SAFS in the News: Nations slated to be hit hardest by invasive species are the least prepared

SAFS professor Julian Olden is featured on the College of Environment’s news feed:

‘Security checks. Never-ending lines. Overpriced snacks. For many, time spent at the airport is often the low point of an otherwise enjoyable vacation.

But what’s often overlooked in those long lines and security check points are the other travelers that are unknowingly joining us.

As our vacations get off the ground, so do species that are native to our home regions — tiny insects and seeds that can travel on our clothes, shoes and luggage. Once we arrive at our destination, so do they. And, in that brief moment when we tell ourselves, “I could totally live here,” they’re already ahead of us, setting up camp and reproducing if conditions are suitable. The same happens when freight is shipped by air from one country to another; species can hitch a ride to a new destination.

Species that are native where we’re from pose a significant threat to ecosystems on the other side of the country or globe, where their naturally-occurring predators may not exist. This issue is already prevalent in many places, but in the coming years developing nations will be hit hardest by nonnative species invasions according to new research published this week in Nature Communications.

Scientists who worked on the study, including Josh Lawler and Julian Olden, College of the Environment faculty and co-founders of the UW Center for Creative Conservation, found that increasing air travel is the number one way invasive species are spreading into developing countries.’

Article and excerpt by Kelly Knickerbocker

Read the whole article here

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