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CABI Launches Invasive Species Horizon Scanning Tool

invasive species

CABI has announced the launch of its invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool (beta), a decision support aid to help users identify potential invasive species threats to a country, state or province. The tool is supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

Gareth Richards, CABI’s compendium program manager, says, “Risk assessors, plant protection officers, quarantine officers, protected area managers and researchers will find that the invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool provides a quick and user-friendly means of accessing a large volume of relevant data for categorizing and prioritizing potential invasive species.”

Information from the CABI Compendia datasheets is used to generate a list of invasive species that are absent from the selected ‘area at risk’ but present in ‘source areas’, which may be relevant because they are neighboring countries, are linked by trade or transport routes, or share similar climates. The list of invasive species can be filtered using various criteria (e.g. pathways, habitats and taxonomy) to focus on sets of potential invasive species that may require more detailed risk assessment, surveillance, public awareness or direct action to prevent their introduction and spread.

Gareth says, “There are two versions of the invasive species Horizon Scanning Tool available; a free version for users of the open-access Invasive Species Compendium and a premium version for subscribers to CABI’s Crop Protection Compendium. The free version is immediately accessible via the link The tool currently has open beta status for early use while enhancements to the content and interface continue. We look forward to receiving feedback from the users and to further developments during 2018.”

The Horizon Scanning Tool links to corresponding invasive species datasheets. Where a full datasheet is available, information is provided on detection and identification, means of entry, requirements for establishment and spread, and documented negative impacts (required for horizon scanning), and also methods for prevention and control (for response planning). The list can be output to a CSV file for analysis outside the Compendium.

All users can access the filters (for pathways, habitats and taxonomic group), view the full species results list, output a CSV file of the results and open the Invasive Species Compendium datasheets to access further information. The premium version provides two extra filters (for plant hosts and for plant parts in trade) and links to additional pest datasheets from the Crop Protection Compendium.