FUZHOU: More than 20 alien species have invaded China over the past decade and the situation is set to get worse, scientists have said.
Guo Yuyuan, a researcher with the Institute of Plant Protection at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said China is one of the countries most affected by invasive species and has so far recorded more than 400.
Speaking at a recent symposium in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian Province, Guo, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that more than half of the 100 dangerous alien species listed by the World Conservation Union have been found in China.
Xie Lianhui, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the invasion of alien species is on the rise in China due to fast-growing foreign trade, and has brought about an increasing number of biological problems.
Wan Fanghao, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture, said some species have already caused disasters in the country.
The American white moth, for example, which is native to North America and first detected in Liaoning Province in 1979, is currently posing a threat to forests and crops in 116 counties of six provinces and municipalities including Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei and Liaoning, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).
The moths cause enormous damage to trees and crops and reproduce at a rapid rate, biologists with the SFA have said. A single female can produce up to 200 million offspring every year.
Zhu Lieke, vice-director of the SFA said at a forum in September that 32 alien species cause 56 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) worth of damage to China's forestry industry every year.
Harmful species damage 10.7 million hectares of forest annually, 20 percent of which is attributable to alien species, he said.
A total of 127 scientists from across the country attended the Fuzhou symposium where they signed the Fuzhou Accord, which calls for the establishment of a national society on alien species and enhanced cooperation with foreign counterparts.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, December 14, 2007)