This partnership project is turning the tide against the spread of invasive non-native plants in the New Forest, particularly along watercourses and stunning wetland habitats.
The New Forest is a crucial area for wildlife but it is threatened by invasive non-native plants. These plants were introduced to UK gardens as ornamentals or as oxygenators in garden ponds but they have 'jumped the garden fence' and invaded the countryside. They grow vigorously, spread rapidly and elbow-out our native wildflowers which provide important food and nectar for invertebrates.
Our ongoing efforts, often supported by volunteers, are helping to control the spread of these vigorous invaders and protect habitats for native plants and wildlife.
View some of the invasive, non-native plants, which are being tackled.
This 17 minute film was produced, filmed and directed by Sophie van der Meeren and Joe Constable of www.uniquewaves.com.
Because non-native plants are free from their native predators, they are often able to dominate a landscape with remarkable speed, pushing out the native plants and the invertebrates that depend on them.
With a decline in invertebrates comes a drop in species further up the food chain. Birds, fish and mammals can all be affected by this loss in diversity. So you can see that our wildlife depends on a well-balanced ecosystem, free of invasive non-native species.
You can help...
- Help stop the spread of invasive non-native plants.
- Download the Plantlife booklet ‘Keeping ponds and aquaria without harmful invasive plants: A guide to plants you can use in place of non-natives’.
- Get more information from the Non-Native Species Secretariat
- Report your sightings electronically or by post: contact Catherine Chatters on 023 8042 4205 or Catherine.Chatters@hiwwt.org.uk.
- Volunteer with a work party to pull up Himalayan Balsam in summer – the plants have short roots and are easy to pull out, and your efforts can make a practical contribution to the conservation of wildlife.
- Landowners and managers may be able to get help with controlling these plants on their land. Contact Catherine Chatters on 023 8042 4205 or email email@example.com for information.
The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project has commissioned research by consultant botanist Neil Sanderson. One report highlights the impacts of American skunk cabbage on wet woodland habitat in the New Forest. The other report studies the botanical quality of habitats invaded by Himalayan balsam along two rivers in the New Forest.
A report on the New Forest Non-Native Plants Projects 2009 – 2015 can now be found here.
'Encouraging community engagement, volunteering and citizen science in the control of non-native species’.
- Volunteer involvement with The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project by Catherine Chatters
- The Volunteer's Perspective by Derek Tippetts
- A case study of engagement, raising awareness, evidence and reporting by Dr David Slawson
- Citizen Science; Recording Invasive Species Counts by Helen Roy
- Himalayan balsam pulling volunteers in south-central England by Dr Steve Jackson
- Data collection: engaging the citizenry by Martin Rand
- Citizen science and volunteer engagement in Norfolk by Mike Sutton-Croft
- Living Record presentation by Sam Stork and Adrian Bicker
- Report on motivation of volunteers
Event funding provided by RINSE.
The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project is a partnership between the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, The Forestry Commission, Natural England, the New Forest National Park Authority and The Verderers of The New Forest.
Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is a partner in the New Forest ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. This scheme will enable the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project to help stop the spread of invasive non-native plants in the New Forest area. For more information visit the Our Past, Our Future website.
This project was a partner in the European Union’s Interreg-funded project ‘Reducing the Impact of Non-native Species in Europe’ (RINSE). Learn more about RINSE.