So much for biodiversity!

Procambarus clarkii taken near a lake in Giron...

Red Swamp Crayfish: Image via Wikipedia

Spain is preparing to rid its shores of foreign species of plants and animals that are considered a danger to the ecosystem says The Telegraph.

Successful species which threaten weaker species but which are considered “foreign” are to be eliminated by human intervention – and all in the name of biodiversity!

An exhaustive list of non-native species has been targeted for control or eradication by Spain’s Environment Ministry to protect the country’s own flora and fauna.

The inventory of 168 “alien invaders” that were introduced accidentally or deliberately to the Iberian Peninsula and are now not welcome includes the American mink and raccoon, which found their way from commercial fur farms into Spain’s countryside where their population has boomed.

Other species have been introduced intentionally but are deemed a threat to native varieties. The Zebra Mussel and Red Swamp Crayfish have both been identified as causing serious harm to indigenous species and habitats and with causing “a negative impact on agricultural production”.

The Ruddy Duck, introduced to Europe as an ornamental species, is one of the worst culprits because of its aggressive courting behaviour and willingness to interbreed with endangered, native duck species.

Besides the impact on biodiversity and agriculture some species can also cause problems for human health.

The Asian Tiger mosquito originally native to areas of south-east Asia has in the last couple of decades invaded many countries because of increasing international travel and transport of goods. The insect is a vector for Chikungunya fever which can cause severe illness in humans. Invasive plants species, such as the Galenia pubescens and Water hyacinth are choking the sand dunes of southern Spain and clogging water courses.

But not all foreign species are considered a threat. The draft proposal includes a measure that will exempt from extermination those species considered beneficial to the environment. The Barbary Sheep, native to North Africa and introduced to a national park in Murcia, will be offered protection. Certain fish species, notably carp, pike and bass, will be restocked in the rivers Ebro and Tagus.

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3 Responses to “So much for biodiversity!”

  1. Stephen Klaber Says:

    Evolution is a harsh process. It runs on extinctions. Some threats are just perceptual. The Ruddy Duck’s breeding success is such. If it CAN interbreed with the other ducks, it is not really a separate species. Other invasive species, e.g. Water Hyacinth, are more serious. Water hyacinth is destroying many lakes in Africa. It is as destructive as the native Typha and Phragmites reeds. This is the center of the climate degradation problem. Invasive weeds (alien or native) clog the world’s waters, and inhibit their cooling effect. Weeds are all biomass. With a renewability that is simply felonious, their exploitation is the solution to fuel supply.

  2. MartinW Says:

    The intention to rid the area of alien species is to applauded. It is indeed a difficult task, but I am pleased a start is to be made.

    • ktwop Says:

      I am afraid I find such efforts hypocritical when they are labelled to be in the name of protecting biodiversity. The simple reality is that we tolerate species when we perceive a benefit and any species which by their own success threaten humans or human perceptions are considered “pests” and subject to extermination. But then – again in the name of protecting a meaningless “biodiversity”- ineffective and unsuccessful species are protected for nothing more than satisfying some fuzzy notions of aesthetics.

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