Conservation organisations across Dumfries and Galloway are asking for the public’s help to map the location of non-native plants and animals.
The initiative is being led by Dumfries and Galloway Invasive Non-Native Species Working Group, with the information being collated and mapped by Dumfries and Galloway Environmental Resources Centre (DGERC).
Not all of the species cause harm to the environment or native wildlife, however some more invasive species can cause significant problems. Examples include Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and American Mink.
It is not illegal to have a non-native species on your land, but it is against the law to release or cause them to grow in the wild outside their native range.
Anne Connick, Catchment Management Planning Officer for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “Invasive species can impact on all of us, from the infrastructure we use daily, to recreational activities and the wildlife we enjoy seeing.
“We need to work together to reduce the risk of further spread of species we have already in the area, and preventing new species arriving in Scotland.
“It’s important to be aware of the simple activities that can cause invasive species to spread, such as dumping of garden waste or re-using contaminated top-soil in gardens and construction sites.”
Where a non-native species is present it is the landowner’s responsibility to prevent spread of that species, both in rural and urban areas.
Reports of illegal spreading of non-native species into the wild’should be reported to Police Scotland.
SEPA encourages checking, cleaning and drying any equipment that is used for water-based activities such as kayaking and fishing.
Of particular interest are sightings of, for example, knows of any American Skunk Cabbage or Giant Hogweed locally, or aMink or North American Signal Crayfish. Sightings can be reported online at www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-non-native-records or sent direct to DGERC. For more, see nonnativespecies.org.