The NOBANIS Network on Invasive Alien Species
The North European and Baltic Network on Invasive Alien Species (NOBANIS) is a cooperative project between North and Central European states that aims to minimise or prevent the damage caused by invasive species, which threaten biological diversity and can pose serious ecological, economic and health problems. The main goal of the project is to establish and develop an online network of common databases with information on these alien species in Northern Europe. All Nordic and Baltic countries participate in the project, as do Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia and Russia.
The Icelandic Institute of Natural History takes part in the project on behalf of Iceland. Numerous experts have been consulted as part of the data collection process.
The NOBANIS website (http://www.nobanis.org/) was opened in November 2005. It provides easy access to information on invasive species and how to prevent them from damaging ecosystems. Other resources on the NOBANIS site include an alien species database on saltwater, freshwater and land organisms, an overview of national and international regulation and fact-sheets on the most invasive species.
Invasive species in Iceland
Three of the most problematic invasive species in Iceland today are the American mink (Mustela vison), Nootka lupin (Lupinus nootkatensis) and cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris), all of which have spread rapidly throughout the country. A number of other alien species that have proved both extremely invasive and difficult to tackle abroad have gained a foothold in Iceland. Giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), the Spanish slug (Arion lusitanicus) and Campylopus introflexus moss are of particular concern. Giant hogweed has been used as an ornamental garden plant in Iceland for some time but is now also found growing in the wild, for example in Þórsmörk. The Spanish slug has been found in Reykjavík and a number of other areas, although it has not yet succeeded in becoming established in an extensive region. Campylopus introflexus forms a dense carpet in several geothermal areas, threatening native moss species, some of which are very rare.
IINH Contact: Sigurður H. Magnússon