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November 3, 2009

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Alien species invasion proves costly problem

CHINA is threatened by more than 400 invasive alien flora, fauna and bacteria species, which have caused billions of yuan in economic losses, a senior agricultural official said yesterday.

"We have discovered more than 400 harmful species alien to the country," said Wan Fanghao, vice director with the Research Center for Invasive Alien Species Prevention and Control of Ministry of Agriculture.

"More than 100 of them are widespread in the country and have caused great losses."

Wan made the remarks at the ongoing International Congress on Biological Invasion in Fuzhou in eastern China's Fujian Province.

More than 500 experts from 50 countries and regions around the globe are attending the congress.

Wan said the situation in China was severe. "Due to these invasive alien species, China is suffering a direct economic losses of at least 50 billion yuan (US$7.3 billion), while the total economic losses are about 130 billion."

Statistics showed that more than half of the 100 dangerous alien species listed by the World Conservation Union have been found in China.

Chen Wanquan, vice head of the Institute of Plant Protection of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said China has invested millions of dollars in tackling the problem.


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