Invasive Species are also know as 'invasive exotics' or 'alien invaders' and characterise flora and fauna, which after introduction have taken over a habitat and excluded native species. In other words, they could be described as a species that does not naturally occur in an area and whose introduction has caused or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or in fact harm human health. Many of these species have been introduced to gardens and parkland over the last 200 or so years and subsequently escaped and became naturalised in the surrounding countryside.
A noxious weed is a plant species which has been designated by a statutory authority as one that is injurious to agriculture, horticulture, habitats/ ecosystems, humans or livestock. They are usually injurious to human or animal health (through contact or injection), the latter of which causes economic loss to humans. Noxious weeds can be native or introduced. A native species may not pose a threat when growing in a natural forest type situation, but becomes a problem with changing landscape; e.g. clearance to cultivation. They are usually plants, which multiply aggressively and without any natural control such as herbivores or soil or climatic conditions.
We have developed much expertise in the extractive (quarry) industry. Sadly this is an area which has suffered from 'light touch’ regulation and a lack of enforcement in Ireland. The extractive industry includes numerous quarrying activities ranging from limestone extraction to sand and gravel extraction. There is usually requirements for 'progressive restoration' of a quarry.
Most if not all sand and gravel deposits are as a result of eskers which were formed after the last ice age. Enormous tracts of eskers have been removed (quarried) in the last 100 years or so in Ireland and England. This type of industrial quarrying is utterly unsustainable. There is now a shortage of sand and gravel in the UK and dredging of estuaries has begun as a way of extracting sand for the construction Industry. The authorities there have also implemented a levy per ton of material extracted in an effort to curtail the extraction of sand and gravel.
Dredging on an industrial scale is also ongoing in China to satisfy the insatiable demand for material to build its expanding cities.
Limestone is also required as an aggregate to mix with sand and gravel in the manufacture of cement and for foundations for roads and buildings.
Far more care is required to curtail our demand for sand and gravel and of limestone aggregate.
Did you know that upwards of 200 loads of readymix are required to secure a wind turbine to the ground!