The Biodiversity Program, implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and funded by the European Union (EU), organized a regional workshop on invasive plant biosecurity from 27 to 29 September 2017, at University of Tampon, in Reunion Island.
The seminar, which was carried out in collaboration with the EpiBio-OI project (CIRAD) and the Invaz'Iles project (IUCN), enabled the experts to discuss the problem of invasive plants in the South Western Indian Ocean and to adopt a common position at regional level.
By the end of workshop, a regional list of priority invasive alien species (IAS) was validated to define common actions. Preliminary studies have identified over 400 invasive alien plants species in the region.
The dissemination of information, through the online availability of databases and regulatory texts, was also at the heart of the discussions. A better knowledge of IAS contributes to limit their dispersion in the region, by setting up a network of regional warning structures for early detection of a potential invasion.
At the end of the workshop, a code of good behaviour was agreed. This mainly concerns a regional resolution on the modalities of invasive plants importation or exportation.
Researchers, conservation actors working in the field of plant protection, as well as students and technicians from the agriculture and forestry sectors from Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Seychelles and Reunion Island, attended this seminar.
Since 2012, the WIONIS (Western Indian Ocean Invasive Species) network has been established to promote the management and prevention of biological invasions in the region. This network reunites more than 330 members from all over the world.
Biosecurity is the set of preventive measures and practices that aim to reduce the risk of a known or potential threat by a species.
In the field of agriculture, IAS can reduce yields. Ecologically, invasive species can cause loss of indigenous biodiversity and habitats, ecological niches, and changes in the floristic composition of an environment that may lead to long-term changes in the food chain.