Animals and plants that have been introduced by man, either intentionally or unintentionally, to a place where they do not naturally occur are known as non-native species. Such species introduction is rising sharply, due to increased trade, transport and travel. Many of these species occur in Great Britain, where they are harmless or even of benefit, but a small proportion become invasive.
Invasive species may be bigger, faster growing or more aggressive than native species. They may also have fewer natural predators to control numbers. The native species are often unable to compete and fairly quickly the invasive species take over. Thus, the survival of vulnerable species is put in jeopardy, and damage is done to sensitive ecosystems. The impact of invasive species is now considered to be one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity.
Furthermore, invasive species cause damage not only to the environment, but also to the economy, our health and lifestyles. In Britain alone, invasive species cost around £1.7 billion a year; and the problem only escalates as the species spread further. Action must be taken to control invasive species or the impacts will be felt at an ever-increasing rate
What can you do
Don’t plant Hottentot Fig in your garden. Whilst the flowers are attractive, this will only add to the spread of this invasive species. Share the knowledge of the plant’s invasive nature, and the threat it poses to our delicate native plants.
The AWT will run Hottentot removal events throughout the year. These are essential if our valuable habitats are to be maintained. If you would like to get involved by volunteering, we would love to hear from you.