Invasive species to be catalogued: environment min

Creating a database of animal and plant species that invade the Polish ecosystem has been announced by deputy Environment Minister Sławomir Mazurek.

The ministry will single out at least 10 species that threaten the Polish environment the most. In the plant world, the enemy number one is the Sosnowsky's hogweed (Heracleum sosnowskyi) whose juice contains intense toxic allergen furanocoumarin that increases photosensitivity and if sprinkled on human skin may lead to painful sunburns and blisters.

Another representative of the invasive flora is the Solidago canadensis (known as Canada goldenrod or Canadian goldenrod). This species can grow up to two meters, depriving other plants of living space and sunlight.

Among animal newcomers are the raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) that made it to Poland through the territory of the former USSR. In rivers, three types of gobiidae fish were marked as invaders. Meanwhile, by the riverside, another unoriginal species, the North American, raccoon has settled.

The new database will also include routes by which the species invade the Polish environment.

Creating the database of invasive plant and animal species in Poland is part of the Polish Environment Ministry’s work on a new law that would “strengthen the current monitoring and prevention system,” the minister stressed, adding that this action was positively opinionated by the Government and Local Authorities Joint Commission.

The ministry, as Mr Mazurek said, will request provincial environment and water economy protection funds to design special programmes for local authorities to finance the fight against invasive species.