The new ‘German-Austrian Black List Information System’ for assessing the environmental risks of invasive alien species
The German-Austrian Black List Information System (GABLIS) has been developed as a generic risk assessment tool for invasive alien species in Germany and Austria, and is applicable to all groups of organisms. The methodology has so far been tested for fish, vascular plants, mammals, birds and macrozoobenthic species. GABLIS is a risk assessment system that evaluates the impact of alien species on native biodiversity based on a set of criteria:
- General information: systematics and nomenclature, habitat, status (established, casual, absent or unknown), native region, introduction (deliberate, non-deliberate, unknown), pathways (trade in forestry, horticulture, etc.), first introduction, first record.
- Main criteria - risks to biodiversity: Inter-specific competition, predation and herbivory, hybridization, transfer of pathogens or organisms, negative effects on ecosystem functioning.
- Additional criteria: current distribution, emergency measures, biological-ecological criteria (occurrence in natural, semi-natural or other environments of high value, reproductive capacity, spread capacity, current spread history, monopolization of resources, facilitation by climate change).
- Additional information: other impacts (negative economic effects, positive economic effects, negative effects on human health), knowledge gaps and research needs, references, assessment and evaluation).
These criteria are used to assign IAS to three main list categories: White List, Grey List, and Black List. The assessment procedure requires a sound knowledge of the biology of the alien species assessed, and takes into account available management options. The list categories are defined in a way that uncertainties and lack of data can be taken into account. The source of data used for the assessments has to be provided. Testing GABLIS has shown that assessing an alien species takes on average 4 to 8 hours. In addition, clear definitions of these criteria and the involvement of a group of experts allowed for a robust consensus in the assessments.
When assessments of more taxonomic groups using GABLIS will be available, comparison with other risk assessment systems used in Europe would allow their respective advantages and weaknesses to be evaluated.
Essl F, Nehring S, Klingenstein F, Milasowszky N, Nowack C, Rabitsch W (2011) Review of risk assessment systems of IAS in Europe and introducing the German-Austrian Black List Information System (GABLIS). Journal for Nature Conservation 19, 339-350.