Invasive Alien Species (IAS) are no longer confined to Science Fiction novels and films. In real science, IAS are defined as any non-indigenous or non-native species that adversely affect the habitats and bioregions they invade economically, environmentally, and ecologically. They may include plants, animals or micro-organisms and may disrupt natural biodiversity by displacing native species and dominating a region, wilderness areas or particular habitats. The giant African snail is one well-known IAS, but there are others which have either invaded our local ecosystem or threaten to do so as they have done in other neighbouring islands.
As a result, Government, as part of a co-ordinated effort lead by the Research Division, Ministry of Food Production, in collaboration with other local agencies and the Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International, Caribbean and Central America (CABI CCA) has been working to raise the awareness of other IAS and educate citizens on how they can assist in their prevention and management.
At the EMA’s Green Lifestyle Show, hosted in commemoration of World Environment Day, held on June 10 at the Trinidad Hilton, members of the co-ordinating team of the UNEP GEF IAS Project informed over 300 visitors to their booth about three other major IAS, two of which have impacted ecosystems in T&T—the Red Palm Mite, Green Mussels and the Frosty Pod Rot.
The team will be continuing a nationwide IAS education campaign.
• For more information and to volunteer to be a part of the initiative, contact the co-ordinating office at 642-9217; visit www.ciasnet.org or like our page on facebook – Mitigating the threat of Invasives Alien Species in the Insular Caribbean.