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If you’re interested in non-native species and their impact on the environment, and you’d like to learn more, this is the thing for you.
One of the very few parts of environmental work that the government has not cut back on recently is the focus on non-native invasive species. In fact, the establishment of the GB Non-native Species Secretariat has given considerable momentum to ongoing work to understand and control the species of animal and plant that cause problems when they spread invasively in the wild. Typical species that hit the headlines include Japanese knotweed, American mink and Himalayan balsam. But there are many others and lots to learn about them – like floating pennywort (shown above).
You can now sign up for a free online course, supported by government funding, to get an informal qualification in non-native species identification. This is actually quite a good idea, because one big issue with some of these species is that by the time they are widely known and recognised, it’s way too late. So if people are able to spot them before they become established, there is a much better chance of controlling them.
The online resources look pretty good, so do let us know if you try it, and what you think.