Listed as an invasive species, Europe's population of rose-ringed parakeets continues to increase
Europe's towns and cities are particularly vulnerable to the threat posed by invasive species, say experts.
They say urban areas are at higher risk from invasive alien species (IAS) as a result of more transport links.
IAS are non-native plants or animals that have no natural
predators, spread rapidly and overwhelm an area's native flora and
Next week, the European Commission is expected to outline its plans to tackle the continent's invasive species.
"These non-indigenous species represent one of the main
threats to the world's biodiversity," explained Chantal van Ham,
European program officer for the International Union for Conservation of
"This threat is set to increase unless meaningful action is taken to control their introduction and establishment," she added.
"The problem is that invasive species take over resources and space from the indigenous species.
"Urban areas are quite vulnerable to these species. Often
they are introduced, for example, through the trade in plants but also
through accidental arrivals in ports and airports."
Participants will include local authorities, policymakers, NGOs and scientists.
"Municipalities or local authorities have a really key role
in possible action to reduce the risk of these species [becoming
established]," Ms van Ham told BBC News.
"But it is also important that local authorities have the support needed in order to take that action.
"What we aim to do with this conference is to bring together
experts - not only scientists but also different governmental levels and
NGOs to see how we can strengthen collaboration and exchange knowledge
on how to combat invasive species at the urban level."