Invasive Non-Native Species (NNIS) of plants, insects, animals, marine life etc pose a tremendous threat to native biodiversity, causing severe negative environmental and economic impacts. It is one of the principle causes of biodiversity loss, thought to cost an estimated £2 billion in the UK and £1.4 trillion globally per year. Some species are harmful to human health and wildlife, others cause damage to infrastructure.
NNIS plants are classed as controlled waste and have varying restrictions revolving around their disposal. Most species can be effectively managed and eventually eradicated by taking appropriate control measures. This is typically achieved using a glyphosate-based herbicide. For some NNIS (such as Japanese knotweed) treatments on site will need to be repeated frequently, for several years and even then may only result in the plant being dormant in the ground and not entirely eradicated.
Further information on invasive plants can be found on the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) website and the GOV.UK Stop invasive non-native plants from spreading webpages.
Another major threat is the Asian Hornet, also known as the Asian Wasp. It is a highly effective predator of insects, including honey bees and other beneficial species and can cause significant losses to bee colonies, and potentially other native species.
Further information can be found on the British Bee Keeping Association website.
What to do if you discover a NNIS?
If you discover what you believe is a NNIS, you can check what the plant/animal/insect is by looking on the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat website ID sheets. You can record/report your findings by using the online reporting form, email or by post. There are also smart phone apps (iPhone and Android) available to download for a variety of NNIS watch groups.