Alien invasion

Helen Roy, Centre for Ecology and Hydrology

We live in a rapidly changing world. There is nothing new about species moving from place to another, sometimes over very large distances, but the pace at which this is happening now is unprecedented. Over the last few decades we have seen a rapid increase in the number of species introduced by humans from one region of the world to another – and there is no sign that this is slowing. Many of these so called non-native species will simply live alongside other species within their new homes with little or no effect on the existing communities. But about 10% will cause some kind of problem to biodiversity, society or the economy and these are termed invasive non-native species.

The Asian hornet (Vespa velutina). Photo: Charles J Sharp via Wikimedia Commons

There are many ways in which people can help limit the spread of invasive non-native species – whether through ensuring they are familiar with biosecurity recommendations or reporting sightings of species of concern. So, for example, the Asian Hornet was accidentally introduced into France in 2004 and was recently spotted in the UK. However, rapid action was taken to eradicate it and people across the UK are now on the lookout for this species – reporting couldn’t be simpler – there’s even a free app “Asian Hornet Watch”.


Read more about the Asian Hornet:

Find out about other non-native invasive species:


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