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In recent years, we've all become more familiar with the idea of invasive species.
Plants and animals as varied as giant hogweed, the mink and oak processionary moths regularly make headlines because of the health, environmental and economic problems they cause. Invasive deer contribute to more than 74 000 traffic accidents in the UK every year, while Japanese knotweed added £70m to the bill for staging the London Olympics, and could soon stop you getting a mortgage on your house.
These invasive species destroy crops and forestry, dump silt into rivers, sabotage drains and electrical infrastructure, cut off access to beautiful places, and drive native rare and iconic species to extinction. And they cost us all a lot of money – at least £1.8bn to the UK economy each year. How can you help stop this expensive, dangerous (and ultimately boring) slide towards global blandification?
Read Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing and then roll up your sleeves!
- Over 40 different species featured
- List of actions you can take
- Useful contact list for those getting involved
"WOW, finally a concise and authoritative how-to-guide for non-native species control by local action! Though the terrestrial, aquatic and marine plants and animals are featured in no particular order (with no contents page or index) the thorough treatment each receives more than compensates. As well as including all the usual suspects this guide also includes a good sprinkling of less familiar species to delight the connoisseur. All are clearly identified with colour photos and back-up diagrams/ descriptions where necessary. The section entitled “Where does it come from and how did it get here?” sometimes notes the decline of these invasives in their native range with the addition of illuminating factoids adding much to the reader’s education. For example, the ability of Japanese knotweed to grow through tarmac stems from it evolving to cope with hardened lava on Mount Fuji and the occasional consumption of ducklings by American bullfrogs.
The clear identification of species, the problems associated with them and appropriate control methods are confidently handled with the exception of signal crayfish. The statement “crushing is usually the easiest and most humane means of despatch” is flawed and may also exacerbate the risk of spreading crayfish plague and could lead to misreporting if a carcass is moved for any reason to a new location. Such issues of despatch are not muddied for other species (e.g. drowning not recommended for mink/ clear vacuuming technique for indoor Harlequin ladybirds) with good precautionary notes included on toxins, stains, spines, licensing and pertinent regulations. The focus on local action is laudable with factual guidance included for those who cannot resist the temptation to stock non-natives in their garden or pond! The inclusion of new terms such as ‘blandification’ and ‘ineradicable’ assist with making this enjoyable, enticing read an essential addition to the bookshelf (if not pocket) for those just starting to dabble as well as out-and-out non-native control enthusiasts."
– Abby Stancliffe-Vaughan, BTO book reviews, September 2014