Invasive species in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies


Invasive non-native species are a major cause of biodiversity loss globally; there impacts are often most severe on the island environments typical of our Overseas Territories (Cheesman et al 2003). Species on such islands are often vulnerable to the impacts of non-native species because of their previous isolation from predators, diseases or competitors. Indeed, the majority (72%) of global extinctions since 1500 have occurred on islands and, for example, 67% of threatened birds on oceanic islands are threatened by invasive alien species compared to only 8% on continents (Baillie et al 2004). Invasive species are also thought to be responsible for the extinction of at least 65 bird species, more than any other known factor (Baillie et al 2004).


The Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies of the United Kingdom are comprised mostly of island environments (Procter and Fleming 1999) and are notable for their numbers of endemic and globally threatened species (more than occur in metropolitan UK). Problems with invasive non-native species are apparent in many of the Territories. There are a number of organisations who are working to try to resolve the problems that non-native species are causing in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies.


JNCC's work on non-native species in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies

JNCC has been involved in non-native species work in the UK Overseas Territories since it was identified as a priority in a workshop session at the UKOT Conference in Bermuda in March 2003. JNCC's work on non-native species in the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies includes:



  • 2010-2013: Following on from a regional lionfish project funded during the International year of Biodiversity, JNCC has worked with the UKOTs on developing a strategy and tools for lionfish management in the Caribbean.


  • 2010/11: For the International Year of Biodiversity, JNCC managed a suite of invasive species projects across the UK Overseas Territories, which were funded by Defra.


  • 2009: Updating the UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies non-natives database, and coordinating a UKOT non-natives workshop.




Fera's free invertebrate Identification Service for UK Overseas Territories.

Entomologists at The Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) are conducting a Defra funded project to provide a free Invertebrate Pest Identification Service for government authorities and conservation bodies in the UKOTs.


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