Invasive or Alien Species in Meath
Alien species are very much a part of our environment these days. After centuries of travelling around the world and bringing back (either on purpose or accidentally) plants and animals to Ireland, many species that evolved in other countries are now established in the wild here. While the majority of these species may not become an issue, there are some that do. These tend to be referred to as ‘Invasive Alien Species’. For example, current records show that Meath holds approximately 350 species of alien vascular plant, accounting for around one third of the county’s total vascular plant species, and only a handful of these cause problems.
What problems do Invasive Alien Species cause?
Alien invasive species can result in many problems, including:
- Damage to our native biodiversity as a result of competition (eg for food, light, space, pollinating insects), changes to habitats (such as chemical changes to water bodies), carrying of diseases and other factors;
- Damage to our local economies by impacts on fisheries, tourism (eg by reduced walking access), etc;
- Damage to our infrastructure, including structural damage to buildings, roads and water treatment infrastructure.
Which are the worst culprits in Meath?
Some of the worst existing and potential culprits in county Meath are Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Zebra mussel and Himalayan balsam. Information on these and others is provided below.