Raising awareness of the impact of invasive non-native species (INNS)will be the focus of events in England, Scotland and Wales tomorrow tomark International Biodiversity Day.
People have been urged to take action on help safeguard the environment, public health and the economy.
INNS are plants and animals originating from other countries which have the ability to spread and cause damage to biodiversity, our health and, at times, the way we live. INNS cause more than £2b each year in damage.
Scottish environment minister Rosanna Cunningham said: “International Biodiversity Day is a timely opportunity to raise awareness of invasive non-native species and the work being done in Scotland to combat them.
“They are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss and our rich natural heritage is at considerable risk.
“Giant hogweed not only spreads relentlessly along river beds preventing native plants from flourishing, it can cause painful burns on skin with animals and children both at risk.
“North American signal crayfish which have been found in 15 sites from Galloway to Inverness-shire, are voracious predators which threaten native populations of aquatic life.
“Various organisations, from Fisheries Trusts to local authorities and invasive species forums are organising events.
“Please lend your support to them and help protect our environment and our economy.”
The day helps to deliver the Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy for Great Britain.