Use of Non-native Species for Poverty Alleviation in Developing Economies

  • Arne B. R. WittEmail author
Part of the Invading Nature - Springer Series in Invasion Ecology book series (INNA, volume 12)


For decades, development agencies, donors, and others have worked to improve the social and economic reality of people living in the developing world through inputs into the agricultural and fisheries sectors. To improve agricultural production and stem land degradation, often brought about by unsustainable land use practices, non-native tree and shrub species have been introduced, especially to Africa and Asia. To feed rapidly growing populations in these regions, non-native fish species have also been introduced to supplement existing protein sources, which are rapidly being depleted as a result of overexploitation and pollution. Many of these non-native species provide significant benefits to poor communities, but there are also costs associated with these introductions when species escape cultivation or culturing and establish populations in the wild. These “escapees” can have significant negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function, negating their benefits, especially when measured at a landscape or national level. The failure of many development agencies and others to seek holistic or win–win solutions that benefit all sectors, or do not have negative impacts on others, will, in the final analysis, be to the detriment of the millions of poor communities they have tried to assist. The unfortunate reality is that many donors and development agencies have failed to recognise or acknowledge that cultured organisms can have significant impacts on ecosystems and human health should they escape and establish invasive populations.


Agro-forestry Aquaculture Developing countries Livelihoods Pomacea canaliculata Prosopis species Tilapia species 



CABI Development Fund kindly provided financial support for the compilation of this chapter. Thanks to the anonymous reviewers and D. Simberloff for their constructive comments and suggestions, and to P.E. Hulme who helped improve the quality of the chapter


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CABI AfricaNairobiKenya

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