
Evaluation of the risks
Risk evaluations are carried out at national scale by the Member States that wish to have a species included on the list of Union concern. These scientific analyses enable determination of the exact risk that the animal or the plant poses for national biodiversity. They can also look at the risks for the economy and public and/or animal health at national level.
These analyses are first examined at European level by scientists from the Member States together in the European Scientific Forum on Invasive Alien Species created by the Regulation.
Then, they are examined at the political level by the Member States together at the European Committee of Invasive Alien Species that decides to include them (or not) in the list of species having been the subject of risks evaluation.
DG Environment of the FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment, in cooperation with the Regions, has participated in the risk assessment of several species. Certain assessments have been proposed at European level for addition in the list of species of Union concern.
At a purely scientific level, the Belgian Forum on Invasive Species is an informal group the aim of which is to collect various scientific data about the IAS. Its website, which is managed by the Belgian platform on biodiversity, is packed with information. Thus, there we can find a list of 101 invasive alien species in Belgium, since 1500 and the discovery of America as well as their status (settled, generally settled or isolated). Here we can also access the Harmonia database that highlights the black list of the most threatening species.
The Forum is also the contact point for the group of experts on IAS from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).
The DAISIE project
Scientific data is available for the European level, specifically through the DAISIE project that was financially supported by the European Commission. On the DAISIE web site, one can find various data on the IAS in Europe, the relevant regions as well as on experts specialising in the IAS.