Most non-native species do not cause problems and some economically important species are not native to the island of Ireland. The focus of Invasive Species Ireland is on invasive species. Invasive species are species that have been introduced (deliberately or accidentally) by humans and have a negative impact on the economy, wildlife or habitats of Northern Ireland. After habitat loss, invasive species are the second biggest threat to biodiversity worldwide, and the biggest threat on islands.
Definitions for terms relating to invasive species that are used by Invasive Species Northern Ireland can be found on the website of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Our activities are the main cause of the arrival of invasive species. Many species are deliberately released, like species of fish for angling. Others have escaped from our gardens and farms like the American mink and giant rhubarb. Some arrive as hitch hikers and stowaways with imported goods or other species such as the the New Zealand flatworm.
Some facts from The Secretariat of the CBD
Many non-native species contribute greatly to our economies and society at large however, those species that do become invasive, and their genetic material, can have a major impact on biodiversity. Article 8h of the Convention on Biological Diversity requires signatories to ‘prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species’.