Newly established invasive alien species indicator: data sources and methods, chapter 2

2. Description and rationale of the Newly Established Invasive Alien Species in Canada indicator

2.1 Description

The main indicator is the number of invasive alien species found to be newly established in Canada, reported by year of establishment and regulatory status. This provides a preliminary indication of the potential harmful consequences of new arrivals. Species are deemed to be established when they are successfully reproducing in Canada and any eradication efforts have been abandoned. Should a new invasive alien species be found to have established, its federal regulatory status (whether that species was regulated or unregulated, as well as whether the pathway of invasion was regulated, unregulated, or unknown) will be reported. It should be noted that some pathways cannot be controlled, particularly if species arrive as a function of natural spread.

The proportion of regulated species that have not established in Canada is a partial measure of regulatory success. For the purposes of this indicator, species are considered regulated only if regulatory measures are national in scope.Footnote [1] Regulation of potentially invasive species is intended to prevent their introduction and establishment in Canada. Species are added to the list of regulated species based on an analysis of risk. Positive actions are taken to exclude these species from Canada, including, for example, requirements for inspections of goods before shipping or for the application of pest-control measures before shipments are allowed into Canada.

Both indicators report on species establishment since January 2012. With the implementation of the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy 2010-2013, this type of information began to be collected consistently across multiple programs, allowing information to be combined for the first time into a single indicator despite the varying approaches used to control different groups of invasive alien species.

2.2 Rationale

Invasive alien species are a significant threat to biodiversity. In their new ecosystems, they become predators, competitors, parasites, hybridizers, and diseases of our native and domesticated plants and animals.

The expansion of global links through trade and travel increases the risk of invasive species being introduced. The number of new invasive species arriving from foreign countries and establishing in Canada is one measure of our effectiveness in minimizing the potential damage from these species. The regulatory status of these species and their arrival pathways provide information on what weaknesses in risk management need to be addressed.

2.3 Recent changes to the indicator

Five species were regulated for the first time in 2015, four under the Aquatic Invasive Species Regulations and one under the Plant Protection Act. In previous indicator reports, Bluetongue and Chinese mitten crab were erroneously reported as established before 2012; this has been corrected.

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