Invasive species

Invasive non-native species costs the farming industry billions each year, causing devastating harm to biodiversity.

What’s going on?

Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) wreak havoc on biodiversity.

From strangling the successful growth of native plants and shrubs and infiltrating waterways to decimating native populations and changing the food chain, the damage can be disastrous.

Their introduction, whether intentional or otherwise, can have far reaching effects and also has financial costs to the detriment of the farming industry.

Many INNS are introduced via imports.

Accidental introduction is to be expected when we import and move such large quantities of organic matter as a routine part of the industry. And as the global food supply chain becomes ever more reliant on international trade, these instances become more commonplace.

This is also the cause of the spread of new diseases, such as Bovine TB and foot and mouth disease. Diseases that affect our crops and animals can decimate populations that have no resilience against them. And if the spread can be stemmed, the resulting costs to prevent future spread and outbreaks become absorbed by annual farming costs across entire industries.

For this reason, some also consider the pervasive monocrops and monocultures themselves to be INNS. Not only are they more susceptible to invasive disease, but the process of replacing diversity for one thing is so unnatural as to become a threat. So to can we see the removal of grazing from an animal’s diet.

INNS not only cause detriment to biodiversity on land, sea and in the air, they also increase issues of water management. Invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed cause blockages in waterways, which can result in flooding.

Polluting cruise ship in harbour

Get nature positive

Community action and a reinvigorated approach to biosecurity – using nature where possible – can minimise instances where INNS enter our ecosystems, and any introductions from taking hold.

Much of the positive change to counteract this threat to biodiversity centre in the investment in nature and specifically redressing existing balances in UK biodiversity – from replanting projects to reintroductions.

Inspired by steps agricultural companies are already taking, we’ve compiled suggested actions to help you on your journey to getting nature positive.             

 

[i] Hill, L., Jones, G., Atkinson, N., Hector, A., Hemery, G. and Brown, N., 2019. The £15 billion cost of ash dieback in Britain. Current Biology, 29(9).