Dataset Open Access

Distribution of invasive alien species of Union concern (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014) for the reporting period 2015-2018

Adriaens, Tim; Verreycken, Hugo; Coupremanne, Maxime; Branquart, Etienne; Barbier, Yvan; Latli, Adrien; Devisscher, Sander

Contact person(s)
Beck, Olivier; Slootmaekers, Dan
Data manager(s)
Stefens, Anke; Mahieu, Filip; Van Roeyen, Koen; Gielen, Josse; Gielen, Karin; Seynaeve, Adriaan; De Vlaeminck, Rebecca; Van Loy, Hans; Gouwy, Jan; Van Landuyt, Wouter; Brosens, Dimitri; Van Hoey, Stijn; Boets, Pieter

Aims and scope

Member State authorities are required to report on the distribution in their territory of each of the invasive alien species (IAS) of Union concern. These are species with documented biodiversity impacts sensu the European Union Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of Invasive Alien Species in Europe (IAS Regulation No 1143/2014) (European Union 2014). This distribution represents the official reporting under Article 24(1) of R.1143/2014 on invasive alien species for the period 2015–2018. Baseline distribution of these species has previously been reported and published (Adriaens et al. 2018, ).

Data were compiled from various datasets holding invasive species observations such as data from research institutes and research projects (9%), citizen science observatories (68%) and a range of other sources (23%) such as governmental agencies, water managers etc. More specifically the dataset includes:

  • The citizen science recording portals and which has a specific alert system for IAS where nature volunteers can report their observations (Adriaens et al. 2018);
  • Data from the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO), the Flemish government institute that coordinates N2000, WFD and BIrd Directive and IAS monitoring in the terrestrial, estuarine and freshwater environment;
  • Data from the Flemish Environment Agency which performs management of muskrat and invasive water plants in Flanders, gathered with a dedicated smartphone app since 2015;
  • Data from the Flemish provinces and Rato vzw that manage water plants, muskrat, giant hogweed etc.;
  • Some smaller datasets from cities;
  • Data from the Brussels Capital Region from the Brussels Environment data portal;
  • Plant inventories of the ‘contrats de rivière’ along watercourses in Wallonia, making use of a dedicated application to collect data directly from the field (fulcrum);
  • The government reporting portals for IAS of the ‘Observatoire wallon de la flore, de la faune et des habitats (Service Public de Wallonie)’;
  • Some validated data from specific datasets on gbif (iNaturalist, Natusfera, Naturgucker).

Data were normalized using a custom mapping of the original data files to Darwin Core (Wieczorek et al. 2012) where possible. Species names were mapped to the GBIF Backbone Taxonomy (GBIF 2016) using the species API ( The mapping was assisted by dedicated software (SMARTIE) which was specifically written for the purpose of aggregating IAS data from various sources. Appropriate selection of records was performed based on the cut-off dates (see data range) and record content validation (see validation procedure). Data were then joined with GRID10k layer Belgium based on GRID10k cellcodes (ETRS_1989_LAEA). The technical format is in line with the guidelines provided to the member states for the compilation of reports on Species Distribution (SD) of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern.

File description

The dataset contains a shapefiles (T1_Belgium_Union_List_Species.shp) with the distribution of the species of Union Concern at 10km2 (European Terrestrial Reference System projection - 1989 ETRS_1989_LAEA) level. The attributes table contains Cellcode (ETRS grid cell code) and Species (scientific name + authority).

Date range

The data reflects the distribution of the IAS of Union concern in Belgium in the first reporting period for the EU Regulation hence comprises observations of Union List invasive species between January 2015 (2015-01-01) and December 2018 (2018-12-31). 

Validation procedure

Record validation was performed to exclude dubious records, wrong identifications etc. This was done based on the IdentificationVerificationStatus field (to which validation information from original data were mapped) if available. In general, non-validated data were not considered. Data were validated in the original datasets based on evidence (e.g. pictures), on the observer’s experience, or based on a set of predefined rules (e.g. automated validation based on geographic filtering). Data from research institutes were generally considered validated. A few casual records of EU list species that were clearly planted were discarded manually. When the original dataset did not mention any validation status, records were not considered validated and therefore not taken into account unless for Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis, ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis, raccoon Procyon lotor, Siberian ground squirrel Tamias sibiricus, sacred ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus, Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiaca, Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera, giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum, muskrat Ondatra zibethicus and red-eared slider Trachemys spp. For these species, it was assumed all records were correct as they originate from dedicated sampling (E. sinensis) within research projects, were gathered by public bodies (e.g. muskrat), or represent species that are readily recognizable by people in the field. Data provided by EASIN in the care package and GBIF data were carefully checked.

A visual check was performed on the resulting distribution maps by representatives of the Belgian national scientific council on invasive alien species, an official consultative structure coordinating scientific input and data aggregation between Belgian regions and institutions with regards to technical implementation of the Regulation No 1143/2014 on invasive alien species.

Data providers

The providers of the invasive species data for this exercise (individuals and their respective organizations) are listed in the "data providers" section of the dataset metadata. Much of the primary occurrence data that formed the basis for this aggregated dataset will be published as open data on the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

Files (1.2 MB)
Name Size
5 Bytes Download
742.0 kB Download
380 Bytes Download
25.9 kB Download
1.4 kB Download
354.1 kB Download
21.9 kB Download
20.9 kB Download
  • Adriaens T, Groom Q, Vanderhoeven S, Davis A, Strubbe D, Reyserhove L, Desmet P, Oldoni D, D'hondt B (2018) Het belang van citizen science. Onderzoek, beleid en beheer rond invasieve uitheemse soorten. Natuur.Focus 2018(4): 185-193.

  • Adriaens, T. et al. (2018). Belgian baseline distribution of invasive alien species of Union concern (Regulation (EU) 1143/2014). Zenodo [Data set]

  • GBIF Secretariat (2016). GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Accessed via on 2017-01-26. doi:

  • Tsiamis, K., Gervasini, E.., Deriu, I., D`amico, F., Nunes, A., Addamo, A., De Jesus Cardoso, A. (2017). Baseline Distribution of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. Ispra (Italy): Publications Office of the European Union; EUR 28596 EN, doi:10.2760/772692

  • Wieczorek, J., et al. (2012). Darwin Core: an evolving community-developed biodiversity data standard." PloS ONE 7(1): e29715. doi:

All versions This version
Views 107107
Downloads 1616
Data volume 2.3 MB2.3 MB
Unique views 8585
Unique downloads 22


Cite as