Issue date 12th September 2012
The Environment Agency has warned that September is the peak growing season for problem plants known as ‘invasive non-native species'. People who are out and about can help track them down using an App called ‘PlantTracker’.
An invasive non-native species is described as any non-native plant that has the ability to spread, causing damage to the environment.
Invasive Species often grow rapidly and can smothering waterways, affecting aquatic life and out-competing native species. They can also impede drainage and cause flooding. According to EA figures these plants cost the British economy a minimum of £1.7 billion per annum and are spreading quickly across the UK.
EA hopes that PlantTracker will help gain a comprehensive picture of the presence of invasive non-native species in the UK by enabling users to submit geo-located records of their sightings on an iPhone or android device. The App has been developed by The Environment Agency, the University of Bristol’s Nature Locator team, and the Natural Environment Research Council’s Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
PlantTracker now has 14 plants on its list and features image galleries of both the target species and any possible confusion species to help users with identification in the field.
PlantTracker is available free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store by searching for PlantTracker (one word), or from the website http://PlantTracker.naturelocator.org/ where you can also follow the progress of the project and the reports that are coming in.
You can also follow progress on twitter using #PlantTracker and @envagencymids, or at www.facebook.com/naturelocator