Our environment

 Our native plants and animals suffer
Native Red Squirrel suffering from squirrel pox
Invasive non-native species can severely impact our native plants and animals.  While this impact is more acutely felt on smaller islands, such as those around the north and west of Scotland, they can also affect species on mainland Britain. 

These are some of the ways that native species can be affected:
  • Native species such as our native Water Vole may become the prey of invasive non-natives.
  • Invasive non-native species can spread disease to our natives, such as with Red Squirrel and White Clawed Crayfish.
  • Invasive non-native species can out-compete natives for resources such as food and space.

[picture: native Red Squirrel suffering from squirrel pox]
The health of our natural ecosystems is being driven into decline
Pond being taken over by Australian Swamp-stonecrop
Invasive non-native species can have serious impacts on entire ecosystems.  They can interfere with the important interactions between plants and animals within a system by affecting among other things the availability of resources, habitat and predators.

Examples include Australian Swamp-stonecrop, which can smother ponds and lakes, modifying the plant community and therefore the animal community that would have originally been supported. Or the Common Carp, a fish that rolls when feeding, often on the bottom of ponds and lakes.  This increases the amount of silt in the water, blocking light and inhibiting the growth of submerged plants.

[picture: pond being taken over by Australian Swamp-stonecrop]
We lose the natural beauty of our countryside
Rhododendron in Snowdonia National Park
While many invasive non-native species are found in close association with the urban environment, they can become problems in the wider countryside as well.  Plants such as Rhododendron and Cherry Laurel often invade into areas of natural beauty and, where they do, can alter the characteristics and aesthetics of an area.

Even in urban environments, invasive non-native species can be aesthetically detrimental.  Ponds clogged with invasive water plants can reduce their appeal and some species, such as Japanese Knotweed, can encourage deterioration in the built environment.

[picture: Rhododendron in Snowdonia National Park]

Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark