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Alien Species – a Discourse:

How do we deal with introduced species – and how do we want to deal with them in the future?

Coypu (Myocastor coypus) Photo © ITAW

Alien species are animal species that are not native to their current habitat, having been introduced through immigration or imports. Some of these species can directly or indirectly effect biodiversity –by displacing native species, for example. In the field of nature conservation, such species are classified as invasive.
In order to protect native biodiversity and ecosystems, the European Union enacted a regulation (EO Regulation No. 1143/2014), which introduced a tiered system of early warning, prevention and immediate elimination of previously-introduced invasive populations. Furthermore, the decree also regulates the criteria according to which species are classified as invasive. This classification system produced the so-called „union list“, which details 66 invasive species in Germany. Among these species is the coypu, or nutria, a rodent from South America.
Interaction with invasive alien species presents an immense challenge for conservation, species protection and animal welfare.

Using the example of nutria in Germany, the scientists of the Institute for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife Research Hanover (ITAW) will discuss the issue of invasive species with various interest groups. The aim of this project is to shed light on society´s attitudes towards alien species and to contextualise them more precisely. The central question is: How do we deal with introduced species, and how do we want to deal with them in the future? In the beginning, there will be a kick-off event to which the scientists invite the various interest groups. Each group will be asked to present their point of view. Over the course of the project, the researchers will then interview the interest groups and use the results to create an impulse paper that they will present to, and discuss with, all groups at a closing event.

The project is funded by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture in the funding line Future Discourses.

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