Non-native invasive species are organisms that have become established outside of their natural range and are having a negative impact on the structure and biodiversity of their new environment. They are one of the biggest threats to global biodiversity second only to habitat loss.
Here at the Lough Neagh and Lower Bann Wetlands we are committed to tackling the problem of non-native Invasive species. An Invasive Species Officer has be appointed to work with the advisory committees to establish comprehensive work programs and management guidelines for the control of invasive species within the Lough Neagh area.
Non-native Invasive species found in the Lough Neagh Wetlands Include;
Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum
Giant hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Japanese hogweed Fallopia japonica
Himalayan balsam Impatiens glandulifera
Water Fern Azolla filicloides
New Zealand pygmy weed Crassula helmsii
Floating pennywort Hydrocotyle ranunculoides
Zebra mussels Dreissena polymorpa
Fresh water shrimps Gammarus pulex, Crangonyx psuedogracilis & Gammarus tigrinus
All of the above species are having a negative impact on the Lough Neagh wetlands whether it be through direct competition with native species or by altering the wetland habitat to the detriment of our native species.
As well as affecting our biodiversity invasive species can also adversely affect our local economy and, in the case of giant hogweed, can be hazardous to humans. Over the next 18 months we hope to work closely with invasive species experts, government and non-government organisations and the local businesses and communities to implement our Non-native invasive Species Action Plan which is currently available to view as a draft document. Please submit any comments about the action plan by email to Seamus Burns, Lough Neagh Wetlands Biodiversity Officer at email@example.com before 3pm on Friday 21st December 2007 .