Eliminating damage from invasive species already costs eu countries more than 10 billion euros a year – but the worst is yet to come, researchers warn
The fact that a plant or animal species no longer lives in the place where it originated does not necessarily pose a problem. Germany’s fauna and flora also consists of many "foreign", which we have long since ceased to regard as such. Corn poppies and cornflowers are as much a part of the landscape as most crops, pears and plums, many grains, tomatoes and potatoes. Since the discovery of america, 12,000 plant species have been brought to central europe – after the romans had already brought countless species to our latitudes.
However, it sometimes happens that a newcomer copes better with the local environmental conditions than its long-established neighbors. In such a case it can happen that native species are displaced – this is called an invasive species. Although only a small percentage of new arrivals are able to take advantage of conditions (out of 1,000 new species, about 100 gain some prominence, ten are bred in, and only one becomes a problem), the phenomenon has become the second most important cause of biodiversity loss, right after habitat destruction.