Environmental Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (EICAT)
EICAT is the IUCN Standard for the classification of impacts of alien taxa on the environment. It is a simple, objective and transparent method that classifies alien taxa into one of five impact categories, according to the magnitude of the detrimental impacts on native biodiversity.
Each of these five impact categories represents a different impact magnitude, depending on the level of biological organisation of the native biota impacted (individual, population or community) and the reversibility of this impact.
The scheme can be applied at a national, regional and global level: all EICAT assessments undertaken at the global level will be made available through the IUCN’s Global Invasive Species Database.
EICAT has the following five objectives: (i) identify alien taxa by levels of environmental impact, (ii) compare the level of impact by alien taxa among regions and taxonomic groups, (iii) facilitate predictions of potential future impacts of taxa in the target region and elsewhere, (iv) aid the prioritisation of management actions, and (v) facilitate the evaluation of management methods. EICAT is used by scientists, environmental managers and conservation practitioners as a tool to gain a better understanding of the magnitude of impacts caused by different alien taxa, to alert relevant stakeholders to the possible consequences of the arrival of certain alien taxa, and to inform the prioritisation, implementation and evaluation of management policies and actions.
It must be emphasised at the outset that EICAT is not a risk assessment, and its output alone should not be used to prioritise management actions for alien taxa.
EICAT must be applied in a consistent and comparable manner when assessing the impacts of different alien taxa, and therefore the EICAT
Categories and Criteria should be used to inform the assessment process. There is also a separate accompanying Guidelines document
that provides additional guidance to support the application of the EICAT Categories and Criteria, including on how to deal with uncertainty, the required documentation standards, and the full EICAT assessment process.
The EICAT Authority is the governing body co-ordinating the overall EICAT assessment process. The EICAT Authority comprises of individuals who may have remits relating to specific taxonomic groups or geographic regions. Most members of the EICAT Authority are members of the IUCN Invasive Species Specialist Group, but they may also be members of other SSC specialist groups, independent networks or other organisations.
The roles and responsibilities of the EICAT Authority include:
- Coordinating the EICAT assessment process
- Carrying out EICAT assessments
- Ensuring that at least one independent Reviewer who was not an Assessor or Contributor for an EICAT assessment agrees with the outcomes of that assessment
- Reviewing EICAT assessments
- Ensuring that all required supporting documentation is submitted with an EICAT assessment
The Chair of the EICAT Authority is nominated by the Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, and acts as the overseer and co-ordinator for official IUCN EICAT activities. The Chair acts as the point of contact for the submission of EICAT assessments, and for interactions, between the EICAT Authority, EICAT Unit and other IUCN structures, including the IUCN Red List Committee (that oversees the analogous Red List of Threatened Species process), other SSC Specialist Groups, and the office of the Chair of the Species Survival Committee.
The roles and responsibilities of the EICAT Authority Chair include:
- Initiating the consistency checking process of EICAT assessments submitted
- Overseeing the reviewing process of EICAT assessments
- Delegating the processes to other members of the EICAT Authority
- Final acceptance of EICAT assessments following the formal review process.
Current members of the EICAT Authority are:
Sabrina Kumschick, EICAT Authority Chair, Centre for Invasion Biology, Stellenbosch University and South African National Biodiversity Institute, South Africa
Helen Roy, UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, UK
Jonathan Jeschke, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Montserrat Vilà, Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC) and University of Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Petr Pyšek, Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Průhonice & Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Piero Genovesi, Chair of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group, and Head of Wildlife Service with ISPRA, Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, Italy
Sandro Bertolino, Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Italy
Sven Bacher, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Thomas Evans, Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB) and Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
Tim M. Blackburn, Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, University College London, and Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, UK