Invasion Science: Looking Forward Rather Than Revisiting Old Ground - A Reply to Zenni et al.

20 Nov 2017

Using horizon scanning techniques, we identified 14 emerging issues, not yet widely recognized or understood, that are likely to affect how biological invasions are studied and managed on a global scale [1]. Zenni et al. [2] do not comment on the major issues identified in our study. Instead, they draw attention to the nationalities of our authorship and the lack of representation from developing countries, and they imply that as a consequence our paper promotes misconceptions and ignores key issues affecting such countries. In particular, they criticize our ‘opinionated statement’ that most developing countries have a limited capacity to respond to invasions. This is not merely our opinion; we cited Early et al.[3], whose analysis concluded that proactive capacities, although far from sufficient globally, are more advanced in countries with a high human development index (HDI) than in those with a low HDI. The term ‘developing country’ is open to misinterpretation, but is often defined as a sovereign state with a low HDI and a less-developed industrial base relative to other countries (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Developing_country), and such countries occur mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The ten ‘developing countries’ listed by Zenni et al. as having national invasive species strategies or databases (i.e., Mexico, Jamaica, Guyana, Cuba, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and South Africa) are arguably more similar to developed countries, in terms of HDI, than to many of the poorest countries of the world [4].