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Identification of potential invasive alien species in Spain through horizon scanning


Cano-Barbacil C, Carrete M, Castro-Díez P, Delibes-Mateos M, Jaques JA, Lopez-Darias M, Nogales M, Pino J, Ros M, Traveset A, Turon X, Vilá M, Altamirano M, Álvarez I, Arias A, Boix D, Cabido C, Cacabelos E, Cobo F, Cruz J, Cuesta JA, Dáder B, del Estal P, Gallardo B, Gómez Laporta M, González-Moreno P, Hernández JC, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Lázaro Lobo A, Leza M, Montserrat M, Oliva-Paterna FJ, Piňeiro L, Ponce C, Pons P, Rotchés-Ribalta R, Roura-Pascual N, Sánchez M, Trillo A, Viňuela E, García-Berthou E (2023) Identification of potential invasive alien species in Spain through horizon scanning. Journal of Environmental Management. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2023.118696

Invasive alien species have widespread impacts on native biodiversity and ecosystem services. Since the number of introductions worldwide is continuously rising, it is essential to prevent the entry, establishment and spread of new alien species through a systematic examination of future potential threats. Applying a three-step horizon scanning consensus method, we evaluated non-established alien species that could potentially arrive, establish and cause major ecological impact in Spain within the next 10 years. Overall, we identified 47 species with a very high risk (e.g. Oreochromis niloticusPopillia japonicaHemidactylus frenatusCrassula helmsii or Halophila stipulacea), 61 with high risk, 93 with moderate risk, and 732 species with low risk. Many of the species categorized as very high or high risk to Spanish biodiversity are either already present in Europe and neighbouring countries or have a long invasive history elsewhere. This study provides an updated list of potential invasive alien species useful for prioritizing efforts and resources against their introduction. Compared to previous horizon scanning exercises in Spain, the current study screens potential invaders from a wider range of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine organisms, and can serve as a basis for more comprehensive risk analyses to improve management and increase the efficiency of the early warning and rapid response framework for invasive alien species. We also stress the usefulness of measuring agreement and consistency as two different properties of the reliability of expert scores, in order to more easily elaborate consensus ranked lists of potential invasive alien species.


  • Argyrotaenia ljungiana
  • Aromia bungii
  • Cabomba caroliniana
  • Crassula helmsii
  • Halophila stipulacea
  • Hemidactylus sp.
  • Hydrilla verticillata
  • Lagarosiphon major
  • Ligustrum sinense
  • Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus
  • Miscanthus sinensis
  • Orientus ishidae
  • Pomacea canaliculata
  • Popillia japonica
  • Prunus serotina
  • Pueraria montana var. lobata
  • Radopholus similis
  • Reynoutria x bohemica
  • Rhagoletis cingulata
  • Salvinia molesta
  • Sphagneticola trilobata
  • Tilapia nilotica
  • Toumeyella parvicornis


Type File Size
Pest Risk Analysis Download 2,54MB

PRA Area

  • Spain