Biology

The invasive species threat from China's Belt and Road Initiative

China's ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, a program to fuse Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks, has the potential to forever alter the biodiversity of key habitat on multiple continents, a new study warns.

Why it matters: By connecting regions through large infrastructure projects — including ports, railways and telecommunications networks — scientists fear the project could accelerate the spread of invasive species. Such species, once established in a region, could harm biodiversity in ways that are difficult to impossible to reverse.