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    About the GISD


    The Global Invasive Species Database is a free, online searchable source of information about species that negatively impact biodiversity. The GISD aims to increase public awareness about invasive species and to facilitate effective prevention and management activities by disseminating specialist’s knowledge and experience to a broad global audience. It focuses on invasive alien species that threaten native biodiversity and covers all taxonomic groups from micro-organisms to animals and plants.

    The working language of the GISD is English, but there is information in other languages too. For non-English speakers, one option is to enter English text into an online translator such as A Japanese language version of the GISD is currently being developed in partnership with Biodiversity Network Japan (see

    The Global Invasive Species Database is now available in CD-ROM format. People can access invasive species information beyond the reach of the internet and out ‘in the field’ thanks to support from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF) with money from the Regional Natural Heritage Programme (RNHP).

    Global Register of Invasive Species (GRIS):
    Prevention is the most cost effective way of dealing with invasive species. Compilation of the names of known invasive species has the potential to help governments prevent the introduction of unwanted species. Scientifically based screening systems designed to predict invasiveness of taxa depend on records of their invasiveness - in fact the best predictor of invasiveness is invasiveness elsewhere. States are required to justify, using science, any restrictions imposed in movement of plants and animals since decisions can affect trade movement. Being able to point to one reliable source of information about invasive species could help in this regard.
    It is intended that GRIS will be that resource. ISSG developed a prototype GRIS with funding support from Defenders of Wildlife in Washington DC (thanks to Peter Jenkins), and bioinformatics and taxonomic support from Charles Copp of Environmental Information Management, UK (see ISSG's report). The prototype GRIS contains records of invasive taxa from 16 countries, and records from the GISD and other authoritative databases and scientific sources, such as global marine invasives (K.R. Hayes, CSIRO, unpublished data). With only 3 months work, the prototype already contains 38,606 geographic records for 16,051 taxa. Of these taxa, 1,453 species have records of invasiveness and 14,121 more taxa are considered potentially invasive according to sources that have conducted risk assessments. When we checked a list of 2,242 species imported to the U.S.A. in the period 2000-2004 according to government records, we found that 302 of these species (13.5%) were either invasive, potentially invasive, and/or disease risks somewhere in the world. You can read a summary of the Defenders of Wildlife report "Broken Screens" or download the full report.
    When completed and online, GRIS will be linked to comprehensive detailed species information in the GISD, to data sharing infrastructures such as the Global Invasive Species Information Network (GISIN) and to taxonomic name servers such a Species 2000, so that scientific names can be verified.
    GRIS will eventually contain the names of most of the world's known invasive species. Anyone will be able see if a particular organism has any records of invasiveness. The Global Register of Invasive Species will support pre-import screening for proposed imports.

    Global Management Project Register (GMPR):
    Biodiversity Managers and those responding to invasive species problems are often unaware of potentially useful information and data resources for managing biodiversity and it is difficult to access these resources. Many people are unaware of increasing successes in prevention, rapid response and management of invasive species. There is no one place where you can access information on invasive species management projects.
    The GMPR is a catalogue of invasive species management projects. It is designed to be easily accessible and useful to a broad audience. It will include narratives as well as data about all kinds of invasive species management projects, plus links to relevant GISD profiles. The GMPR will provide biodiversity managers with authoritative data for analysis, access to information about new techniques (including digitized information that would otherwise be unavailable on the Internet) and a resource that will help them network with other managers. The GMPR will also inform communities about invasive species management projects in their region, and the positive conservation outcomes of these projects, thus strengthening support for these activities.
    The GMPR will contain detailed records in 40 data fields including information on target and non-target species, factors relevant to success or failure of the project, methods used, recommendations, the contact details of project leaders as well as links to project related documents such as feasibility studies, field notes, technical reports, etc. The source of each case study record will be fully documented.

    Partners and supporters:
    The Global Invasive Species Database (GISD) is managed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. It was developed between 1998 and 2000 as part of the global initiative on invasive species led by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and is supported through partnerships with the National Biological Information Infrastructure, Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and the University of Auckland.
    Additional financial support has been provided by The Global Environment Facility (GEF), La Fondation d’Entreprise TOTAL, US Fish and Wildlife, The Pacific Development and Conservation Trust, New Zealand Aid and the Terrestrial and Freshwater Biodiversity Information System (TFBIS) Programme.

    GISD content is created or reviewed by experts:
    The life blood of the GISD flows from the generous contribution of invasive species information by ISSG members and invasive species specialists and programmes all over the world. They share their knowledge for the good of us all and their names appear as reviewers, principal sources and contact people on each species profile. The 800 unique visitors (50,000 hits per day) that consult the GISD every day reflect the importance of their work.

    Criteria for inclusion of species in the GISD:
    The Global Invasive Species Database focuses on invasive alien species that threaten native biodiversity. It covers all taxonomic groups from micro-organisms to animals and plants in all ecosystems. We have targeted some of the worst invasive species by consulting with international experts and analysing available data to identify species with serious impacts on biological diversity and/or human activities, and their illustration of important issues surrounding biological invasion. Funding from different sources has lead to a slight geographical bias in terms of species selected for treatment in the GISD, but searches on most of the world's countries return a good selection of invasve species with a good representation across taxa and across ecosystems.


    • 1996 Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) conferences in Montreal and Norway.
    • 1998 in San Mateo.
      • The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN, a founding partner in GISP, was assigned the leading role.
    • 1998, Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) of the IUCN.
      • Conduct extensive user analysis, evaluated existing invasive species information resources and begin the design process.
    • 1999, GISP Regional Workshop in Kuala Lumpur.
      • Concept for database was presented.
      • List of 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species.
    • 2000, GISP meeting in Cape Town, South Africa.
      • A working prototype presented.
      • GISP announces a decision to shift its focus from a centralised database, to a distributed network that would connect many different databases.
    • 2001, ISSG meeting in Auckland, NZ.
      • ISSG resolves to populate the GISD with core elements of invasive species information in order to raise awareness and facilitate prevention and management activities. Initial focus is on the 100 of the world’s worst IAS and on IAS in the Pacific.
    • 2002, ISSG signs a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Biological Information Infrastructure (NBII) of the US Geological Survey.
      • The MOU provides for a two-stage database enhancement programme as well as doubling the input of species information.
    • 2003, Progress report.
      • More than 100 profiles created and reviewed by experts. Profiles contain images and descriptions for a wide variety of invasive species, as well as information showing where they occur, how they travel, and the damage they can do. There is management information explaining how to control or eradicate them and the contact details of experts that can offer advice, plus links to numerous other sources of information.
      • The GISD receives 160 unique visitors per day (3000 hits/day)
      • The GISD supports a number of other invasive species database initiatives.
    • 2004, Progress report.
      • More than 200 profiles created. The GISD becomes a key part of the Cooperative Island Initiative (CII) infrastructure, and its content is used in training programmes (e.g. the SPREP invasive species training programme). The GISD receives numerous endorsements and congratulatory emails and visitor traffic reaches 30,000 hits/day.
      • Support for other invasive species database initiatives.
    • 2005, Progress report.
      • More than 350 profiles created and visitor traffic reaches 700 unique visitors per day (50,000 hits/day).
      • GISD staff, with the support of Jerry Cooper from Landcare Research, develop a draft Invasive Species Profile Schema for the Global Invasive Species Information network (GISIN).
      • Work begins on a Japanese language version of the GISD.
      • Deep links to the Red List and RAMSAR databases added where invasive species are identified as threats  


    User analysis (1997 - 2000): Sarah Lowe, Greg Sherley, Mick Clout
    Original design: Sarah Lowe, Michael Browne, Synergy International
    Art: Myles Lawford
    Database Manager (1997 - 2000): Sarah Lowe
    Database Manager (2000 - 2009): Michael Browne
    Species Information Manager: Shyama Pagad  
    Technical support: Digital Objects Ltd.

    With help and support from (in alphabetical order):
    Adam Thomas, Alan Saunders, Annie Simpson, Bernard Varaine, Bob Meese, Brian Steves, Carola Warner, Cliff Hawkins, Donna Roy, Fabio Corsi, Graeme Glen, Greg Ruiz, Greg Sherley, Ingo Narberhaus, James Harper, James Russell, Jean-Yves Meyer, Jerry Cooper, Jim Carlton, Jim Space, Jinfeng Zha, Julie Zhu, Laurie Neville, Maj de Poorter, Matiu Carr, Mick Clout, Pam Fuller, Peter Fraser, Philip Thomas, Reuben Hill, Rod Randall, Roy Haschenburger, Souad Boudjelas, Steven Bavin, Tom Moritz, Wendy Strahm and Wilco Liebregts.

    Student support from (in alphabetical order):
    Andrew Passarelli, Beth Pokorski, Chad Florstedt, Charles Warren, Christopher Chamberlain, Graham Surrey, Hamish Scott, Jennifer Rhemann, Jia Fu, Jia Ren, Joseph Ciucci, Kate Livingood, Kate Richardson, Matt Lee, Matthew Brinkman, Nicholas Kalen, Sarah Hoffmann, Sarah Muir and Sidharth Pagad.

    Thank you.

ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland