Many non-native species exist within our ecosystem without harming our native species. Most crops in agriculture are non-native species or genotypes. Non-native fish are stocked in reservoirs to provide sport. However, some non-native species may become invasive and problematic.
Invasive non-native species (INNS) can transform ecosystems and threaten native species by direct predation, spreading of disease or simply out-competing them for habitat and food resources as well as changing habitat (eg soil type). Non-native species also affect economic interests such as agriculture, forestry, infrastructure and leisure pursuits.
Through our River Watch groups we have a growing number of local groups of active volunteers who are the eyes and ears of the Trust on the ground. They are an invaluable source of information on the river and the wildlife of the Tyne Catchment, particularly in tackling the identification and eradication of invasive species. For example, with data collected by volunteers, we can make a case for funding to deal with American skunk cabbage – the latest Tyne invader.
We have an ongoing programme of invasive non-native species management, focusing on invasive plants, such as Japanese knotweed, and Himalayan balsam on riverbanks, but also crusading for the use of good practice for protecting in-river native species such as white clawed crayfish.
To find out what you can do to stop the spread of invasive species, see Check Clean Dry.