Foreign plants, animals damage the economy

Combating foreign plants, animals and micro-organisms is costing the Dutch economy between €1bn and €3bn a year, yet it is not a priority for either the government or environmental movement, according to an article in magazine Tijdschrift Milieu.

The ‘broad scale’ of foreign invaders is causing increasing damage to the environment, nature and health, the article, by researchers from the agriculture and environment centre said.
The Netherlands’ position as an international transport hub is one reason why so many new species are arriving. But climate change and the interlinking of lakes and rivers is also bringing more foreign organisms, the report says.
Viruses such as bird flu, swine fever and foot and mouth disease are a major cause of economic damage. But moulds such as phytophthora, which causes potato blight are also to blame, the report states. Phytophthora arrived in the Netherlands from the US in 1845.
Another intruder is the tiger mosquito, which arrived on bamboo plants from China, and is now found in Dutch greenhouses. Aedes albopictus carries the dengue virus among others.

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