European report on attitudes towards biodiversity and invasive alien species
The European Commission, Directorate-General for Environment, has just published a new Eurobarometer report on ‘Attitudes towards biodiversity’ which includes an analysis of the attitude of Europeans toward alien species. The report shows the results of a survey carried out on behalf of the European Commission, DG Environment, by targeting some 25;537 respondents from different social and demographic groups in the 28 Member States of the European Union in June 2013.
In relation to the IAS issues, the results of the survey highlight that 78% Europeans think that plants and animals introduced into our ecosystems threaten biodiversity. In more detail, a third of respondents think that plants and animals introduced into our ecosystems (34%) threaten biodiversity very much, while 44% think that plants and animals introduced into our ecosystems threaten biodiversity to some extent. Biological invasions are definitely perceived as a less important threat compared to pollution of air and water (considered as a threat by 96% of respondents), man-made disasters (96%), intensive farming, deforestation and over-fishing (94%), climate change (91%), and conversion of natural areas to other uses (91%).
Europeans are less likely to see plants and animals that are introduced into our ecosystems as a threat to biodiversity, but the majority of respondents in all EU Member States still view the introduction of plants and animals as a threat. Respondents are most likely to view newly introduced plants and animals as very much of a threat to biodiversity in Spain (52%), Portugal (43%) and Slovenia (42%), and are least likely to do so in Finland and the Netherlands (both 20%).
Europeans aged 15-24 are less likely to consider plants and animals that have been introduced into their ecosystems to be very much a threat (25%) than 25-39 year-olds, those aged 55 or older (both 35%) and those aged 40-54 (38%).
European Commission, Flash Eurobarometer reports. http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/flash_arch_390_375_en.htm