Research output

Beyond protocols: improving the reliability of expert-based risk analysis underpinning invasive species policies

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


  • Sonia Vanderhoeven
  • Etienne Branquart
  • Bram D'hondt
  • Philip E Hulme
  • Assaf Shwartz
  • Diederik Strubbe
  • Anne Turbé

Departments, research groups and services

External Organisations

  • Belgian Biodiversity Platform
  • Invasive Species Unit, Walloon Research Department for Nature and Agricultural Areas (DEMNA), Service Public de Wallonie, Avenue Mare´chal Juin, 23, 5030 Gembloux, Belgium
  • Biology Department, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
  • Bio-Protection Research Centre, Lincoln University, PO Box 85084, Canterbury, New Zealand
  • Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning Technion, Haifa, Israel


Original languageEnglish
JournalBiological Invasions
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 26-Apr-2017


Risk assessment tools for listing invasive alien species need to incorporate all available evidence
and expertise. Beyond the wealth of protocols developed to date, we argue that the current way of
performing risk analysis has several shortcomings. In particular, lack of data on ecological impacts, transparency and repeatability of assessments as well as the incorporation of uncertainty should all be explicitly considered. We recommend improved quality control of risk assessments through formalized peer review with clear feedback between assessors and reviewers.
Alternatively, a consensus building process can be applied to better capture opinions of different experts, thereby maximizing the evidential basis. Elaborating on manageability of invasive species is further needed to fully answer all risk analysis requirements. Tackling the issue of invasive species urges better handling of the acquired information on risk and the exploration of
improved methods for decision making on biodiversity management. This is crucial for efficient conservation resource allocation and uptake by stakeholders and the public.
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