16th May 2022
Tackling Invasive Alien Species, North and South!
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency and The National Biodiversity Data Centre jointly launch two new invasive species websites during Invasive Species Week 2022.
16th May 2022
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency and The National Biodiversity Data Centre are delighted to come together to jointly launch their two new invasive species websites ( www.invasivespeciesni.co.uk, and www.invasives.ie respectively), developed to provide information, guidance, and resources on Invasive Alien Species to users across the island of Ireland. The websites have been launched as part of Invasive Species Week 2022 – which runs from 16th to 22nd May and includes a range of online webinars, awareness campaigns and in person events.
Invasive alien species are animals, plants or pathogens that do not naturally occur in Ireland but are here because of human activity. These species are recognised as one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss. Preventing the introduction of new invasive species while also limiting the spread and impacts of those already established is fundamental to protecting our Ireland’s biodiversity.
Both websites are now live – users will find useful resources and information on invasive alien species – those that are present or widely established in Ireland and Northern Ireland already as well as new arrivals (through our alert species) and those we are concerned about arriving here in the near future.
While each website is targeted at their distinct jurisdiction (Northern Ireland and Ireland), they share key features including information on legislation and policy, identification guides for the most common invasive species, guidance on how to manage and address invasive species and ‘Species Alerts’ where users are alerted to the arrival of high-risk invasive species. Other functions of the websites include a ‘Report Sightings’ form where the public and key stakeholders can submit their own suspected sightings of invasive species. This feature is an important mechanism which facilitates early detection of invasive species and rapid response to their presence. The websites also provide links to species maps showing the distribution of invasive alien species in Northern Ireland and Ireland and (hosted by CEDaR/iRecord and National Biodiversity Data Centre respectively).
The websites will facilitate information sharing, not just between Ireland and Northern Ireland but across all eight administrations of the British Irish Council (an institution established to provide rum for consultation and co-operation on key work sectors.
The Council provides an opportunity for information sharing, collaboration, and co-ordination of action on invasive alien species. The National Biodiversity Data Centre and Northern Ireland Environment Agency join government bodies across eight administrations (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, UK, Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey). This is particularly important for alert species (i.e. those new to a jurisdiction) where once a high-risk invasive species is detected all eight administrations are notified so all parties can implement early detection measures and co-ordinate a rapid response. Invasive Species Week is supported by all eight British Irish Council (BIC) administrations. Council organisation’s are hosting a wide range of events and raising awareness of invasive species and their impacts throughout the week – each day has been assigned a specific theme to co-ordinate awareness raising across different habitat types, species groups and invasive species issues.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre and Northern Ireland Environment Agency will continue to work together closely North and South to address invasive alien species across the island of Ireland. The two websites will replace www.invasivespeciesireland.com which was created under an initiative of the same name ‘Invasive Species Ireland’ that ceased operations in 2013. Information and resources hosted on the website were no longer relevant or out of date. In response to this, over the last year the National Biodiversity Data Centre and Northern Ireland Environment Agency have been developing their own websites to provide the general public and interest groups with information that is up to date and relevant to their jurisdictions.
Speaking about the launch, Invasive Species Officers from the National Biodiversity Data Centre Martina O’Brien, and Colette O’Flynn said:
‘In recognition of the need to provide a centralised portal to information and distribution data on invasive species in Ireland, the National Biodiversity Data Centre are delighted to launch invasives.ie. Considering the shared threats to the island of Ireland from invasive species, we will continue to work closely with the NIEA on information sharing.’
Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) Officer, Rose Muir from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency added that:
“On the first day of Invasive Species Week 2022 it’s fantastic to be able to announce the launch of two new websites to take the place of the former www.invasivespeciesireland – in Northern Ireland www.invasivespeciesni.co.uk and in Ireland www.invasives.ie
As we have two separate databases for recording species (National Biodiversity Data Centre and CEDaR/iRecord) it makes sense to ensure the public know which organisation can make the most immediate use of their records, for example for high-risk rapid response incidents.
The public should also be aware that we still work closely together on a number of invasive species issues. After all invasive species need to be targeted on a complete biogeographical region, they don’t care about different administrations!”
Media Contact, Northern Ireland: Rose Muir, DAERA Invasive Species Team
Tel:: +44(0) 28 90569558
Media contact, Ireland: Martina O’Brien, National Biodiversity Data Centre
Mobile: + 353 (0) 861071413
Note To Editors
Invasive alien species
Invasive alien species (sometimes referred to as INNS Invasive Non-Native Species) are animals, plants or pathogens that would not naturally occur in Ireland but are here because of human activity. When introduced, they survive and thrive to the point of negatively impacting on our wildlife, on the services nature provides, on our economy, and the way we live.
Most alien (also known as non-native) species do not cause any harm and only a small proportion are considered to be invasive. These species can be introduced intentionally for many reasons such as planting in gardens, or to keep as pets but they may then disperse or escape. They may be intentionally released to the wild for hunting or food, although this is illegal. Invasive alien species can also arrive here accidently as hitchhikers on our vehicles, belongings or as contaminants on products.
There is an increasing trend of introduction of invasive alien species to Ireland, a trend seen globally that is linked to increased movements of people, goods and increased connectivity of our trade networks. The economic costs associated with invasive species are often substantial, eradication control and management programmes, measures introduced to limit spread and impacts, restoring damaged ecosystems and loss or disruption to the provision of invasive species good and services.
Since the 17th century invasive species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known. Invasive alien species can alter the structure and disrupt functioning of ecosystems. They have the capacity to change the composition of native biodiversity through a range of different ecological mechanisms.
Invasive Species Week 2022
Invasive Species Week Ireland:https://invasives.ie/what-can-i-do/invasive-species-week/2022-may/
Invasive Species Week Northern Ireland: http://invasivespeciesni.co.uk/invasive-species-week-2022/
Support on social media. You can find us on twitter at @BioDataCentre and @InvasNI where we’ll be posting throughout the week using the #INNSweek , #ReportInvasives #ReportINNSNI so please retweet or create your own posts using the hashtags to join the thread. @InvasiveSp is the official feed for the GB Invasive Species Week.
National Biodiversity Data Centre: is a national organisation for the collection, collation, management, analysis and dissemination of data on Ireland’s biological diversity. It works to make biodiversity data and information more freely available to better understand and assist the protection of Ireland’s biodiversity.
The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is an Executive Agency within the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The Agency’s primary purpose is to protect and enhance Northern Ireland’s environment, and in doing so, deliver health and well-being benefits and support economic growth.
Department of Agriculture Environment & Rural Affairs: is a government department in the Northern Ireland Executive, the devolved administration for Northern Ireland. The minister with overall responsibility for the department is the Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The Centre for Environmental Data Recording (CEDaR): is the Local Environmental Records Centre for Northern Ireland and its coastal waters, working in partnership with Northern Ireland Environment Agency, National Museums NI and the recording community.
The British Irish Council:
This institute was formed under the Good Friday Agreement, with wide-ranging objectives:
– To further promote positive, practical relationships among the people of the islands;and
– To provide a forum for consultation and co-operation.
The formal purpose of the Council as outlined in strand 3 of the agreement is “to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the peoples of these islands… the BIC will exchange information, discuss, consult and use best endeavours to reach agreement on co-operation on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the relevant administrations”. It provides a forum for collaboration across 12 distinct work sector groups and a number of sub-groups within these.
Ireland’s Invasive Species website: www.invasives.ie
Northern Ireland’s Invasive Species website:www.invasivespeciesni.co.uk
National Biodiversity Data Centre: www.biodiversityireland.ie/
Northern Ireland Environment Agency: www.daera-ni.gov.uk/northern-ireland-environment-agency
British Irish Council (invasive species): www.britishirishcouncil.org/areas-work/environment/invasive-non-native-species
Department of Agriculture Environment & Rural Affairs: www.daera-ni.gov.uk
Centre for Environmental Data and Recording: www2.habitas.org.uk/records/ISI