In GCSE Geography students will look at the negative effects that invasive, non-native species of both plant and animal have on an established ecosystem. Most of them have been introduced by humans, either deliberately or accidentally, so it is therefore our collective responsibility to try to control the problems caused. This quiz looks at those effects and also some possible methods of lessening their impact.
In 2014 the European Union ratified an agreement to remove the most invasive species out of the entire European area. This included species of plant such as Japanese knotweed, and animals like grey squirrels, muntjac deer and pond slider turtles. The total cost of invasive non-native species to the British economy is estimated at £1.7 billion annually, and worldwide is around 5% of annual production.
An invasive, non-native species is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread and causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. The intention is for the worst species to be removed entirely, limiting their spread back into the EU. However, many of the vectors (such as ballast water of ships - which often contains micro-organisms) are still a risk, meaning that measures have to be put in place.
Some people are arguing that, whilst many of the more exotic animals (such as racoons and certain species of chipmunk) are going to be outlawed, other animals that are equally invasive and destructive, are unregulated as of yet in the EU.
It is estimated that worldwide non-native, invasive species have caused 40% of all extinctions. In Europe 10 new invasive species are thought to become established each year. In the UK £13.9 million worth of damage and around 12 deaths a year are caused by collisions between cars and wild deer, many of which are non-native invasive species.
It’s worth knowing some of these figures to allow you to give precise answers to the longer answer questions in exams.