What are INNS?
An invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live.
Non-Native vs Invasive Non-Native
Non-Native Species (NNS) are everywhere; you’ll come across them whether you live on the Cornish coast to the Scottish Highlands and you might not even know that they weren’t native. A plant, animal or even pathogen is classed as an NNS if they have been transported outside of their native range. These introductions are always human mediated; can be deliberate or accidental and have spanned the course of history. The domestic sheep, sycamore and even the Little Owl have all been introduced into Great Britain whether that be centuries ago, such as the domesticated sheep in 10,000 BC, or relatively recently like the Little Owl in the late 1800s .
For the majority of NNS their introduction has very little impact or can even build resilience to environmental changes within an ecosystem. Non-native species, such as the sycamore, are considered as a functional alternative to replace native trees that are undergoing severe declines. However, 10-15% of introduced NNS cause detrimental impacts and are known as Invasive Non-Native Species (INNS) or Invasive Alien Species (IAS).
Why do INNS Matter?
INNS are very good at overwhelming habitats they are introduced into. INNS grow and reproduce quickly and in high numbers, disperse easily and often have a wide range of tolerance to different conditions. In addition, INNS can manipulate the habitats they’ve been introduced to which can lower an ecosystem’s resilience to changes such as drought, as well as creating conditions which favour further invasions and population expansion.