Latest News

China’s $1 trillion infrastructure project could encourage the spread of invasive bird and reptile species

Few infrastructure projects are grander or more ambitious than China’s Belt and Road initiative, which involves building a complex web of roads, railways, and sea routes across four continents and more than 70 different countries .

With a price tag of around $1 trillion, the project is more than an infrastructure investment. It’s a global play to integrate the economies of Asia, Europe, and Africa, with China at the helm. Once finished, it could alter the landscape of international trade, forming stronger alliances outside powerhouses like the US.

Click here to watch weekly episodes of our Housing Development Programme on AIT


It could also cause major damage to the environment, including the spread of invasive species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.

If that seems far-fetched, consider the results of a recent study published in Current Biology, which found that areas along the Belt and Road initiative are particularly vulnerable to an invasion of non-native animals.

To arrive at these predictions, the researchers looked at two factors.

Next, they examined what they called “introduction risks” things like trade, air travel, and maritime shipping that can transport an animal from one location to another.

“Ships often take on ballast water, which can transport aquatic organisms across oceans,” said Tim Blackburn, an author of the study. “These days, though, most species are deliberately moved around.”

READ MORE:  5 big challenges facing big cities of the future

Blackburn pointed to ra coons in Europe, which were once popular as pets, but either escaped or were released into new environments.Studies have shown that the transport of animals via infrastructure has been occurring for thousands of years , but has become more acute with the rise of globalization.

After combining these two factors, the researchers determined various “hotspots” that might witness an invasion of animals, while also providing suitable habitats for the non-native species to live. The majority of these hotspots were located along six economic corridors that make up the Belt and Road initiative.

The arrival of hundreds of invasive species is scary for a number of reasons.

In addition to threatening human health , invasive species like the African clawed frog and ship rat can wipe out native animal populations. Other species like the European starling can destroy crops . In 2012, the starling contributed to $189 million worth of damage to blueberries, wine grapes, apples, sweet cherries, and tart cherries in the US.

Each year, the US loses around $40 billion due to the harm posed by invasive species. Around the world, that damage amounts to trillions of dollars.

While the Belt and Road initiative aims to reduce trade costs, many nations have incurred debt trying to finance their portion of the project.

To prevent further economic hardship, the study’s authors recommend setting aside funds to hinder animal invasions. Other researchers insist that the only way to halt the spread is to limit human transport and trade.

“It’s hard to limit human activity in towns and cities,” said Blackburn. “What we actually need to do is to stop species from getting into new areas.”

READ MORE:  Rwanda secures US $80m to construct vocational schools

Source: Business Insider

Follow Us on Social Media
Previous ArticleNext Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WP Facebook Auto Publish Powered By :
Translate »
Share This

You have successfully subscribed to our newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Housing News will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.
%d bloggers like this: