Invasive Species

ramonmercado

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I think an Invasive Species thread is required, OOPA & OOPP don't quite fit the bill.

Report tracks threats from Europe's alien invasion
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21509016
By Mark Kinver
Environment reporter, BBC News

Japanese knotweed, a widespread invasive plant, is classified as a controlled waste under UK legislation

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Invasive alien species pose a greater risk to Europe's biodiversity, economy and human health than previously thought, a report has concluded.

The European Environment Agency (EEA) has compiled a list of 28 invaders that highlight the range of threats facing ecosystems in the continent.

Non-native species, such as food crops, can also be beneficial, the study adds.

The reports have been published ahead of a high-level meeting at the European Parliament to discuss the issue.

It is estimated that there are more than 10,000 non-native species in Europe, of which at least 15% are deemed to be "invasive", which are organisms that are known to have negative ecological or economic impacts.

Invasive alien species (IAS) are considered to be one of the main threats to biodiversity, explains EEA executive director Prof Jacqueline McGlade.

"In many areas, ecosystems are weakened by pollution, climate change and [habitat] fragmentation," she says.

"Alien species invasions are a growing pressure on the natural world, which are extremely difficult to reverse."

'Major threat'

The report, The Impact of Invasive Alien Species in Europe, lists the various impacts.

Continue reading the main story

Alien invasion hits the UK
"Competition, predation and transmission of diseases between alien and native species are frequent and can pose a major threat to native species," the authors observe.

"Alien species may also affect ecosystem services, which in turn can have an impact on human well-being."

One species whose spread and impact has been well documented is Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica).

It can reach four metres in height, growing up to 30cm in a day. Its powerful root system can reach depths of three metres into the soil and spread up to 20 metres, making it almost impossible to eradicate once it becomes established.

The report says the plant forms dense stands and squeezes out other plant species and outcompetes native plants, resulting in a botanical "monoculture".

The publication adds: "The rhizome system of knotweeds can seriously damage infrastructure, such as buildings, river bank stabilisations and water channels, railway tracks and roads, and construction land.

"By disrupting the integrity of flood defence structures, the risk of flooding is increased."


The Asian tiger mosquito is a more direct threat
An IAS that poses a direct threat to human health is the Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), which has been linked to the transmission of more than 20 human pathogens, including yellow fever and dengue.

The species is an "aggressive daytime?biting insect" and its distribution has spread rapidly in western and southern Europe over the past two decades.

On Thursday, Czech MEP Pavel Poc is hosting an event at the European Parliament in Brussels that will look at ways to tackle the threat posed by IAS.

Organised by conservation groups IUCN and Birdlife, the high-level debate at the European Parliament in Brussels will consider measures that could be taken within the EU policy framework to mitigate the present and future threats from invasive alien species.

The EEA report warns that the increasing growth of good and people around the globe could see the "number and impact of harmful IAS in Europe may grow significantly in the future".

It adds that changes to the climate may provide opportunities for IAS to proliferate and spread.

"In this situation, some IAS might initiate complex, unpredictable cascades of effects," it warns.

The EEA suggests that the best way to tackle the threats posed by invasive species was through a "combination of preventative measures, early detection and rapid response to incursions, with permanent management only as the last option".
 

ramonmercado

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I think its time for an Invasive Species topic. These sort of stories are a misfit in Out Of Place Animals.

URBAN LADYBIRDS

ENGLAND: Invasive harlequin ladybirds which have spread rapidly through the UK in the last decade are “city slickers” that prefer urban areas, a study suggests.

Many people will have found the ladybirds, originally from east Asia and larger and more voracious than their UK cousins, clustered on windowsills in winter.

Now research suggests the harlequin’s ability to over-winter in buildings and eat a wide range of prey has allowed the species to establish itself rapidly in towns and cities.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/world/quir ... 91179.html
 

ramonmercado

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Britain on brink of freshwater species 'invasion' from south east Europe

Date: October 13, 2014

Source: University of Cambridge

Summary:
New research shows multiple invasive species with the same origin facilitate each other's ability to colonize ecosystems. By studying how these species interact as well as current population locations, researchers believe that Britain is heading for an 'invasion meltdown' of freshwater species from south east Europe.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 090605.htm
 

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Eponastill

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My college tutor has a theory about invasive species that suggests the whole topic is a bit fortean. He says that although there is much hysteria in the press (and also legislation) about species like himalyan balsam and australian stonecrop - there isn't actually a scrap of scientific research that's been done that shows that they are the monsters they're depicted as (for example, that they cause the loss in biodiversity that they're accused of).

I'm not denying that some species can cause problems (African land snails, cats on small islands, and those wretched american crayfish come to mind).

But there's something about the knee-jerk reaction to INVADERS that smacks of other fears about Foreigners and indeed Aliens.

I'm wondering whether it'd make a good dissertation...
 

ramonmercado

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You have your own knee-jerk attack on cats! How dare you!
 

RyoHazuki

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I remember being slightly outraged when I read about the Tasmanian authorities having a 'license' to shoot any stray cat they see - until I read further into the situation and realised that they're trying desperately to preserve one of the last truly unique ecosystems left on the planet, which unfortunately happens to be mainly composed of species which make ideal cat-prey.
 

MercuryCrest

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Not to mention "those wretched American crayfish".

Do what we do: Eat 'em!
 

ramonmercado

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Alien invasion of knotweed takes root across nation

A parish just outside Cork City is one of many urban and rural communities under threat from an invasive alien species. Japanese knotweed is in the top 100 list of the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP) and has taken a grip on communities such as Glounthane. The knotweed plant has vigorously invaded natural habitats, hedgerows and waterways all over Ireland and pushed out our own native species, leading to huge areas of monoculture where no other species can survive and the biodiversity in the area is greatly reduced.

In recent years, over 3,000 reports of the troublesome plant have been filed by the National Biodiversity Data Centre from all over the country. Huge chunks of Leinster from Wicklow to south Kilkenny, along with most Munster and Ulster counties are affected. Data suggests the weed has taken root in over 550 areas of 10sq km and over 120 areas of 50sq km.

According to GISP’s mission statement: “The spread of invasive alien species — non-native organisms that cause, or have the potential to cause, harm to the environment, economies, or human health — is creating complex and far-reaching challenges that threaten both the natural biological richness of the earth and the well-being of our people.”

The knotweed has been identified in Ireland as one of the worst, and highest risk, invasive, non-native, species. The problem is, once established, it is extremely difficult to eradicate. ...

http://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/al ... 91558.html
 

Cochise

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Can there really be such a thing as an 'invasive species'? The world isn't naturally equipped with fences.

I suppose when they have been deliberately imported by humans they are (rabbits and cane toads in Oz spring to mind). But presumably all those isolated islands got populated somehow before humans were travelling about.
 

Monstrosa

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Except the sea does act as a natural fence in most cases. Accidental imports such as rats can be very devastating. Yes ecosystems change, and we haven't been able to see the extinctions that have occurred when a new species is introduced to an island. We also haven't seen the subsequent evolution of new species into the vacant niches. That doesn't excuse the accidental release of rats onto islands where there are no natural predators of the flightless birds. Some sea birds are unable to successfully nest due to the predations of said rats.
 

Cochise

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Yes, I see your point.

And I suppose that before ships a rat riding on driftwood would have starved on its way to an isolated island, or if it did reach it alive its unlikely it would have a breeding partner. So I can see the issue with land animals.

But vegetation and even some kinds of insects aren't really stopped by the sea - migrating birds and major storms move them or their seeds around as well as driftwood.
 

Ulalume

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Well, imported South American fire ants have certainly done some harm to our horned toads, among other things.
http://cdri.org/publications/nature-not ... n-trouble/

The fire ants overwhelmed the harvester ants, which are the horned toad's primary diet. When I was a kid, I remember horned toads and harvester ants in abundance. Now I can't remember the last time I even saw a harvester ant, let alone a horned toad.

That's aside from being a nuisance to humans, frying electrical equipment and having a nasty bite. Since there is no natural predator to the fire ant in this area, they've had to introduce some of their South American predators here to try to control them.

Anyway, where we live, it's easy to see how an environment can go wrong just by killing off native plants or livestock overgrazing, etc. It doesn't even take a generation to see the damage. The area is limestone karst, with only a few inches of soil on top. Very drought-prone. Screw around too much with the balance and it's at risk of being a wasteland. We already have an overpopulation of junipers which suck up more than their share of moisture, killing other plants and reducing the amount of water that can get to the underground aquifers. Actually introducing a species that can't be kept in check is even more damaging as it multiplies faster than it would in its natural habitat. Think of kudzu, etc. It really does choke out the other plants.

Watching out for your local wildflowers is a fairly good way to track the health of your environment. When your wildflowers go, something is destabilizing the balance. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a good native plant database for North American gardeners, BTW.
 

Cochise

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I did have a point but it seems to have been demolished :)

I just get slightly irritated with people thinking that any change in the environment is automatically a human responsibility. It isn't necessarily. Some years ago a fox swam to puffin island and slaughtered many of the puffins. Nothing to do with humans.

And I get even more irritated when people describe the changes as 'unnatural'. If you don't believe humans were created as a privileged species by some god than anything humans do is as natural as a bird's nest or a beaver dam.

None of the above means that I think we should behave irresponsibly - like for example continuing to destroy the rain forests while distracting everyone with other stuff.
 

PeniG

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Well, of course humans are the ultimate invasive species...if you want an example of a non-native species that adapts well and is even beneficial, look into cattle egrets. A massive storm blew them over to Texas in the early 50s, and they've settled in wonderfully. Everyone is happy with them.

The thing is that they fill a vacant ecological niche. They hang around cattle and eat their parasites. Now, we have plenty of cattle in Texas, but had no birds eating their parasites - now we do! Plus an additional waterbird that nests alongside other egrets and herons amicably, is preyed on by the same predators, and is adapted to eating similar foods in similar ways without outcompeting them for resources.
 

ramonmercado

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PeniG said:
Well, of course humans are the ultimate invasive species...if you want an example of a non-native species that adapts well and is even beneficial, look into cattle egrets. A massive storm blew them over to Texas in the early 50s, and they've settled in wonderfully. Everyone is happy with them.

The thing is that they fill a vacant ecological niche. They hang around cattle and eat their parasites. Now, we have plenty of cattle in Texas, but had no birds eating their parasites - now we do! Plus an additional waterbird that nests alongside other egrets and herons amicably, is preyed on by the same predators, and is adapted to eating similar foods in similar ways without outcompeting them for resources.
Symbiosis! Thats a good news story.

Actually thats the sort of thing National Geographic would love; if they haven't covered it then you should suggest it to them.
 

Bonebracket

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invasive species

I think that the concept of 'invasive species' flatly contradicts the concept of 'biodiversity'. Non-human creatures don't recognise national boundaries, and it is pretty silly to expect them to; mind you, both concepts are less than rational.
For example, take a look at the red squirrel, supposedly in danger of extinction due to the appearance of the grey squirrel. Even if the red were to go extinct in the UK - which it almost certainly won't - it is one of the world's most successful mammals, found all the way across Europe and Northern Asia. No danger of extinction there. To treat the greys as second-class citizens - as Prince Charles apparently does- is simply animal racism.
 

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Arise And Follow Charlie! Lets wipe out the greys!
 

Cochise

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Re: invasive species

Bonebracket said:
I think that the concept of 'invasive species' flatly contradicts the concept of 'biodiversity'. Non-human creatures don't recognise national boundaries, and it is pretty silly to expect them to; mind you, both concepts are less than rational.
For example, take a look at the red squirrel, supposedly in danger of extinction due to the appearance of the grey squirrel. Even if the red were to go extinct in the UK - which it almost certainly won't - it is one of the world's most successful mammals, found all the way across Europe and Northern Asia. No danger of extinction there. To treat the greys as second-class citizens - as Prince Charles apparently does- is simply animal racism.
I don't know about racism. But it does annoy me. There are red squirrel activists around here who go around poisoning grey squirrels - they poisoned the pair that used to live in the silver birch tree by my house. So now there are no squirrels here, red or grey. I like squirrels, back in Essex they were about the only wild animals you saw with any regularity, and whatever colour they are, some squirrels are better than no squirrels.
 

ramonmercado

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Re: invasive species

Cochise said:
Bonebracket said:
I think that the concept of 'invasive species' flatly contradicts the concept of 'biodiversity'. Non-human creatures don't recognise national boundaries, and it is pretty silly to expect them to; mind you, both concepts are less than rational.
For example, take a look at the red squirrel, supposedly in danger of extinction due to the appearance of the grey squirrel. Even if the red were to go extinct in the UK - which it almost certainly won't - it is one of the world's most successful mammals, found all the way across Europe and Northern Asia. No danger of extinction there. To treat the greys as second-class citizens - as Prince Charles apparently does- is simply animal racism.
I don't know about racism. But it does annoy me. There are red squirrel activists around here who go around poisoning grey squirrels - they poisoned the pair that used to live in the silver birch tree by my house. So now there are no squirrels here, red or grey. I like squirrels, back in Essex they were about the only wild animals you saw with any regularity, and whatever colour they are, some squirrels are better than no squirrels.
A good opportunity to reintroduce Red Squirrels. I'm sure your local UKIP branch will sponsor it.
 

Cochise

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The Red Squirrel people have tried. Seriously, there is something going wrong with the balance of the habitat round here, the mammalian wild life has virtually all disappeared and the only birds you now see are corvids or raptors.

Coming home late at night / early morning I used to see all sorts of animals crossing my track, badgers, pine martens / stoats, hares even - not now. And I'm not in an intensive farming area or anything.

I've lived here 17 years now and the change in the wildlife since we moved in is astonishing.
 

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Conservationists call for ban on 'Tree of hell' that threatens to damage native plants

Conservationists want an outright ban, but garden centres are reluctant to drop the fast grower

Dubbed the “tree of heaven” for its eagerness to reach up to the sky, Ailanthus altissima has become a favourite in many UK parks and gardens.

But conservationists are now calling for the “tree of hell” – as some have renamed this import from China – to be banned because of the threat it poses to native plants.

For, despite the angelic common name, it has a distinctly sinister side. The tree emits a poison to stop other species growing nearby, has a smell like rancid cashew nuts and sends out a mass of suckers that smother other plants.

However, despite such traits, the call for the tree to be added to the Government’s official list of banned, invasive species is likely to be fought vigorously by the garden-centre ...

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 18530.html
 

ramonmercado

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People in the Isle of Man have been asked to help "eradicate" an alien species of ladybird before it "damages the island's ecology". Harlequin ladybirds, bigger than most native species, have been found on the island for only the second time.

The Manx environment department warned domestic species could be damaged if the newcomers take hold on the island. Experts believe the Harlequin species, from Asia, could ultimately threaten the existence of 1,000 British species.

The 6-8mm long Harlequin ladybird, whose colour varies from yellow-orange to black, can have up to 22 spots. Their larvae are black with an orange. ...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-is ... n-29954694
 

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Stink bug pest 'could get to UK'

An agricultural pest dubbed the stink bug could establish itself within the UK, according to a scientist.
Entomologist Max Barclay said it was "it is only a matter of time" before the brown marmorated stink bug arrives in the country.
Two of the insects have already been found on imported timber headed for Britain.
The bug, which is native to the Far East, has already reached France and Germany.

Mr Barclay, from London's Natural History Museum, told the Daily Mail newspaper: "'I think the brown marmorated stink bug will establish a population here. It is only a matter of time.
"It will make its presence felt fairly quickly because it comes into people's homes in the autumn and winter."
Its name comes from the putrid stench it releases from its glands when threatened.

The insect was first found in the US in the late 1990s, but has now spread across much of the country. Since then, it has become a severe pest of fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants.
In recent years, corn and soybean growers have also experienced losses due to the bug.

Chris Malumphy, senior entomologist at the UK government's Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) told the magazine Horticulture Week: "We have done a risk assessment. There is evidence the bug would be able to establish in the south of England.

"In North America, it reaches plague proportions and there are records of hundreds or even a thousand in people's houses. :shock:

"I don't expect plague proportions here but they make an evil, repellent odour to ward off predators, so a large number of bugs coming into your house is a rather compelling public nuisance."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-29990334
 

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I remember going on a bicycle ride with my mate in '85 through Wychnor Park in Staffordshire. It was a nice sunny day and as we passed a large field, we cycled into an enormous swarm of stunning electric blue may fly dragonflys. They were moving very slowly and all in the same direction which was a bit surreal at the time .. I now expect it was because they were all heading to the large lake in the same direction/destination. Us two being two typical boys on BMX bikes had great fun swatting them out of the sky and running them over :roll: .... in season, the same area also had mass invasions of new born tiny frogs but they were a bit harder to pick out of your tyre treads.
 

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Recycled1 said:
Swifty, that's awful! :cry:
Yeah I know with the dragon fly thing, we were 12 year old little shits .... the squished frogs were unavoidable though unfortunately .... the long road was blanketed with them :cry: ....

That summer was so hot, when we found flattened toads baked dry on the road, we'd use them as frisbys! ..... again, we were only 12 yeas old sorry ..
 
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