March 22, 2001
Davis Declaration Calls for Action On Invasive Species
A recent conference at UC Davis of invasive-species experts produced a call for a stepped-up international effort to combat invasive plants and animals. Last week, representatives of the U.S. Invasive Species Council presented that proposal to an international meeting in Montreal.
The proposal, named the Davis Declaration, calls for international treaty organizations and the science agencies of developed nations to invest in developing nations to prevent the export of invasive species. Such investments could pay for themselves many times over; invasive species are thought to cost over $130 billion per year in the United States alone in terms of crop losses, weeds and diseases, damage to rare habitats and species, and threats to rivers, lakes and water supplies.
"We need to anticipate which new species will arrive and get away from us," said James Quinn, a UC Davis professor of environmental science and policy and an organizer of the recent UC Davis conference. "The best source of that information is what the same species do in other countries. Small investments in poorer countries' labs and museums would let us work together to collect, standardize and share that knowledge."
Quinn is co-director of the Information Center for the Environment (ICE). ICE-Davis programmers have created a number of species database systems for international, national and state park services and other public agencies.
The group that met in Montreal on March 12-16 is an advisory body to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.