Invasive species - Unwelcome visitors

SO much of the landscape we imagine as natural is manmade. There’s hardly a corner or vista in Ireland — much less Europe — that does not in some way reveal man’s presence or ambitions.

One of the unfortunate consequences of our efforts to change this world is the impact alien, non-native species can have.

Rhododendrons are covering mountainous areas of Ireland excluding all other forms of vegetation. Sitka spruce dominate many skylines. Grey squirrels are happily eradicating native reds. American mink hunt and kill anything their size allows and various forms of pondweed are killing our great limestone lakes. Zebra mussels are having an impact as yet unknown on our waterways, as are American crayfish and chub.

Now another unwelcome and lethal visitor has been identified. The Asian clam, one of the world’s most dangerous invasive species has been found in the rivers Nore and Barrow. This once again highlights the need to have more effective bio-security measures.

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