"Invasive Species Costing World Billions A Year, UN Warns"

"From rats to fire ants, invasive creatures are threatening local ecosystems. Influenced by global trade and climate change, they are pushing native species to the brink."

"When fire ants escaped their home in Argentina and started travelling around the world, often via shipping containers, few would have imagined the damage that the displaced insect would cause.

From China and Japan to Australia and the United States, this venomous alien pushed out and sometimes killed native populations of animals and insects — including those that pollinate local plants, causing long-term changes to vegetation. The ant, which also eats and damages seeds, can severely impact crops and native ecosystems.  

Researchers say that fire ants prefer a warmer climate but are marching north into colder regions as the planet warms, laying waste to biodiversity along the way. Their spread has triggered costly eradication wars, but many have come too late.

The fire ant is symbolic of an unfolding crisis that is the focus of the Invasive Alien Species Assessment Report released today by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)."

Stuart Braun reports for DW September 4, 2023.

Source: DW, 09/07/2023