RAFTS Invasive Non Native Species and Biosecurity Programme
2 successful conferences convened in June and October 2011
The RAFTS Invasive Non Native Species and Biosecurity Programme is made up of £4.5 million of projects that cover a large proportion of Scotland. These include biosecurity planning, four INNS plant species control projects, the Scottish Mink Initiative and the Control of Priority Invasive Non-Native Riparian Plants and the Restoration of Native Biodiversity (CIRB). The latter two projects are also being implemented in partnership with the University of Aberdeen (SMI) and Queens University Belfast and the University of Ulster (CIRB). Taken as a whole this programme is now being recognised as the largest biosecurity and INNS initiative in Europe.
The role of RAFTS in freshwater and riparian biosecurity is being increasingly recognised and in 2011 RAFTS has organised two national conferences. The RAFTS-SNH First Freshwater Invasive Non Native Species & Biosecurity Conference was held at Battleby on the 26th of October with the aim of being the first step in developing a more cohesive approach to biosecurity and INNS work across RAFTS’ membership as well as the English border Trusts. The conference brought together all the Trusts and their key partners involved in biosecurity and INNS work to share experience and identify good practice to be incorporated into future implementation. It also involved the three University partners who are with the Programme investigating, amongst other things, the effectiveness of different control techniques on riparian INNS, impact of riparian INNS on soil ecosystem services, cost effectiveness of control measures, effective detection and control of mink and volunteer management.
The conference programme included presentations from research and practical management projects that set the scene for four working groups. These groups addressed:
1. Management, monitoring and evaluation
2. Research needs and priorities
3. Volunteer management
4. Education and communications
The recommendations, lessons and actions identified by the working groups will be incorporated into technically based strategies, actions and project outputs that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the biosecurity and INNS work.
In June RAFTS and the Association of Rivers Trusts organised the Third Sector GB Invasive Non Native Species & Biosecurity Conference which was held at Fishmonger’s Hall in London. The conference was attended by over 100 delegates from all over the UK representing a wide range of Trusts and government agencies and partners. The conference was held to demonstrate the work already being undertaken by Rivers and Fisheries Trusts and associated third sector organisations in the UK; and, to invite government and its agencies to support a UK wide strategy for the introduction of biosecurity measures and planning for the management of aquatic and riparian INNS. The conference included presentations and discussions on topics including recognising the INNS problem; current European and UK situation of policy and practice; and, case studies and examples of INNS control from across the UK.