What are invasive species?
Any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.
Invasive species are also commonly referred to as 'Invasive Non-Native Species' (INNS) or 'Invasive Alien Species' (IAS).
Wales Resilient Ecological Network
The Wales Resilient Ecological Network (WaREN) will establish a framework for tackling invasive species across Wales. We will develop linkages between stakeholders who are taking action on invasive species, with existing projects such as the Our River Wellbeing project on the river Dee and Local Action Groups in Wales. Local Action Groups focus on reducing the risks and impacts of invasive species in their local area, for example through direct management.
WaREN will also increase public engagement to raise awareness of invasive species through effective science communication and sharing best practice.
Meet the WaREN team
Tomos Jones - Project Manager
Tomos is responsible for ensuring that this ambitious project is delivered and an invasive species strategy is developed for Wales. Tomos’ particular interest is in identifying ornamental plants that might escape gardens and become invasive in the wild. That is the focus of his PhD at the University of Reading. A native of Anglesey, he is passionate about engaging the public in environmental issues in Wales and in science communication.
Jess Minett - Project Officer (south)
Jess is based at the Wildlife Trust of South & West Wales and will be engaging with stakeholders and Local Action Groups across south and mid-Wales. Jess has previously worked with invasive brown trout in the Falkland Islands as part of her research at Swansea University and the South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute. She is passionate about tackling invasive species and conserving native fauna as her PhD aimed to provide conservation managers with information to minimise impacts of brown trout on native species.
Max Jones - Project Officer (north)
Max is the WaREN Project Officer for north and mid-Wales based at the North Wales Wildlife Trust. He will be engaging with stakeholders and Local Action Groups across north and mid-Wales to ensure that WaREN is collaborative and sustainable. Max’s passion is his study of reptiles. He studied an introduced population of Aesculapian snakes at The Welsh Mountain Zoo. More recently he was involved with a project in Thailand studying native Burmese pythons, which he hopes will aid its future management as an invasive species in Florida.
Why is this important?
Invasive species are one of the main threats to biodiversity globally. They have negative impacts on our environment. For example:
- Competition for resources such as light and water
- Predation on native species
- Carrying new diseases
- Hybridisation - where invasive species breed with closely related native species
Invasive species can also impact on human health and the economy. For example, they were estimated to cost Wales at least £125 million in 2010, a cost which is likely to be increasing. There is information here on current alert species and how to report them.
How can you help?
If you are involved in a Local Action Group tackling invasive species anywhere in Wales, please get in touch with one of the Project Officers. We are collating a list of Local Action Groups to improve collaboration and to gather experiences across Wales.