Eradications of invasive alien species in Europe: a review


The paper summarised here reviews all the known cases of eradications of invasive alien species of plants and animals successfully completed in Europe.

A review was undertaken of available literature, including scientific publications, conference proceedings and national reports to the Bern Convention. Information was also obtained directly from specialists, managers and NGOs.

A total of 37 eradication programmes successfully completed in Europe were identified, most were carried out after the 1980s (n = 31; 84%). These included: the removal of coypu Myocastor coypus and muskrat Ondatra zybethicus from Great Britain; and of rats Rattus spp., feral goats Capra hircus, European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus and American mink Mustela vison from several small islands of Macaronesia, Mediterranean, Brittany, Britain and the Baltic Sea.

Thirty-three eradications were carried out on islands and four on the mainland (i.e. muskrat, coypu and Indian porcupine Hystrix brachyura in the British Isles; Canadian beaver Castor canadensis in France). Rats (mostly Rattus norvegicus but also R.rattus) were the most common target (n = 25, 67%), followed by European rabbit (n = 4). In terms of conservation benefits, available evidence suggests that these eradications in many cases led to a significant recovery of native biodiversity.

No successful eradications of alien invertebrates or marine organisms in the region were identified. Some very localized invasive plant eradications have been undertaken, but the author could not locate information pertaining to these cases.

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