LIFE project: Mitigating the threat of invasive alien plants in the EU
through pest risk analysis to support the EU Regulation 1143/2014

- Preparation of pest risk analysis on invasive alien plants -




The LIFE project IAP-RISK ‘Mitigating the threat of invasive alien plants in the EU through pest risk analysis to support the EU Regulation 1143/2014’ (project number LIFE15 PRE FR 001) ran from the beginning of 2016 to June 2018 with the aim of producing pest risk assessments on priority invasive alien plants of threat to the EPPO region. Within the project, EPPO was the coordinating body responsible for the management of the project and the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology was a project partner where they carried out modelling of the potential occurrence of a species within the region. The main objectives and outputs are detailed below.


For further information consult the IAP-RISK website



Prioritization of invasive alien plants

In this project the first objective was to determine which species had the highest priority for risk assessment. To achieve this experts from the Panel on Invasive Alien Plants and the LIFE Project Manager met for a three-day workshop to select 16 of the highest priority invasive alien plants from the EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants and a recent horizon scanning study. The selection of these species carried out by prioritizing 37 candidates using a modified current EPPO Prioritization Process to incorporate the requirements of the EU regulation no. 1143/2014. Modifications were required to prioritise the top 16 species in full compliance with the Regulation.


Read more about the amended prioritization process

Read more about the selection of the 16 high priority species 




Species Family Form Native range Present in EPPO region
Ambrosia confertiflora Asteraceae Erect perennial herb North America Israel
Andropogon virginicus Poaceae Perennial grass South and Central America France, Russia, Georgia
Cardiospermum grandiflorum Sapindaceae Annual or perennial vine-like climber Americas France (only in Landes and Alpes-Maritimes departments), Italy (mainland and the Island of Sicily ), Malta, Portugal (only in Madeira Island), Spain (only in Canary Islands: Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Gomera, La Palma)
Cinnamomum camphora Lauraceae Evergreen tree Asia France, Portugal, Spain
Cortaderia jubata Poaceae Perennial grass South America Absent from natural environment
Ehrharta calycina Poaceae Perennial grass South Africa Portugal, Spain, Tunisia
Gymnocoronis spilanthoides Asteraceae Emergent amphibious aquatic perennial herb South America Hungary and Italy
Hakea sericea Proteaceae Evergreen shrub or small tree Australia France, Madeira, Portugal, Spain
Humulus scandens Cannabaceae Herbaceous annual vine Asia Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Ukraine
Hygrophila polysperma Acanthaceae Rooted amphibious perennial herb Asia Austria, Germany, Poland, Hungary
Lespedeza cuneata Fabaceae Perennial herbaceous legume Asia Absent from natural environment
Lygodium japonicum Lygodiaceae Broadleaved, herbaceous perennial fern Asia Absent from natural environment
Pistia stratiotes Araceae Perennial floating aquatic macrophyte South America Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom
Prosopis juliflora Mimosoideae Woody shrub or tree Americas Algeria, Spain (Mainland and Gran Canaria), Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia
Salvinia molesta Salviniaceae Perennial floating aquatic fern South America Austria, Belgium, France (including Corsica), Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal
Triadica sebifera Euphorbiaceae Deciduous medium sized tree Asia Absent from natural environment



Conducting risk assessments on invasive alien plants

Objective and methodology

The main objective of the project was to conduct risk assessments on 16 invasive alien plants. The 16 species were paired into similar species (for example grass species or vines) and eight expert working groups were conducted at the EPPO Headquarters throughout the course of the project where experts on the species were invited carry out the risk assessments.


The risk assessment process followed the EPPO Express PRA Scheme, amended by the Panel on Invasive Alien Plants. In short, each PRA included an evaluation of the taxonomic description of the assessed species; actual and potential distribution of the species; an evaluation of pathways of entry; establishment and spread; impacts on biodiversity, ecosystem services and socio-economic impacts; species or habitats under threat; effects of climate change and pest risk management.


Current situation

In parallel to the ten invasive alien plant species (Ambrosia confertiflora, Andropogon virginicus, Cortaderia jubata, Ehrharta calycina, Hakea sericea, Humulus scandens, Lespedeza cuneata, Lygodium japonicum, Prosopis juliflora and Triadica sebifera) being considered for inclusion on the list of invasive alien species of list of Union concern, the PRAs were submitted to the EPPO Working Party on Phytosanitary Regulations (WPPR) which met in June 2018. The WPPR assessed the PRAs and subsequently approved them. These risk assessments will be sent to the EPPO Council in September 2018 for endorsement for listing. If approved, the PRAs will be included on the A1 or A2 list of pests recommended for regulation as quarantine pests.




Training and information dissemination

Training and information dissemination were important components of the LIFE project. 


Training workshops

Two training workshops were conducted within the remit of the project:

  • Training workshop 1: EPPO Prioritization Process for invasive alien plant species compliant with EU Regulation No 1143/2014 (2016-12-14/17) with the aim of providing participants with an understanding of the process of prioritizing invasive alien plants for risk assessment within the framework of the EU Regulation No 1143/2014.
  • Training workshop 2: EPPO Express PRA for invasive alien plant species compliant with the Regulation (EU) No. 1143/2014 (2017-02-14/17) with the aim of providing participants with an understanding of the process of pest risk analysis of invasive alien plants within the framework of the EU Regulation No 1143/2014.

In total 13 participants attended each training workshop where, combined with introductory lectures and practical exercises, participants learnt to prioritize and risk assess invasive plant species. In the prioritization workshop participants came prepared with a list of invasive species they wanted to assess for priority for risk assessment. During the second workshop participants were divided into three small groups where each group risk assessed one plant species. At the end of each training workshop the participants presented their results to all the participants at the meeting.


Information dissemination

Information dissemination allowed the outputs of the risk assessments to be conveyed to a wide audience. When a species is recommended for regulation, a datasheet is produced which details the output of the risk assessment. Currently datasheets are available for:


In addition, posters and leaflets have been produced for each species highlighting the risks of the species where they provide key information on the identification, habitats where they occur and their potential impacts. These documents are available via the IAP-RISK website for download and can be adapted to suit the needs of the user.