About

Invasive species are a global problem that cause economic, social, and environmental damage.

You are here: Home / About

A threat to economic growth and sustainable development

The global cost of invasive species is estimated at US$1.4 trillion per year – close to 5% of global gross domestic product. Invasives disproportionately affect vulnerable communities in poor rural areas, especially in developing countries which depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems, trade and tourism for their livelihoods. By destroying livelihoods, they undermine economic growth and contribute to economic migration.

The threat posed by invasive species is not limited to agriculture or biodiversity – they have a significant impact on almost all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The tomato leafminer can destroy up to 90% of harvests, wiping out farmers’ incomes

Up to 16% (US$96 billion worth) of the world’s rice, wheat, and maize is lost every year due to invasive species

Parthenium weed can cause dermatitis, respiratory problems and other health issues

Approximately 70% of school children leave school during peak weeding times to help control invasive plants

In Africa, 100 million women spend 20 billion hours weeding, an average of 200 hours per person per year

The long roots of Prosopis sap freshwater resources and increase water loss by three times

Aquatic weeds and invasive mussels choke hydroelectric schemes, affecting operations and increasing costs

Invasive species are estimated to cost the global economy over US$1.4 trillion

The tawny crazy ant impacts electrical systems, while Japanese knotweed can grow through concrete

Longer seasons and warmer weather are creating ideal conditions for highly adaptive invasive species to thrive, out-competing native fauna

Water hyacinth depletes underwater oxygen levels, killing fish, turtles and other aquatic animals

Invasive plants reduce native plant richness by up to 90%

The tomato leafminer can destroy up to 90% of harvests, wiping out farmers’ incomes

Up to 16% (US$96 billion worth) of the world’s rice, wheat, and maize is lost every year due to invasive species

Parthenium weed can cause dermatitis, respiratory problems and other health issues

Approximately 70% of school children leave school during peak weeding times to help control invasive plants

In Africa, 100 million women spend 20 billion hours weeding, an average of 200 hours per person per year

The long roots of Prosopis sap freshwater resources and increase water loss by three times

Aquatic weeds and invasive mussels choke hydroelectric schemes, affecting operations and increasing costs

Invasive species are estimated to cost the global economy over US$1.4 trillion

The tawny crazy ant impacts electrical systems, while Japanese knotweed can grow through concrete

Longer seasons and warmer weather are creating ideal conditions for highly adaptive invasive species to thrive, out-competing native fauna

Water hyacinth depletes underwater oxygen levels, killing fish, turtles and other aquatic animals

Invasive plants reduce native plant richness by up to 90%

A young boy surrounded by opuntia in northern Kenya

Invasive species are species whose introduction and spread threaten biological diversity or have other unforeseen impacts. Discover which species are posing a global threat, both in terms of biodiversity and the cost to economic activities such as agriculture, tourism, and development.

Invasive species disproportionately affect communities in poor rural areas; people who depend on natural resources and healthy ecosystems to make a living. Meet the people from around the world who are living with invasive species in their communities and discover their stories.

Two pastoralists sitting on a rock in northern Kenya
Parthenium Eradication.

Invasive species have major economic, social and environmental impacts. They reduce biodiversity, alter and degrade the environment, affect the productivity of agricultural ecosystems, and limit the ability of producers to access export markets - all of which hinders sustainable economic growth and development.

CABI

CABI is an international not-for-profit organisation that works to improve people’s lives worldwide by solving problems in agriculture and the environment. CABI’s work is delivered through dedicated teams and key partners in 49 countries across the globe.

Plantwise

Plantwise is a global programme led by CABI which aims to increase food security and improve rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. Through a network of plant clinics, Plantwise helps smallholder farmers lose less of what they grow to pests and diseases.