Environmental issues have a rather unpleasant property of recurring after they have been considered partially solved. When it seemed that the environmental awareness craze had become less topical compared with other issues on the world’s agenda, the extinction of species and the subsequent alteration of the environment were discovered.
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As the pace of habitat change increases, species migrate in order to find more favorable environment. As a result, these migrating species conflict with the ones that emerged in the chosen habitat naturally. After the conflict between the alien species and the local one erupts, the change in the ecosystems ensues.
The situation that can be witnessed in Spain is a graphic example of the phenomenon in question. Because of the introduction of such alien species as Agave Americana, Carpobrotus spp., Eriocheir sinesis, etc. into the local habitat as a result of economic and particularly trading relationships, the existence of Junipenis phoenicea, Corema album, Limonium emarginatum, etc. has been jeopardized (Garrido 50).
According to the traditional definition of the term, alien species are the “plants and animals that have been intentionally or unintentionally introduced, have established populations and have spread into the wild in the new host region” (Otero, Cebrian, Francour,. Galil and Savini 8).
The implications of having alien, or, as they are also termed quite often, exotic, introduced or non-native species, are quite negative. These species disrupt the habitat of the area, creating imbalance and, thus, leading to the extinction of the local species, deterioration of the land, and the following economic issues caused by the lack of the specified natural resources.
A closer analysis of the issue will show that the change in the climate of a range of regions is not the only factor that has caused the invasion of alien species into the Spanish natural habitats. Apart from the obvious need for species to relocate in order to find the environment with a proper climate, hunting, trade and other human induced factors must be mentioned (European Commission 12).
Overall, the human factor has played a major role in the spreading of alien species in Spain. Although, technically, climate change can be viewed as a human-induced catastrophe, there are more obvious and direct effects that people have had on the Spanish environment and the increase of the alien species population within the area mentioned above.
To be more specific, such phenomenon as hunting deserves to be listed among the key causes for the current prevalence of the alien species within certain Spanish habitats. In addition, a range of species, particularly, fish and amphibians, have been carried to Spain with the ocean currents.
The origins of these alien species, therefore, are rather diverse. 28% of them come from Central and South America; 21% floats to Spain from North America; 31% of alien species invade Spain from Asia; 12% come from Africa, and the remaining 8% originate from Australia (Andreu and Vila 130). As the above-mentioned data shows, the contact established with Asia clearly is the greatest threat to the biodiversity of Spain at present.
As far as the habitat of the species in question is concerned, the environments that are viewed as favorable also differ greatly; what may be suitable for one of the species will not be acceptable for another one. However, for the most part, the species in question enjoy the coastal areas with their Mediterranean climate, which Spain is famous for (Godoy, Castro-Dı´ez, Valladares and Costa-Tenorio 7).
When it comes to suggesting the solutions for the current environmental issue that Spain is facing at present, one must bear in mind that the economic links between Spain and the rest of the states are crucial to the former’s growth and financial sustainability. Hence, it will be unreasonable and even highly dangerous to terminate the trade with the states that contribute to the problem. Therefore, a more rigid approach towards the trading process must be established.
The same can be said about the geological processes that make species relocate in search for a more appropriate environment. Blocking the way for the specified plants and animals to intervene the Spanish ecosystems is barely possible; however, fostering the growth and evolution of the endangered species clearly is a viable opportunity for restoring the balance. It should be kept in mind, though, that the creation of the environment required for the local species to prosper will demand that impressive financial resources should be located (Integrated Analysis of Factors Influencing Plants Spatial Distribution 1).
Another approach that will possibly help address the situation and resolve the problem concerning the invasion of the alien species in Spain, the actions aimed at protecting the areas in danger from the “invaders.” There is one problem, though, and a crucial one at that.
By modifying the environment so that it could become unsuitable for the alien species to dwell and repopulate in, one may put the local species under a giant threat as well. Utilizing a chemical compound, which the alien species in question react negatively with, will most likely be incompatible with the Spanish local plants as well and, therefore, trigger a drop in the amount of the local flora.
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The same can be said about allowing hunting for alien species on the grounds that their elimination will lead to the following restoration of the state’s natural flora and fauna. While the reduction in the number of alien species will be evident, the remaining ones will still have their toll on the evolution of the local animals and plants, as well as shape the local habitat consistently.
Therefore, inspections and fees for transporting the species that are classified as alien to the Spanish environment will have to be imposed on the international trading companies. From an economic perspective, though, the revenues received from trade are most likely to exceed the costs for fee payment, which is why the given step can be considered only a temporary measure and the first step towards ridding Spain of alien flora and fauna.
Introducing a set of very specific rules on the treatment of the commodities that are imported into Spain, especially the ones that can be viewed as the environment for the growth of microorganisms, can be viewed a reasonable step to take. These instructions have to include fumigation, immersion, spraying, heat and cold treatment, and pressure (Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 2).
Finally, the audits aimed at checking the compliance with the WTO trading Agreement must be conducted. While the measures listed above will not release Spain from the alien species that inhabit it at present and alter its environment, they will set the course for developing other advances for addressing the problem.
Andreu, Jara and Montserrat Vila. ”Risk Analysis of Potential Invasive Plants in Spain.” Journal for Nature Conservation 17 (2009), 129–141. Print.
European Commission 2013, Invasive Alien Species. PDF file.
Garrido, Jose Raphael. “Management of Invasive Alien Species in Andalusia (Southern Spain): Some Successful Experiences.” Academia.edu. 2009.
Global Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 2000. PDF file.
Godoy, Oscar, Pablo Castro-Dı´ez, Frederick Valladares and Maria Costa-Tenorio. “Different Flowering Phenology of Alien Invasive Species in Spain: Evidence for the Use of an Empty Temporal Niche?” Plant Biology 11.8 (2011), 803–811. Print.