Alien invasion costing EU €12bn
Invasive species are costing Europe an estimated €12 billion a year, a scientist from Queen's University Belfast has warned.
Professor Jaimie Dick is calling on the EU to take urgent action to halt the march of invasive species such as the muntjac deer and Japanese knotweed.
He wants authorities to commit to long-term investment in a European-wide strategy to manage the problem.
Prof Dick, from the Institute for Global Food Security at the School of Biological Sciences, said: "Alien plant and animal species cause environmental, economic and social damage across Europe, and their rate of invasion is set to increase in the coming years.
"The EU has formulated a comprehensive plan to address the threats posed by these species, but adequate resourcing by the EU and member states in terms of funding, staff and equipment will be crucial in ensuring this plan is put into action."
He said alien plants cost the island of Ireland £215m a year.
Invasive species are considered to be among the major threats to native biodiversity in Europe.