The proliferation of alien species deprived the global economy of about $ 1.3 trillion

(ORDO NEWS) — Environmentalists have found that over the past half century, the spread of invasive species of animals and plants has deprived the world economy of about $ 1.3 trillion. The research results were published in the scientific journal Nature.

“These losses continue to grow – over the past ten years, the negative” contribution “of invasive species to the world economy has increased by about three times. If we take the data for 2017 alone, then this figure exceeds the GDP of 50 African countries at once, as well as 20 times higher than the total budget of the WHO and the UN”, – said one of the authors of the study, a researcher at the University of Paris Christophe Diane.

Invasive species are those that have spread to a particular area due to human activities. They became one of the main problems for the planet several decades ago.

In particular, the penetration of Brazilian fire ants into the United States in the middle of the last century led to the fact that several species of snails disappeared from the face of the Earth, and the number of other species of invertebrates and even mammals has significantly decreased. In turn, the African fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, which penetrated Europe, America and Asia, has destroyed 90 amphibian species over the past two decades.

For the first time, Diane and his colleagues comprehensively studied how strongly the spread of invasive species of animals and plants, as well as the fight against them, influenced the development and state of the entire world economy as a whole.

To do this, the researchers examined data collected by environmentalists from around the world between 1970 and 2017 while observing how the emergence of invasive species affected local flora and fauna, as well as the well-being of residents of these regions. This allowed them to calculate the total “contribution” of invasive species of animals and plants to the world economy, as well as to identify those of their representatives, whose distribution across the Earth most strongly influenced human life and the state of ecosystems.

In total, migrations of invasive flora and fauna have deprived the global economy of about US $ 1.28 trillion, with most of these losses occurring in the past two decades, when annual losses have risen sharply. In particular, in 2017, such environmental problems cost humanity 160 million US dollars, while the average for all 50 years of observations was about 28 million.

A significant share of these losses, as scientists have found, accounted for only ten species of invasive animals, each of which deprived the world economy of several tens to several hundred billions of dollars. These include the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that spread malaria and Zika, common mice and cats, as well as Taiwanese termites and Brazilian fire ants.

Diane and his colleagues hope that their assessments will attract the attention of UN diplomats and politicians in those countries whose economies have been hardest hit by invasive species of animals and plants, and will force them to actively fight against such environmental problems, the severity of which will continue to grow rapidly in the coming years. as a result of the increased intensity of international trade.

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