Biological Invasions

, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1869–1883 | Cite as

Harmonia + and Pandora +: risk screening tools for potentially invasive plants, animals and their pathogens

  • Bram D’hondt
  • Sonia Vanderhoeven
  • Sophie Roelandt
  • François Mayer
  • Veerle Versteirt
  • Tim Adriaens
  • Els Ducheyne
  • Gilles San Martin
  • Jean-Claude Grégoire
  • Iris Stiers
  • Sophie Quoilin
  • Julien Cigar
  • André Heughebaert
  • Etienne BranquartEmail author
Original Paper


Given the large number of alien species that may potentially develop into invasives, there is a clear need for robust schemes that allow to screen species for such risks. The Harmonia + framework presented here brings together 30 questions that refer to distinct components of invasion. Together, they cover the stages of introduction, establishment, spread, and multiple kinds of impacts, viz. referring to the health of the environment (including wild species), cultivated plants, domesticated animals and man. In a complete assessment, input is provided by choosing among predefined ordinal answers and by supplementing these with textual clarification. Uncertainty is covered by indicating levels of confidence. By converting answers into scores, which are then condensed into summary statistics, Harmonia + allows for quantitative output on stage-specific and general risks. Test assessments on five species emerging in Belgium showed the perceived environmental risks of Procambarus clarkii to be highest (0.72), and that of Threskiornis aethiopicus to be lowest (0.13). Given the considerable parallels that exist between invasive alien species and emerging infectious diseases, we additionally created Pandora, which is a risk analysis scheme for pathogens and parasites. It consists of 13 key questions and has the same structure as Harmonia +. Since diseases play a paramount role in biological invasions, results of Pandora assessments may feed into Harmonia + through a slightly adapted, host-specific version named Pandora +. Harmonia +, Pandora and Pandora + may be used both for prioritization purposes and for underpinning detailed risk analyses, and can be consulted online through


Risk screening Risk assessment Horizon scanning ISEIA Zoonoses Prioritisation 



We wish to sincerely thank all members of the risk analysis panel, scientific panel and end-user committee for their help in realizing Harmonia +/Pandora (+) . This work was funded by the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO contract SD/CL/011).

Supplementary material

10530_2015_843_MOESM1_ESM.doc (4.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 5062 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bram D’hondt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sonia Vanderhoeven
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sophie Roelandt
    • 4
  • François Mayer
    • 5
  • Veerle Versteirt
    • 6
  • Tim Adriaens
    • 2
  • Els Ducheyne
    • 6
  • Gilles San Martin
    • 7
  • Jean-Claude Grégoire
    • 5
  • Iris Stiers
    • 8
  • Sophie Quoilin
    • 9
  • Julien Cigar
    • 1
  • André Heughebaert
    • 1
  • Etienne Branquart
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Belgian Biodiversity PlatformBelgian Science Policy OfficeBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Research Institute for Nature and ForestBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Département d’Étude du Milieu Naturel et AgricoleService Public de WallonieGemblouxBelgium
  4. 4.Veterinary and Agrochemical Research CentreBrusselsBelgium
  5. 5.Biological Control and Spatial EcologyUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Avia-GIS, Precision Pest Management UnitZoerselBelgium
  7. 7.Walloon Agricultural Research CentreGemblouxBelgium
  8. 8.Plant Biology and Nature ManagementVrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  9. 9.Belgian Scientific Institute for Public HealthBrusselsBelgium

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