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The damage caused by invasive species imposes enormous costs on the forests of the Asia-Pacific region in terms of ecological destruction, economic losses and detrimental social effects. Overall losses associated with invasive species in many countries are estimated to account for around 1 percent of GDP, with the United States of America, for example, sustaining losses estimated at US$137 billion per year. Forest losses comprise a significant portion of this.

Based on a recommendation made at the 19th session of the Asia-Pacific Forestry Commission, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, the Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Conference was organized and convened in Kunming, China. The importance of invasive species issues was underscored by the large number of participants that attended the conference and the broad international support given to the conference by a number of organizations. More than 136 participants from 20 countries attended the conference, which included field visits to various sites in Yunnan Province, where challenges posed by invasive species are being addressed.

One of the most important messages highlighted by the conference is that invasive species are an issue of global concern, which no single country can adequately address alone. The enormous synergies available through international cooperation were clearly understood by participants, who recognized that cooperation is essential in narrowing incursion pathways, as well as in triggering early response measures, and ensuring effective monitoring and control strategies.

The benefits of formalizing the information-sharing process among Asia-Pacific countries were underlined by a core recommendation to form an Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network and an associated Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Working Group. The Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Conference was based on the premise that success in developing and implementing solutions for invasive species can be achieved only by forming strong collaborative partnerships within and among countries. The establishment of a new Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network is therefore expected to be a major step forward in meeting the challenges posed by invasive species in the region.

This publication represents one element of ongoing efforts to promote sustainable forest management in the Asia-Pacific region and is composed of summaries of the technical presentations and the country reports submitted by the participants. It is hoped that this publication will provide valuable assistance to those responsible for formulating and implementing policies related to forest invasive species.

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and Regional
Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Kang Le
Bureau of Life Science and Biotechnology
Chinese Academy of Sciences

Zhu Lieke
Deputy Administrator
State Forestry Administration of China

Valdis Mezainis
Director of International Programs
USDA Forest Service

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