, Volume 15, Issue 8, pp 2829-2852
Date: 25 Mar 2006

The Importance of Stakeholder Engagement in Invasive Species Management: A Cross-jurisdictional Perspective in Ireland

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The management of invasive non-native species is a frequent cause of conflict in the field of biodiversity conservation because perceptions of their costs and benefits differ among stakeholder groups. A lack of cohesion between scientific researchers, the commercial sector and policy makers lies at the root of a widespread failure to develop and implement sustainable management practices for invasive species. The crisis of this situation is intensified by drivers stemming from international conventions and directives to address invasive species issues. There are further direct conflicts between legislative instruments promoting biodiversity conservation on the one hand while liberalizing trade at the national, European and global level on the other. The island of Ireland provides graphic illustration of the importance of cross-jurisdictional approaches to biological invasions. Using primarily Irish examples in this review, we emphasize the importance of approaching risk assessment, risk reduction and control or eradication policies from a cost-efficient, highly flexible perspective, incorporating linkages between environmental, economic and social objectives. The need for consolidated policies between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is particularly acute, though few model cross-border mechanisms for such consolidation are available. The importance of engaging affected stakeholders through positive interactions is discussed with regard to reducing the currently fragmented nature of invasive species management between the two jurisdictions.