ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

Harmful Invasive Species: Legal Responses

Harmful Invasive Species:  Legal Responses


Marc Miller and Robert Fabian, Editors
Price: $69.95

Release Date: 

January 2004






Non-indigenous species (NIS), and more particularly harmful non-indigenous or "invasive" species, have been widely noted in recent years as a critical environmental problem at many ecological and political scales. At the global level, they have been recognized as a primary driver in the loss of biodiversity and among the top five drivers of global change. The problem has led biologists, lawyers, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), farmers, other businesses, and citizens to plead for a more complete and coherent response by all levels of government and the private sector.

Harmful Invasive Species: Legal Responses describes the law and policy regarding harmful non-indigenous species in six countries: New Zealand, Germany, South Africa, Argentina, Poland, and the United States. This essential book also addresses three international and cross-cutting dimensions of harmful non-indigenous species policy: quarantine systems, trade issues, and the special concerns raised by genetically modified organisms. It is a "must-read" for concerned scientists, lawyers, policy-makers, and citizens, in the U.S. and abroad.

Establishing sound law and policy with regard to invasive species would be hard enough if the puzzles were merely biological, psychological, economic, and political. However, the ultimate questions about the law and policy with regard to non-indigenous species, and invasive species, reflect deep value preferences, values that reflect more general philosophical tenets that may border on religious beliefs. These value questions include which non-indigenous species should be introduced or allowed to remain, which indigenous species should be protected, and which activities should be regulated, and at what cost, if they pose a risk of introducing unwanted invasive species.

The chapters in this volume respond to this puzzle by using the laws and policies currently in place in the selected countries as an analytic focal point and. These laws are typically easier to identify than the more or less complete information on the full scope of the actual problem they address. These laws are also more accessible than a full analysis of how the laws are in fact implemented, and what impact the laws have. What a law-focused study allows is some reflection of the problems that have been recognized, and the efforts to deal with them. Perhaps a full set of laws should include some explicit mechanisms for stating, assessing, and then periodically reassessing the underlying problem, the goals of the laws, and whether the policies in place achieve their aims.