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China one of worst victims of damage by invasive species

Global Times (2013-10-25 P04)
By Global Times – Xinhua
China has become one of the countries that suffer most from the damage brought by invasive species, which amounted to 544 kinds according to figures revealed by the second International Congress on Biological Invasions (ICBI) Wednesday.

Experts at the congress said that biological invasion has seriously damaged crops, land, environment and human health, as well as disrupted the ecological balance, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature compiled a list of the 100 most dangerous invasive species. Half of them already exist in China, said Wan Fanghao, a professor with the Institute of Plant Protection at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

Preliminary research showed that 13 of the worst pests are found in China, including the pine wood nematode, which has caused an economic loss of over 5 billion yuan ($822 million) every year, said Zhou Changyong, vice president of Southwest University. He added that in each of the last 10 years, at least one new invasive species has been detected in China,

The introduced species usually enjoy a fast reproduction rate due to the absence of predators and low survival requirements, which make their population hard to control, Xie Yan, founder of the China Species Information System, told the Global Times earlier.

Zhou noted that biological invasion also set barriers for international trading of agricultural products, as many invasive pests were attached to crops and were unconsciously imported to China.

A fundamental way to prevent biological invasion, some experts reached in the congress, is to establish a global network to jointly prevent and control the transportation of them.

Some of the species were introduced by some governments for good purposes.

Water hyacinth was used by the Kunming government to improve the water quality of Dianchi Lake in 2011. But the hyacinth reproduced so fast that it soon filled the lake and blocked rivers, the Global Times reported earlier.

Global Times - Xinhua

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