Tackling Non-Native Invasive Species
Image courtesy of GBNNSS
Species: Impatiens Glandulitera (Himalayan Balsam)
Found: Widely spread in the UK along river banks and in damp woodland
Flowers: Pink-purple trumpet shape-wide petals
Stem: Fleshy, hollow, sappy and brittle
Leaves: Finely serated edge
Seeds: Tiny and explosive
Spread: Spreads easily through wind and water
Dangers: Out competes native species (overcrowding), can impede flow at times of high rainfall, leading to flooding, can die back in winter causing erosion to the land.
Legalities: It is an offence to plant or allowed to grow in the wild
On Wednesday 7th March, BTCV and Eastleigh Borough Council ran a talk with Catherine Chatters of the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust about non-native invasive plants. The reason for this was that there had been calls raised by members of the public about the abundance of non-native species. Catherine Chatters has been actively working on areas throughout the New Forest tackling this problem and she explained in the talk how she did this.
There was specific funding given to the Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust by The Environment Agency, DEFRA, and Natural England. Catherine explained the importance of working in partnerships on this projects. They worked with:
- Landowners and managers – gathering them together to inform them they all needed to help in erradicating these invasive plants.
- Fishing groups – getting people to pull these up when they go fishing in the local river
- Contractors – performing work that volunteers could not do, using professional tools
- Volunteers – anyone from the local community could come and take part in pulling up
- Local businesses – staff from local businesses came to help out
- Schools, colleges and universities
Research was discovered that grazing can help irradicate these plants, however fences stopped animals from doing this and so grazing management is important when dealing with this problem.
Contractors used a range of techniques to remove the plants:
- Hot organic foam
- Aquatic dye – blocks out light and prevents photosynthesis
- Using approved herbicides that do not stay around in the environment
Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust performed awareness raising in various ways:
- Press releases to local newspapers and magazines
- Stalls at local shows and events
- Notices at the locations where work had been completed informing the public
- As part of the national Be Plant Wise campaign
- Made connections with garden centres to ensure their staff were aware
There were potential concerns that were raised at the event. One of these were that herbicides would damage other sensitive plants near to the non-native invasive species. The answer that was provided was that everything has to be killed as eventually the native species would disappear anyway as the non-natives overcrowd them.
As mentioned at the start of the post, members raised concerns of these non-native invasive species appearing around Chandlers Ford and Eastleigh – because there is the Monks Brook river that runs through. BTCV aim to learn off the New Forest project and tackle this issue in this area. When more details are released about this project, we’ll let you know.
How you can help:
- Record the area (on a map) of where you see these invasive plants and await more details about submitting these to BTCV.
- Pull up the plants before the seed pods arrive – not allowing the seeds to spread
- Contribute to the EU consultation on a dedicated legislative instrument on invasive alien species
- Find out more about the New Forest project