Valerie Selby, LISI Chair
Invasive non-native species (INNS) are one of the largest threats to global biodiversity after habitat loss and destruction. The London Invasive Species Initiative (LISI) was created in response to this issue around 2007/8 and brings together organisations from a range of sectors to deliver practical action to prevent, control and, where feasible, eradicate invasive non-native species in London under the auspices of the London Invasive Species Plan.
In 2011, we were successful in applying for a four-year grant from DEFRA to implement the plan, allowing us to employ a full time project manager. Many of you will have met Karen Harper who we recruited to this post. Karen had extensive experience managing invasive species in Australia where biosecurity has long been an issue of concern.
Karen was able to engage with key organisations and individuals “on the ground” to ensure that data was being gathered on priority species of conservation concern; and to use this data, along with emerging best practice, to guide practical steps to control or eradicate them. Karen has regularly sung the praises of the wider GiGL partnership who worked with her to achieve LISI’s goals over the last four years.
So it is with no small sense of frustration that when the DEFRA funding ended earlier this year, we were unable to secure further external funding to maintain her role in the long term. GiGL undertook to fund the post for a few months to allow Karen to complete some key tasks and to deliver small projects for some organisations that were able to provide specific funding. At the same time, we submitted an external funding bid which we hoped would provide a further two years of full-time funding to enable Karen to guide us all through the emerging EU legislation changes regarding invasive species. Unfortunately, we recently learned that this bid was unsuccessful and Karen has had to leave us for pastures new whilst the wider LISI business group consider our next steps.
We would like to thank Karen for her hard work and dedication during her time with us and to wish her all the very best for her future. LISI will be reconvening next summer once the relevant EU legislation has emerged, and once the further budget cuts to the many key organisations in our sector have been made. Hopefully, we will have a clearer picture of the framework in which we will be operating and we will be able to re-shape LISI to suit the situation. In the interim, the website will remain live with all the best practice guidance, species information and records submission portal. Invasive species data continues to be managed by GiGL so do please continue to send us records, including negative records where you achieve success in eradicating an invasive species.
Equipment, such as stem injection kits, etc. are also retained by GiGL and still available to borrow. If you wish to contact LISI, messages sent via the contacts page on the website will be forwarded to the most relevant person, so you will get a response.
We will keep you posted next year as to how we intend to operate LISI in the future.
Contact forms can be found here:
Report INNS on iGiGL https://www.gigl.org.uk/online/invasives.aspx
Report progress on INNS treatment/management http://www.londonisi.org.uk/surveying-reporting/reporting-progress/
INNS research opportunities http://www.londonisi.org.uk/research/research-opportunities/