Invasive alien species (IAS) are one of the main causes of biodiversity loss and threats to agriculture. Successful early detection, prevention, and management of IAS and their impacts require international cooperation and sharing of information, technology, and tools. In the Americas, IAS information is often nonexistent, unavailable, inaccessible, or incompatible with other data sets. The IABIN Invasives Information Network (I3N), the first of six Thematic Networks established by the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN), facilitates cooperation on IAS information discovery, collection, management, and distribution, and provides education and training on the use of tools developed and freely distributed by the I3N. Coordinated by the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the I3N is an internationally recognized example of successful national and regional collaboration and sharing on an issue of global significance.
I3N fosters scientific and technical cooperation across national borders, supports decision-making by providing access to key information, builds capacity, develops new tools for information sharing, and promotes common standards. Through their participation in I3N, institutions discover and disseminate information on IAS in their countries, develop national IAS lists, and forge mutually supportive relationships with neighboring countries. With direct access to national knowledge bases throughout the region, those addressing the invasive species challenge can easily obtain data on which species are invasive or potentially invasive in particular habitats, and use this information in their planning efforts. For example, agencies responsible for pest control could quickly determine if a species of interest has been invasive elsewhere. Importers of new non-native species (e.g., nurseries, botanical gardens, pet industry) could access accounts of experiences abroad to make responsible business choices. Land managers could learn about control methods that have been useful in other areas, reducing the need to commit resources for experimentation and increasing the speed at which control efforts can begin.
Initiated by the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 2002 as a series of pilot projects sponsored by IABIN and funded by the U.S. State Department and USGS, the I3N began to develop tools for the collection and exchange of IAS information in the Americas. IABIN participants identified invasive species information exchange in the Americas as a priority. Priorities for the invasive species community were defined earlier at the workshop on “Development of Regional Invasive Alien Species Information Hubs,
Including Requisite Taxonomic Services, In North America and Southern Africa”, held at University of California at Davis, USA, 14-15 February 2001 and documented in what is now known as the Davis Declaration. In collaboration with the Information Center for the Environment of the University of California - Davis, the NBII began to develop a software tool for cataloging information to meet those priorities. The I3N pilot project built on these efforts. The USGS Biological Informatics Office and its partners in the NBII have made major investments to increase the amount of publicly available biological information on IAS and international initiatives.
NBII obtained and managed U.S. State Department funds for the now completed I3N pilot project. The Environmental Diplomacy Fund of the U.S. State Department, with support and management from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), gave $12,000 grants to 11 countries (Argentina, Brazil, Bahamas, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, and Paraguay). Using I3N tools and the Internet, the countries began to collect IAS data, publish records on the Web, and implement common information technology and taxonomy standards. To support the continued growth of the I3N pilot project, the NBII developed and hosted a trilingual I3N Web site, a search tool, an online collaboration community, and an e-mail listserv — all of which continue to operate in support of the I3N today. Today, I3N participates in a $6 million, 5-year IABIN project funded by the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) (GEF Grant Project Implementation Plan (PIP)).
Beyond the expected outputs from the I3N pilot project (Web sites, catalogs, species lists), participants realized additional benefits and products from the seed grants. As a result of their participation in the pilot project, countries created their first registry of species, specialists, or projects related to invasive species in their country; discovered past and impending invasion events; created printed educational materials; identified previously unreported invasive species pathways and impacts; began recording current and potential invasive species; contributed to development of national invasive species strategies; provided a list of game and fish species annexed to a national biodiversity law; and integrated I3N catalogs into national biodiversity databases. For example, the environmental agency of Parana, Brazil, published the first official invasive alien species list in the nation in May 07 based on the I3N database. Countries using I3N tools can use them to develop national IAS strategies; the first national strategies template (Spanish | Portuguese) for South American countries recently developed by GISP and TNC South America IAS Program explicitly recommends using I3N tools. Click here to see a listing of the outcomes reported by individual countries.
Products and Services
I3N has developed several tools to support the development of a Web-accessible, distributed knowledge base on invasive species for the Americas. The I3N provides free internet hosting of IAS records created by member countries, freely distributes a Microsoft Access database template for creating invasive species records; freely distributes a Web interface template for managing, accessing, and serving invasive species records on the Internet; and provides the I3N Search Tool that indexes all of the IAS records and resources on the I3N and member country web sites. (Go to I3N Web Services for more information.)
Training and Grants
I3N provides grants to organizations wishing to make IAS data available through the network. To obtain information about the next request for proposals, contact Annie Simpson, email@example.com.
I3N has a program to train information managers from throughout the Americas in the use of the I3N tools and in the importance of collecting standardized data to facilitate information sharing. I3N training was offered in 2005 and 2006 in the Bahamas, Chile, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Jamaica, Mexico, Venezuela, Paraguay, Uruguay and USA. Targets for future capacity building efforts were identified in a needs analysis completed in 2006. Click on these links to view the analysis and the annex.
As a result of international outreach activities, organizations in Morocco, Ghana, Gambia, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Portugal, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka have indicated their interest in using the I3N tools. I3N-Brazil/Horus Institute and CABI provided training to government representatives from Ghana, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zambia, and I3N-Argentina/Universidad del Sur has trained experts from Morocco and Malaysia.
Local expertise in collecting, managing, and disseminating invasive species information is essential. Because data on invasive species in any one country represent the efforts of a heterogeneous group of players, it is wise to develop a distributed network with in-country nodes rather than a centralized system. In I3N, therefore, each country’s invasive species information is controlled by the country but is documented and posted on the Web in a standard format. A small staff coordinates the overall network efforts. The National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is the Coordinating Institution (CI) of the I3N. NBII works in close collaboration with the Secretariat of the Inter-American Biodiversity Information Network (IABIN) and several partners (described on our Participants page).
At regional and global levels, the I3N has support and collaboration from the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), which is based in New Zealand; the Global Invasive Species Information Network (GISIN),
which counts on active participation from Denmark, Argentina, Great Britain, Malaysia, China, Morocco, Zambia, New Zealand, Germany, and the US; the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP); the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); and the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
I3N is particularly proud to have been formally welcomed into the global invasive species scientific community by a declaration at the Convention on Biological Diversity's Sixth Conference of the Parties, which was held in 2002. The work of the I3N supports Decision VI/23 (Alien species that threaten ecosystems, habitats or species) of the CBD Conference of Parties (COP).
|The Conference of the Parties to the
Convention on Biological Diversity stated that it"...
welcomes the "I3N" (Inter-American Biodiversity
Information Network (IABIN) Invasives Information
Network) initiative on invasive alien species, and calls
on the Global Environment Facility, Parties, Governments
and relevant organizations to support and participate in
these initiatives". Declaration VI/23
I3N in the Media and in Conferences
I3N is mentioned in local, national and international media and professional conferences. Click on the links below to view a selection of articles (search for “I3N” or “IABIN” after opening the document to find the relevant section). To view more articles, click here.
- Presentation at the Symposium on Invasive Conifers in South America, Hotel Isla Victoria, Bariloche, Argentina, 10 May 2007: “I3N IAS Database for the Americas”.
- BioNet Bulletin, June 2007 mentions I3N.
- Environmental agency of Parana, Brazil, published first official invasive alien species list in nation
- Article in Biological Invasions Journal on I3N and other online information networks on invasive alien species. Full text | Abstract
- Three articles in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment journal: "A strategy for ecology in an era of globalization", “Invasive species data applications and data sharing across the Americas", and "Invasive alien species in an era of globalization". (Ecological Society of America; May 2007; Volume 5, Issue 4; Special Issue on Ecology in an Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Scientists in the Americas, Merida, Mexico, January 8-12, 2006.)
- The Global Invasive Species Program (GISP) highlights I3N role in the first Brazilian IAS symposium. Spanish | English - (PDF)
- Organization of American States (OAS) Department for Sustainable Development and Environment highlights I3N Training Workshop in Dominican Republic as one of the 'Recent Initiatives and Outcomes' (Nov 05). Final Report (PDF); List of Participants (PDF); read more on the OAS Web site...
- NBII Access Newsletter (Summer 2005) highlights I3N Training at 2005 Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Meeting. Page 5. [pdf]
- NatureServe Latin American and Caribbean Network newsletter (Aug 04). [MS Word]
- Convention on Biological Diversity: Decision VI/23 of the Conference of the Parties (Sixth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, The Hague, Netherlands, 7 - 19 Apr 02). [Web page]
- Case studies (including I3N) commissioned by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (Feb 03) [MS Word]
- Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (various dates). Web page and PowerPoint presentations [1, 2]
- Ecological Society of America International Conference on Ecology in an Era of Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Environmental Scientists in the Americas (Mérida, Mexico, January, 2006). (CI presented talk and poster on I3N and IABIN.) Abstract (pdf)
- Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative conference (San Jose, Costa Rica, January, 2006). (CI represented I3N and IABIN as model network.)
- Weeds Across Borders (Hermosillo, Mexico, May 2006). Abstract (pdf)
- GISIN Invasive Species Profile Schema Review (Agadir, Morocco, February, 2006). (Two I3N Leads active on GISIN interim Steering Committee participated in discussions to help harmonize I3N and GISIN standards; offered training on I3N tools to Moroccan and Malaysian participants.)
- Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) (Curitiba, Brazil, March, 2006). (I3N presence at GISP side-event.)
- Taxonomic Databases Working Group (TDWG) (Missouri Botanical Gardens, St.Louis, Missouri, USA, October, 2006). Abstract (pdf)
- The environmental agency of Parana, Brazil, published the first official invasive alien species list in the nation in May 07.
- The first national strategies template (Spanish | Portuguese) for South American countries was developed by GISP-TNC South America IAS Program and presented at the I3N South American meeting in May 07. It explicitly recommends I3N tools.
- Several successful I3N meetings were held in May 2007. To review presentations and other documents, please go to the "Workshops & Meetings" page.
- A new poster describing I3N is available in Spanish and English.
- National I3N workshop highlighted on home page of Paraguayan NGO
The Global Invasive Species Program (GISP) highlights I3N role in the first Brazilian IAS symposium. Spanish | English - (PDF)
- Organization of American States (OAS) Department for Sustainable Development and Environment highlights I3N Training Workshop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic as one of the 'Recent Initiatives and Outcomes' (Nov 05). Final Report (PDF); List of Participants (PDF); read more on the OAS Web site...
- BioNET-ANDINONET supports invasive alien species capacity building (1 Nov 05). Work has started on several activities related to I3N (IABIN Invasives Information Network) tools and their use. Training workshops on I3N tools and on the importance of creating standardized invasive alien species data and metadata will be offered in three countries: Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela. Read more...
- I3N Training at 2005 Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Meeting. NBII Access Newsletter (Summer 05). Page 5. [pdf]
- I3N Technical Working Group establishment and meeting at IABIN 2005 mentioned in NBII Access Newsletter (Spring 05). Page 7. [pdf]
- BioNET-INTERNATIONAL The Global Network for Taxonomy Monthly Bulletin No. 57 (May 05) [pdf]
I3N and IABIN are noted in the May Bulletin of the Global Network for Taxonomy. You can contact BioNET directly at BioD_Commonsfirstname.lastname@example.org to be included on their mailing list.
- South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter (Aug 04) [MS Word] [pdf]
- Argentine news agency article (Aug 04) [MS Word]
- NatureServe Latin American and Caribbean Network newsletter (Aug 04) [MS Word]
- NBII Newsbrief on I3N in GISIN (Apr 04) [MS Word] [pdf]
- NBII newsletter article (Winter 03) [html] [pdf]
- Convention on Biological Diversity: Decision VI/23 of the Conference of the Parties (Sixth Ordinary Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, The Hague, Netherlands, 7 - 19 Apr 02) [Web page]
- Case studies commissioned by the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation (Feb 03) [MS Word]
- Argentine newspaper article (Dec 02) [html]
- Newspaper clipping of I3N-Jamaica workshop (Sep 02) [MS Word]
- Trilateral Committee for Wildlife and Ecosystem Conservation and Management (various dates): Web page and Powerpoint presentations [1, 2]