Home / News Type Content Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
Exotic Animals, Plants Pose Threat
Adjust font size:

Imported plants and animals that have proliferated in China cost the country nearly 120 billion yuan (US$14.5 billion) every year.

Called alien invasive species, they are brought in from abroad only to end up harming local ecosystems, threaten native species and lead to the loss of local biodiversity.

The problem has caught the eye of the State Environmental Protection Administration and the Ministry of Science and Technology. Together, they are drafting a law on biological security to address the problem.

One example is the water hyacinth, introduced from South America in the 1950s as pig feed, said Xu Haigen, director of the Division of Nature Conservation and Biodiversity of the Nanjing Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Later, as people started using other feed they stopped feeding pigs with water hyacinth.

However, the species reproduced rapidly and spread in provinces such as south China's Guangdong and east China's Jiangsu and Fujian.

The plant covers the water surface, it fights off other water plants and organisms and damages local ecosystems.

Local governments have invested large sums of money to get rid of water hyacinth but all their efforts have failed, according to Xu.

A national survey conducted in 2001 and last year found 283 alien invasive species in the country, ranging from terricolous plants to reptiles and microorganisms.

Nearly 40 percent of them were considered useful and deliberately introduced, only to prove disastrous for local ecosystems and species.

About 49 percent entered the country accidentally, traveling on products traded internationally. They then developed wildly.

According to the survey, headed by Xu and experts from ministries such as the State Environmental Protection Administration, the Ministry of Agriculture and the State Forestry Administration, alien invasive species cause direct economic losses of nearly 20 billion yuan (US$2.4 billion) every year.

Direct economic losses are losses in sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fishery. Indirect losses, including damage to ecosystems and species resources in the country, total 100 billion (US$12 billion) yuan every year, he said.

"Many people in the country lack sufficient knowledge about the impact of alien species on ecosystems and the environment and therefore pay no attention to the problem," said Xu, who on Friday in Beijing attended an experts' forum on biodiversity.

Xu proposed a number of steps, including a law on biological safety, strengthening risk assessment capacity, more research on the control of alien invasive species, and raising public awareness.

(China Daily May 22, 2004)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- China: Alien Species Intrusion, Alarm for Beijing's Eco-Environment
- Watch out for Alien Species
- Alert Sounds for Alien Species Intrusion
- Alien Species Threaten Nation's Environment
Most Viewed >>
- World's longest sea-spanning bridge to open
- Yao out for season with stress fracture in left foot
- 141 seriously polluting products blacklisted
- China starts excavation for world's first 3G nuclear plant
- Irresponsible remarks on Hu Jia case opposed 
- 'The China Riddle'
- China, US agree to step up constructive,cooperative relations
- FIT World Congress: translators on track
- Christianity popular in Tang Dynasty
- Factory fire kills 15, injures 3 in Shenzhen

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys