Environmental Management

, Volume 50, Issue 6, pp 979–981 | Cite as

The Tens Rule in Invasion Biology: Measure of a True Impact or Our Lack of Knowledge and Understanding?

  • I. Jarić
  • G. Cvijanović


The Tens Rule, as well as the last stage described therein, i.e., the proportion of established species that becomes pests, is frequently perceived by the scientific community to indicate that introduced established species have little impact on communities. This belief is dangerous because it strengthens the perspective of the general public and decision makers that the risks of species introductions are largely overestimated. It is often difficult to detect the actual negative impact of an introduced established species. It might be less apparent or indirect; it might be delayed or masked by the “noise” caused by other anthropogenic disturbances. It is also likely that numerous ecological interactions are still not detected or properly understood. Therefore, the ten-percent rule might be more of an indicator of our lack of understanding of the impacts that established introduced species produce than the actual ratio of such species that produces negative impacts. In such a state of affairs, adopting the precautionary principle is crucial. The scientific community must be much more cautious and responsible regarding the message it delivers to the general public and management authorities.


Introduced Invasive Exotic Pest Tens Rule 



The authors acknowledge the support by Project No. 173045 funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of Republic Serbia. The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for providing helpful comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Multidisciplinary ResearchUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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