Biological invasions are a major global challenge for the conservation of biodiversity, maintenance of ecosystem health and sustainable livelihoods. As the number of novel introductions of invasive species is predicted to increase due to rising trade volumes in the emerging economies, regulatory policies to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species are of paramount importance. However, poor response capacities, lack of coordination between stakeholders, heavy dependence on biological resources and little public awareness are some of the formidable barriers in framing and implementing such policies in developing countries. This study was conceptualized to establish common ground by considering the diverse interests of different actors and design a policy framework to control invasive alien plant species (IAPS) in the lower-middle income economies considering India as a case study. To achieve this objective, we evaluated the introduction pathways and current economic uses of IAPS in India and critically reviewed the infrastructure and current response capacity of the country for regulating pre- and post-border trading of these problematic species. We found that the majority of IAPS were introduced for ornamental purposes and some of them are still actively traded and used for several economic purposes. Despite having a rich legacy of environmental policies, a legal framework exclusively to deal with invasive species is non-existent in India. Here, we propose a set of policy interventions, for international and domestic trading, by integrating trade regulations based on a risk assessment framework with interests of both consumers and traders to ensure effective compliance from all stakeholders. Further, we identify potential hurdles for policy implementation in India and therefore, based on the existing biosecurity infrastructure, we outline an operable and dynamic decentralized system having a standard operating procedure to ensure coordination between different stakeholders, increase public awareness and guide further research direction.
Bibliographical noteNOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Environmental Science & Policy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Environmental Science & Policy, 124, (2021)
© 2021, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
FunderAchyut K. Banerjee acknowledges the funding received from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 32050410299 ) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, Sun Yat-sen University (grant number 2021qntd26 ). Anzar A. Khuroo acknowledges the funding received from Department of Biotechnology, New Delhi, Govt. of India under project No. BT/PR29607/FCB/125/17/2018.
- Developing country
- Economic use
- Invasive alien species
- Legal framework
- Risk assessment
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law