Invasive species cost China $14 billion a year

The rapid growth of China's economy has helped to establish non-native species in areas including the Three Gorges Dam, leading to potentially rampant environmental damage, Chinese and American researchers said in a new study.

The article in the journal Bioscience, titled "China’s Booming Economy is Sparking and Accelerating Biological Invasions", says more than 400 alien plants and animals are now considered invasive in China, including some that are causing serious harm.

A preliminary estimate puts China’s annual economic losses from invasive insects and plants at $14.5 billion.

Ecosystem disturbance around major construction projects such as the Three Gorges Dam has stimulated biological invasions of damaging plants such as broadleaf fleabane, alligator weed and water hyacinth. The recently completed Qinghai-Tibet railway is also thought likely to accelerate the spread of invasives.

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