A global indicator for biological invasion

Melodie A. McGeoch, Steven L. Chown, Jesse M Kalwij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


"Trends in invasive alien species" is one of only two indicators of threat to biodiversity that form part of the Convention on Biological Diversity's (CBD) framework for monitoring progress toward its "2010 target" (i.e., the commitment to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss). To date, however, there is no fully developed indicator for invasive alien species (IAS) that combines trends, derived from a standard set of methods, across species groups, ecosystems, and regions. Here we provide a rationale for the form and characteristics of an indicator of trends in IAS that will meet the 2010 framework goal and targets for this indicator. We suggest single and composite indicators that include problem-status and management-status measures that are designed to be flexible, readily disaggregated, and as far as possible draw on existing data. The single indicators at national and global scales are number of IAS and numbers of operational management plans for IAS. Global trends in IAS are measured as the progress of nations toward the targets of stabilizing IAS numbers and the implementation of IAS management plans. The proposed global indicator thus represents a minimum information set that most directly addresses the indicator objective and simultaneously aims to maximize national participation. This global indicator now requires testing to assess its accuracy, sensitivity, and tractability. Although it may not be possible to achieve the desired objective for a global indicator of biological invasion by 2010 as comprehensively as desired, it seems possible to obtain trend estimates for a component of the taxa, ecosystems, and regions involved. Importantly, current indicator development initiatives will also contribute to developing the mechanisms necessary for monitoring global trends in IAS beyond 2010.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1646
Number of pages12
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Biodiversity indicators
  • Biodiversity monitoring
  • Convention on biological diversity
  • Invasive alien species
  • Species management

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