INNS Mapper – Tackling the UK’s Invasive Species

Posted on October 5, 2023

Launch of new app to track and manage invasive species 

We’re excited to announce the launch of INNS Mapper – our new project focused on reporting and managing invasive non-native species.

INNS Mapper replaces our long running PlantTracker project and now encompasses aquatic and terrestrial animals, making it a more holistic tool.  The app also contains a number of new features such as the ability to record routes and non-occurrence.  Both the app and website allow citizen scientists to help verify the data being collected by checking the photos submitted with records. 

Led by a consortium including Yorkshire Water, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, North Wales Wildlife Trust, GB Non-Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) and the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), INNS Mapper is focused on reporting management work as well as the occurrence of invasive species.

There are around 2,000 non-native species of plants and animals that have been introduced to Britain either accidentally or intentionally. 10-15% of these are considered invasive due to their negative impacts, either on the local environment, the economy or our health and the way we live. The problems caused by INNS have increased dramatically in recent years due to more travel and trade between countries. 

Invasive species are one of the main threats to biodiversity globally.  They can threaten the survival of native wildlife, spread diseases and damage delicate ecosystems.  In addition to their environmental impacts, invasive species also cost the economy an estimated £4 billion per year.

INNS Mapper will play a vital role in minimising the impact of invasive species by helping people identify, verify and report invasive species that they come across in the countryside. 

Dr Steph Bradbeer, invasive species and biosecurity ecologist at Yorkshire Water, said: “INNS Mapper will provide an easy way for people to report sightings, surveys and management of invasive non-native species in England, Wales and Scotland. The ability to record management alongside sightings and surveys will allow for the dissemination and coordination of INNS management across catchments and regions.”

Alex Green, INNS and biosecurity officer at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, added: “We are extremely optimistic and delighted about the launch of this app, which will get people across the country involved in spotting and recording any invasive non-native species they find, to help build a picture of distribution. This will help to join up and coordinate efforts across larger areas more effectively.”

Take a look at Yorkshire Water’s handy video where their Invasive Species Ecologist Steph, and Crayfish Officer Vanessa from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, talk about INNS Mapper and how it works. INNS Mapper, which will be known as Mapiwr INNS in Wales with Welsh language options, is available for free on iOS and Android platforms.  You can also report sightings on the INNS Mapper website.