Invasive alien species and local communities in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes: A systematic review and analysis

In Environmental Science and Policy
Volume (Issue): 112
Peer-reviewed Article

Effective management of invasive alien species (IAS) requires comprehensive stakeholder engagement and a clear understanding of how people interact with these species. Such interactions are particularly complex in socio-ecological production landscapes and seascapes (SEPLS), where local communities and their environment are highly inter-dependent. We reviewed the scientific literature to determine current views of the positive and negative effects of IAS on local communities in SEPLS, with the goals of better understanding interactions between people and IAS, and devising effective management strategies. Of the 105 IAS investigated in the 57 journal papers we found on the topic, 31 species were reported as being purely undesirable for the local communities, while 30 species were reported as purely desirable, and 44 species were both undesirable and desirable. We found that the instrumental value of IAS often constitutes these desirable effects, and that desirable IAS were likely to invite controversy among stakeholders over its management. A common compromise to address such conflicts was to work with stakeholders for the containment of the IAS, while at the same time to retain or amplify its desirable effects on people to ensure their involvement. In the long-run, however, IAS management in SEPLS cannot be exempted from the need for long-term goals and the strategy leading toward them. Such a strategy should devise practical tools, such as stringent risk assessment and black- and white-listing as well as an option to eradicate or replace highly invasive species that fully takes into account different perspectives about IAS.