Reducing the Impact of Non-Native Species in Europe

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Branta canadensis
Branta canadensis

Best Practice Workshops

The RINSE Best Practice Workshops represented opportunities for key stakeholders in the Two Seas Area to share experiences and knowledge on the management of invasive non-native species. A total of four Best Practice Workshops were held by the RINSE Partnership, each looking at different aspects of invasive species management. All of the Workshops were well attended by government agencies, wildlife conservation groups and business and industry representatives. Below is a summary of each Best Practice Workshop, along with the presentations given.



Best Practice Approach to Managing Invasive Non-native Mammals and Birds

3-4 July 2013, Ghent (Belgium)


With increasing rates of global trade and travel, species are transported around the globe at an ever increasing rate. Some of these species establish themselves in new environments, and start to spread rapidly, causing ecological and socio-economic damage. These species are termed ‘invasive’. Once an invasive species is established the ongoing cost of managing the population and mitigating impacts on ecological services, are often considerable. 

Government agencies and wildlife conservation groups alongside businesses and industry need to respond to the challenge of invasive species, the cost of which, both economically and environmentally, has increased dramatically in recent years. Organisations seek to manage invasive bird and mammal species as effectively and humanely as possible. Tactics to remove or reduce invasive populations can include, among others, active trapping, hunting, landscape modification or nest destruction. Management approaches require systematic, targeted methods combining preventive strategies with ethical control techniques, monitoring and evaluation as well as clear communication towards stakeholders and the public. 

Why manage invasive birds and mammals?

Alien mammals and birds have an impact on biodiversity through in a number of ways. Direct predation is a major concern, an example of this being the American mink threatening native water vole populations. Some species directly compete with native species, such as grey squirrel and the native red squirrel. Introduced species can disrupt ecosystems, such as muntjac damaging valuable forest ground flora orCanadagoose causing eutrophication. They also cause huge impacts to the European economy and our well-being, like coypu and muskrat damaging crops and weakening the stability of river banks or Pallas squirrel, which chews through cables and strips bark in forests and tree nurseries. Finally, some invasive mammals and birds are known hosts or vectors of animal disease such as bovine tuberculosis, fox tapeworm or rabies, and represent a significant risk to human and animal health.

This workshop aimed to contribute to this, by reviewing success stories in eradication and providing guidance on best practices to project partners, wildlife managers and stakeholders. The first day was dedicated to presentations of case studies demonstrating successful control and eradication of invasive mammals and birds in theTwoSeasarea. The second day focused on management in the field, covering all aspects of the management cycle for invasive geese. This included a moult capture ofCanadageese on location and demonstrations of active trapping techniques for Egyptian goose. Topics covered included:




Best Practice Approach to Managing Invasive Aquatic Plants

7-18 October 2013, Norwich (UK)

Although there is already concerted action from many groups to manage invasive aquatic plants, their removal is often costly and problematic. To control and eradicate these species effectively, a strategic and targeted approach is required. This needs to conducted alongside programmes to raise awareness of the risks and impacts associated with these species, as well as embedding biosecurity in the normal working practices of aquatic environment stakeholders. 

Large volumes of ‘Best Practice’ knowledge in controlling these species can be found within the RINSE project area. This Workshop aimed to help disseminate this knowledge, by reviewing success stories in eradication and highlighting promising new management approaches to RINSE project partners, wildlife managers and stakeholders from across the RINSE area. Day one was dedicated to presentations on successful eradication case studies. On day two, participants were taken on a boat trip on the River Yare, to witness first hand the habitats affected by these species.

The Agenda is available to view here.


Best Practice Approach to Encouraging Community Engagement, Volunteering and Citizen Science in the Control of Non-native Species

19 March 2014, Brockenhurst (UK)

Volunteers play a very important role in the control of invasive non-native species by recording their distribution, undertaking practical management and monitoring the success of measures taken to stop their spread. This one-day workshop was an opportunity to find out how volunteers are helping Local Action Groups including the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project and the Norfolk Non-Native Species Initiative, in order to discover what motivates volunteers and to hear how volunteers can get involved in ‘citizen science’ projects. 



Best Practice Approach to Catchment-level Strategies for the Management of Invasive Non-native Species

24-25 April 2014, Montreuil sur Mer (France)

The management of invasive non-native species needs to be undertaken at a landscape scale, and for aquatic and riparian species the most appropriate level to work is that of the catchment. This Workshop gave managers and practitioners an opportunity to hear of different approaches to planning the management of invasive species at the catchment scale, which should help them in developing their own plans.

The Agenda is available to view here

Photo Credits

Banner One: American mink (Snowdonia National Park Authority), Muntjac (The Scottish Deer Centre), Ruddy Duck (Juan Pons), Canada Goose (GBNNSS), Muskrat (Benny Mazur), Pallas Squirrel (Donald Hobern). Banner Two: Floating Pennywort (Simon Mortimer), Himalayan Balsam (GBNNSS), American Skunk Cabbage (HIWWT), New Zealand Pigmyweed (GBNNSS), Azolla Weevil (CABI), Water Primrose (Trevor Renals). Banner Three: American Skunk Cabbage Survey (HIWWT), Event Display (NCC), Volunteer Workshop (NCC), American Mink (INBO), Harlequin Ladbybird (Giles San Martin), Event Stand (NCC). Banner Four: Chinese Mitten Crab (Ron Offermans), Giant Hogweed (RPS group Plc), Japanese Knotweed (NNNSI), Floating Pennywort (CCW), Himalayan Balsam (GBNNSS), Signal Crayfish (Trevor Renals).