Development of the National Invasive Species Database

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Resource or Project Abstract

The National Biodiversity Data Centre has worked on the National Invasive Species Database initiative since 2008 to provide a national framework for the management and provision of information on invasive species in Ireland. A fundamental requirement for an effective strategy to deal with the problem of invasive species is the provision of information on the current and potential spread of the key invasive species, a coordinated national network for the dissemination of that information, and the establishment of an early warning system to alert for new arrivals.

The importance of the threat of invasive species is reflected in the suite of emerging national policy and legislative drivers, including the draft Second National Biodiversity Plan 2010?2015 and the draft European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2010. Invasive Species Strategies for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are in preparation, while the European Commission is also drafting a European Union Invasive Alien Species Strategy which Ms O' Flynn participates in.

The objective of the project was to continue the development of the National Invasive Species Database to include all priority invasive species. This will facilitate the communication of valuable distribution information on these species to local authorities, state bodies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and researchers. This can then be used to mobilise and inform invasive species action at local level, and policy at national level. In particular, the National Biodiversity Data Centre is promoting the development of an invasive species strategy at the county level and supporting this by providing tailored priority invasive species reports for each local authority.
Ten key tasks were identified to be undertaken in this project:
1 Develop website tools to enhance the filtering, display and access to the website content and accessibility to the database;
2 Continue to populate and manage the database;
3 Develop web-based species profiles;
4 Liaise with and provide national coordination to state agencies;
5 Provide a priority invasive species report specific to each local authority;
6 Create a distribution database for each local authority;
7 Collaborate with European and international networks;
8 Manage the Invasive Species Recording Scheme;
9 Load new data to the mapping system;
10 Develop proposal for a national baseline survey.

As a result of the data centre's work, the following components are now in place:

National Invasive Species Database. As of March 2011, this contains 23,742 records of 95 invasive species on interactive geographic information system (GIS) distribution maps in a continually updated centralised system.

National Invasive Species information portal ( This dynamic portal provides easy access to up-to-date information on Ireland's invasive species with a central focus on their distribution.
National Invasive Species mapping system. This system includes dynamic distribution maps of all 95 invasive species; individual records can be queried to show full records and information. The ability to view these records, set against a variety of background layers, can support threat assessments for a species, habitat, designated site, etc. Tailored reports on the top 12 'Dirty Dozen' invasive species in each local authority region, including distribution maps and species profiles, were sent to the 34 local authorities in Ireland.
Profiles for 100 invasive species. Profiles include species details, pathways of introduction, sources of information, distribution maps and images.
Early warning system to alert for new species. This was employed twice in 2010 to alert for the arrival of the Asian clam and the Siberian chipmunk ( The importance of providing this facility cannot be overstated. Ireland is one of just a few countries to have such a system in place, although the need for it has been acknowledged widely at a European and international level.

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Contact Information for This Resource

Ms. Colette O‘Flynn
The National Biodiversity Data Centre

Dr. Liam Lysaght
National Biodiversity Data Centre

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Data, Files, Information Objects Related To This Project Resource

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Attachment Name and Download Link
Offline Print Quality Version    STRIVE_73_OFlynn_InvasiveSpeciesDB_prn.pdf  (4.44 Mb)
Project Report Optimised For Online Viewing    STRIVE_73_oflynn_invasivespecies_web.pdf.pdf  (1.39 Mb)
Att 3    Wexford_Dirty_Dozen_invasive_species_report_-_2010.pdf   (24.3 Mb)
Att 4   (1.55 Mb)
Att 5    EU_Early_Warning_workshop-2010-COF.ppt   (13.15 Mb)
Att 6    Risk_mapping_report_14Sept2010v2.pdf   (1.48 Mb)

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Author(s)O‘Flynn, C. Lysaght, L.
Title Of WebsiteSecure Archive For Environmental Research Data
Publication InformationDevelopment of the National Invasive Species Database
Name of OrganisationEnvironmental Protection Agency Ireland
Electronic Address or URL
Unique Identifier30a14c8a-58c4-102e-a0a4-f81fb11d7d1c
Date of AccessLast Updated on SAFER: 2024-07-16

An example of this citation in proper usage:

O‘Flynn, C. Lysaght, L.   "Development of the National Invasive Species Database". Associated datasets and digitial information objects connected to this resource are available at: Secure Archive For Environmental Research Data (SAFER) managed by Environmental Protection Agency Ireland (Last Accessed: 2024-07-16)


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Access Information For This Resource

SAFER-Data Display URL
Resource KeywordsNon-native species, invasive species, database, early warning system, speceis alert, maps, distribution, records, species profiles, networks, informaiton portal, website, Water Framework Directive, local authorities, survey
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project Code2009-B-DS-3-S1
EPA/ERTDI/STRIVE Project ThemeBiodiversity
Resource Availability: Any User Can Download Files From This Resource
Limitations on the use of this ResourceThe reliability, quality and completeness of data gained through SAFER-Data is intended to be used in an education or research context. These data are not guaranteed for use in operational or decision-making settings. The EPA and SAFER-Data requests an acknowledgement (in publications, conference papers, etc) from those who use data/information received with SAFER-Data. This acknowledgement should state the original creators of the data/information. An automated citation is provided below. It is not ethical to publish data/information without proper attribution or co-authorship. The data/information are the intellectual property of the collecting investigator(s). The data/information may be freely downloaded and used by all who respect the restrictions and requirements in the previous paragraphs.
Number of Attached Files (Publicly and Openly Available for Download): 6
Project Start Date Thursday 1st July 2010 (01-07-2010)
Earliest Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Thursday 1st July 2010 (01-07-2010)
Most Recent Recorded Date within any attached datasets or digital objects Tuesday 31st August 2010 (31-08-2010)
Published on SAFERTuesday 14th December 2010 (14-12-2010)
Date of Last EditTuesday 9th July 2013 at 15:30:19 (09-07-2013)
Datasets or Files Updated On Tuesday 9th July 2013 at 15:30:19 (09-07-2013)

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Geographical and Spatial Information Related To This Resource

Description of Geographical Characteristics of This Project or Dataset
The distribution records for non-native invasive species in Ireland are displyed for the island of Ireland in the National Invasive Species Database. The ArcGIS 9.2 point shapefiles are given at the county or local authority level (many have the same boundary). The minimum informaiton supplied with each record in the shapefiles are: species scientific name, start date, end date and Irish National Grid easting/northings. Other record attributes are inclued wth some of the records.

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Supplementary Information About This Resource

In this section some supplementary information about this resource is outlined. Lineage information helps us to understand why this project was carried out, what policy or research requirements did it fulfil, etc. Lineage is important in understanding the rationale behind the carrying out of a project or the collection of a specific dataset etc. Links to web sites, applications, papers, etc are outlined to provide you with additional information or supplementary reading about the project or dataset

Lineage information about this project or dataset
The need for a national inventory of alien invasive species is set out in various international, European and national instruments and guidance documents as fundamental to deal with the threat of alien invasive species. In response to this the National Biodiversity Data Centre established the National Invasive Species Database in 2008. The project was initiated through an EPA STRIVE project 'Alien invasive species in Irish Waterbodies' (2007-W-MS-2-S1) which produced a national database of aquatic invasive species. The eight species were identified as they pose a particular threat to Ireland's waterways, a threat recognised from the EPA's Water Framework Directive Risk Assessment. These species are also on the Invasive Species Ireland's initiative of the 'most unwanted' aliens.

All Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, including Ireland, have committed to eradicating alien species that pose a threat to habitats, species and ecosystems. Tackling the issue of invasive species is critical to not only achieving a myriad of policy and legislative commitments (EU Biodiversity Action Plan, Water Framework Directive, Habitats Directive), but also to protecting and ensuring the ongoing provision of a range of environmental and ecosystem services; their invasion can also cause serious economic implications.
Supplementary Information
i. Further development of the project website to include a species alert system framework, a notification system, news in brief section and development of a tailored species search application
ii. Continued population and management of the database which currently contains 21,222 records for 92 species
iii. Development of web-based species profiles which provide detailed information on each species, a dynamic on-line distribution map and images. It was tasked to develop such profiles for 86 species but 100 in total were developed.
iv. Liaison and provision of national coordination to state agencies through targeted workshops, talks and involvement on project advisory groups.
v. Provision of a tailored 'Dirty Dozen' report on the top 12 invasive species and/or potential invaders to a local authority. A report was sent to each of the 34 City and County Councils in Ireland (26 reports were compiled as COunty and City Authorities received combined reports, as did the four Dublin Local Authorities and North and South Tipperary).
vi. Provision of a distribution database of the top invasive species for each of the 34 Councils which was digitally provided in GIS format.
vii. Collaboration with European and international invasive networks through sharing of information and support of the development of the networks. Most notably, major contribution has been made to the NOBANIS network which includes the Data Centre hosting a two day European workshop on developing an early warning information system for Europe, involvement in pilot testing such a system for Europe and developing risk invasion maps.
viii. Management of Invasive Species Recording Scheme which encouraged the recording of eight of Ireland's most unwanted invasive plant species that pose a direct and indirect threat to the attainment of the environmental quality objectives of the Water Framework Directive. This directly resulted in 456 records being received for five of the eight target species.
ix. Loading new invasive species data onto the mapping system has been done on a regular basis. Provision is made to load data sooner if, for instance, a species new to Ireland has been recorded.
x. A proposal for a national baseline survey focused on plant species.

ARC GIS 9.2 desktop used to produce point shapefiles and map images. Special thanks to the Heritage Council for providing 50% of the funding for this project and to all who provided their record data.

At the European workshop titled 'Developing an early warning system for invasive alien species in Europe' held by the Data Centre in June, 2020 it was decided to initiate a pilot project for an early warning system for Europe based on risk mapping in Europe. This draft report outlines the progress to date. A representative sample of 18 non-native species was chosen, distributional data from 20 European countries collated for these species and invasion risk maps produced based on biogeographical regions of Europe.

Presentation given at the European workshop 'Developing an early warning system for invasive alien species in Europe' hosted by the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford in June, 2010

These reports provide detailed information, including distribution maps and species profiles, for the top twelve invasive species per county. This includes not only species that already occur within the local authority area, but also potential invaders. The report is based on data extracted from the National Invasive Species Database. The reports have been submitted directly to each of the County Managers, to support their work in taking a more active role in the management of invasive species.

Arising from the work undertaken to date, priorities for future work have been identified:
1 Ensure that the National Invasive Species Database is kept fully up to date;
2 Develop web services for Ireland?s early warning system;
3 Provide support to and integrate with existing surveillance and monitoring programmes;
4 Provide continued support to and collaboration with state bodies, organisations, cross-border initiatives, European and international invasive species networks;
5 Meet legislative and policy needs;
6 Implement a national monitoring programme to track the spread of invasive species.

The completion of work as outlined in this report and in the 'Recommendations for Future Work' will place Ireland in a good position to fulfil many of the expected roles for a Member State in the EU Invasive Alien Species Strategy and in complying with the forthcoming Invasive Alien Species Directive.
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