How to deal with invasive species damaging Aberdeenshire's native wildlife and habitats

A redesigned website is providing advice and information of identifying and reporting invasive species.

Monday, 22nd March 2021, 6:10 am
Invasive species of plants can pose a risk to Aberdeenshire's environment.

The North East Non-Native Invasive Species (NESSIS) Forum hosted its third meeting in a virtual environment last week, with presentations covering the valuable input that local communities can make to its work and the need for perseverance to fully get on top of invasive species.

NENNIS is working diligently with community groups to help them to record and control invasive plants – and being aware of where invasive non-native species are is an important first step in tackling this problem.

The recently redesigned website – nennis.org – provides access to information on those invasive species most likely to be encountered in the North-east and gives tips on identifying them and how to report them.

The website also provides a resource for communities, groups and individuals who wish to control invasives by providing a wealth of advice on regulations, control methods and safe dispose of plant material.

Many of the plants we grow in our gardens are not native to the local area. These plants don’t generally cause a problem when well managed, but if they are moved or allowed to spread, they can become established in woodlands and natural grasslands, and can outcompete the native flora.

The advice on the NENNIS website encourages gardeners – especially those whose gardens are close to natural habitat – to think carefully about what they plant where and how they dispose of garden waste.

Invasive non-native species remain one of the biggest threats to our native wildlife and habitats – the main culprits being giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, and Japanese knotweed, with skunk cabbage, pirri-pirri bur and butter bur causing problems in some areas.

Animals can displace native species by competing with them for food or by preying on them, while invasive plants can be very damaging to the local environment.

They often shade out the native plants, cause erosion of riverbanks and damage structures.

Such invasive species are very costly to the economy and can pose a risk to our health and way of life.

One of the key elements of the NENNIS project was the establishment of a North East Invasive Species Forum to provide a mechanism for sharing good practice and experience, and to provide better co-ordination of invasive control work.