June 24, 2004
Invasive Species Prevention: State, Federal, and International Legal Strategies to Halt the Invasion
Invasive species such as purple loosestrife, zebra mussels, and the Asian long-horned beetle are one of the most critical threats to America’s natural diversity. They displace native plants and animals, disrupt ecological processes, and cause substantial economic burdens estimated at $130 billion of damage to the American economy each year. Experts agree that prevention mechanisms measures taken to strengthen the front line of defense against the introduction and establishment of invasives are the most effective and cost-efficient government response. However, the American legal framework has been criticized as piecemeal and uncoordinated.
On June 24, 2004, ELI held an Associate Seminar to discuss state, federal, and international issues in the effort to prevent the global diffusion and domestic introduction of invasive species. Carroll Muffet (Director, International Program, Defenders of Wildlife) discussed gaps and inconsistencies in the international legal framework and described some novel prevention tools used by foreign nations. Marc Miller (former co-chair, National Invasive Species Council Policy and Regulation Working Group), editor of the recently published Harmful Invasive Species: Legal Responses, described the “paradox” of U.S. invasive species law and what can be done to resolve it. Brad Klein (Law Fellow, ELI) discussed how some states are attempting to fill the federal vacuum. Jessica Wilkinson (Director, State Biodiversity Program, ELI) moderated the discussion.