Unfortunately there are known to be high levels of invasive species in the Belfast Hills. This may in part be due to flytipping and also the number of landfill sites dotted across the hills, both legal and illegal. Such sites often have associated invasive species due to cutting/vegetation present in the dumped material. River corridors can provide the perfect habitat for invasive species to spread. Within the Belfast Hills Japanese knotweed and Himalayan balsam are prevalent. Invasive species such as these are the second greatest threat to biodiversity worldwide after habitat destruction. They can negatively impact on native species and threaten whole ecosystems causing serious problems to the environment and the economy.
To date we have had some success in managing invasive species, as we are able to tackle them from their source, along river corridors throughout the Belfast Hills area. Continuation of this strategic approach is important for continued success in eradication and control.
We aim that:
- Young people educated about the problem of invasive species in their local environment and opportunities given for them to undertake practical management steps to manage such species.
- Young people trained in recognition and reporting of invasives and encouraged to report sightings elsewhere.
- Japanese knotweed and Himalayan Balsam mapped and managed at a minimum of four sites. Other invasive species noted and where possible also managed.
- Site’s invasive species minimised allowing native plants, insects etc to recolonise making a significant positive impact on the natural environment.