Stop the spread

Be plant wise by not moving pond plants around. Even tiny plant fragments can lead to massive problems, so be careful when maintaining your pond and disposing of waste water. Any waste water should be emptied away from streams, rivers, ponds, lakes and lochs, or drains that flow into them. You could use the excess water on the lawn or to water plants in your garden.

Why is the issue important?

Whether you are interested in the environment or not, the problems caused by invasive non-native species affect us all. For a start, they cost us billions of pounds - it has been estimated that they may cost as much as £2 billion every single year in Britain alone.

But invasive non-native species are not only an economic problem, they are also a well known threat to our environment. From challenging the survival of our rarest species to damaging some of our most sensitive ecosystems, the biodiversity impacts of invasive non-native species are severe and growing. Their impact is now so significant that they are considered to be one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide.

It's not just our wildlife that suffers, invasive non-native species can also have an impact on the way we live. For example, if invasive aquatic plants become established in the wild they can clog our waterways, exacerbate flooding, disrupt the navigation of boats, interfere with recreational activities (such as fishing), and remove oxygen from the water, which can harm fish.

It's also important to remember that the effect of an invasive non-native species is not a one off event. Once a species has been introduced the persist and escalate as the species spreads further. If we don't act, the problem of invasive non-native species will continue to escalate at an ever increasing rate, causing us to feel more of the impacts and incur more cost every year.

2010 has been declared the International Year of Biodiversity by the United Nations - the year that celebrates the diversity of life on Earth, including every plant, animal and micro-organism. In the UK, IYB has over 200 partners ranging from universities, media organisations and museums to theatre companies and artists. They have come together to promote the understanding of biodiversity during the International Year of Biodiversity. "Be Plant Wise" is one of a series of activities which Defra is working on during 2010 to highlight the issue of biodiversity. For more information on the Year of Biodiversity please go to www.biodiversityislife.net.

Link to websites where you can find out how you can help in your area

There are many projects around the country that are tackling invasive species in their local areas. Use the following link to find out about projects in your area or to add your project to our database.

Plantlife is a charity working to protect Britain's pond plants as well as other wild flowers and plants, fungi and lichens in the habitats in which they are found. Plantlife's website gives you advice on how you can help.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair's "Muck in 4 Life" campaign enables you to find out how you and your family can volunteer to help the environment.

Otherwise try:

In Scotland:

In England:

Charlie Dimmock is supporting the Be Plant Wise campaign by encouraging pond owners to compost unwanted pond plants.

Female gardener sat by pond holding weeds in hand

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark