China attaches great importance to the prevention and control of alien invasive species. Some policies and regulations have been formulated and the corresponding control measures have been adopted. However, there are still many problems to be solved.
1. Policies, laws and regulations concerning the prevention and control of alien invasive species
The Quarantine Law on Import and Export of Animals and Plants has set up the clear stipulations for the work in this regard. The Protection Law for Wildlife has also the regulations on the intentional import of the alien species.
To prevent the diseases like mad cow and mouth-foot from entering China, the Chinese government has launched sets of official notifications to forbid direct and indirect import from those countries that suffer from “mad cow diseases” of cow, cow embryo, sperm, beef and the beef products and ruminant foodstuff. It is forbidden to import the artiodactyl and its products from those countries with foot and mouth diseases. Strict quarantine controlling work has been undertaken to those passengers and goods that come from the “epidemic areas”. These regulations have played an important role in prevent those pathogens getting into China in the emergent situations.
In the Compendium of National Ecological Conservation, it is for the first time to put forward the concept for bio-safety in China. The Article 14 of the Compendium says, “all the alien species have to undertake the risk assessments. The import quarantine work has to be strengthened to prevent any alien invasive species from entering into China”. However, China Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan does not involve much on the alien species and up to now there is no specific established action plan against the alien invasive species.
2. The present status of and controlling over alien invasive species
Several rounds of survey have been conducted in China on alien invasive species. According to incomplete statistics, all together China has 107 species and 75 genera of alien weeds, including mainly Alternanthera philoxeroides, Eupatorium adenophorum, Ambrosia artemisiifolia and A. Trifida etc. Among those species, 62 kinds are alien weeds, which have been imported intentionally for pasture, foodstuff, vegetable, ornamentals, herbs and greening plants, representing 58% of the total amount. The others are introduced unintentionally through goods shipment, passengers or transportation and through natural spreading and dissemination.
There are 32 kinds of major alien pests in China, including Hyphantria cunea, Hemiberlesia pitysophila Takagi; 23 kinds of alien pathogens, like Ceratocystis fimbriata Ell.et halst, Fusarium vasifectum etc. In most cases, the alien pests and pathogens are imported unintentionally together with other plants or goods. Of course, some of them are spread and got into China naturally.
China has also introduced large amount of germplasm resources of crops, livestock and poultry and aquatic products.
Alien invasive species has created huge damage to China ecosystems, wildlife and genetic resources. Each year the invasive pests have caused 7-8 billion Chinese Yuan losses in China. Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is closing in on the Huangshan Mountain located in Anhui Province and Xihu Lake located in Zhejiang Province. The damage of pine-needle scale insect (Hemiberlesia pitysophila) and Oracella acuta is increasing.
According to incomplete investigation and statistics, the alien weeds has created as high as 9 billion Chinese Yuan losses for China agriculture. The damage caused by Eichhornia crassipes to Dianchi Lake in Yunnan Province is very severe, and the threats of Spartina anglica to biodiversity in southeastern coastal China have not been effectively alleviated. Mikania micrantha has propagated very fast and caused catastrophe in some regions.
While the introduction of alien productive species has promoted the development of China agriculture and husbandry; at the same time, the native species has been replaced or reduced gradually, or even diminished. For example, total endangered livestock species amount to 10.4% of the native species and the extinct livestock species account for 3%.
Facing with all those damages caused by the alien invasive species, China has strengthened the management over quarantine systems to prevent the invasion of alien species. There are over 200 quarantine departments established at the ports, which formulate a comparatively complete supervision and monitoring network. For example, after the Sino-US Agreement on Agriculture Cooperation has been signed by the two governments, China has been seriously implement this Agreement by conducting strict quarantine work over wheat and other grains. In addition, China has also established the approval procedure and system on aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.
To fight against alien invasive pests, China has adopted physical, chemical, biological and agricultural comprehensive control measures. Great progress has been reached on bio-control technologies. The introduction of bio-control agent and the development of native bio-control agent have been applied into fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea), pine-needle scale insect (Hemiberlesia pitysophila) and Oracella acuta, with encouraging progress and obvious effect. From 1996 to 2000, 35 institutions have introduced 63 kinds(times) of bio-control agents from 25 countries, among which the Encarsia formosa, Typhlodromus occidentalis, Phytoseiulus persimilis and Xylocoris flavipes etc. are proved to be very successful. Transgenic Chinese white polar with pest resistance show high resistance to alien pests such as fall webworm.
Work on education and publicity enhancement has also been carried out; yet no systematic education, training and dissemination plan have into existence.
3. The priority work in prevention and control of alien invasive species
(1) To establish and perfect the legislation systems to intensify the safety management on alien invasive species that are introduced intentionally or unintentionally.
(2) To conduct national survey over alien invasive species to identify species, number, distribution and functions of alien invasive species and to establish databases.
(3) To analyze the impacts generated by alien species on China ecosystems and species, and to establish risk assessment indicator system, risk assessment methods and risk management procedures for alien species that threat ecosystems, habitats and species.
(4) To establish the monitoring system over alien invasive species
(5) To strengthen the public education on the impacts caused by alien species and enhance the awareness of prevention.
(6) To establish training programs on identification of alien invasive species, prevention and controlling technologies, risk assessment technologies and risk management.
(7) To strengthen international cooperation and information exchange on management, prevention and control technology of alien invasive species and to enhance national administrative capacity and expertise.