By Carolina Torres Trueba, International Legal and Administrative Manager, Island Conservation

Islands are a focal point in the global biodiversity crisis. Despite making up only 5 percent of the planet, they have seen 61 percent of all recorded extinctions since the 1500s and are home to 40 percent of all vertebrates that are currently considered to be critically endangered. The human introduction of invasive animals to islands — particularly mammals like rats, cats, and goats —has had devastating consequences, including the extinction of local species and extensive habitat damage.

Juvenile Antipodean Albatross in the Antipodes Islands. Photograph: Island Conservation

A new paper released by Island Conservation and colleagues across the globe, titled "The Global Contribution of Invasive Vertebrate Eradication as a Key Island Restoration Tool", shows that eliminating invasive species from islands is one of the most effective tools to halt and reverse biodiversity loss in these areas. The paper is the first compilation of all documented pest eradications on islands around the world. The Database of Island Invasive Species Eradications (DIISE), a publicly available dataset, was used to compile almost one hundred years' worth of attempts to eradicate invasive vertebrates from nearly one thousand islands. The investigation discovered an 88 percent success rate, revealing the impact and potential of invasive species eradication as a tool for biodiversity conservation.