Volunteers fight Forest Invaders

Published Friday 25 June 2010

Exploding seed pods and toxic sap are just some of the things being targeted by a Forest-wide project to tackle invasive plants that threaten to wipe out our native countryside.

Over 60 officers from the New Forest National Park Authority,   Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Natural England, Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency joined forces today (Friday 25 June) to help fight these foreign invaders.

The volunteers targeted Warren Farm and Bridge Farm in Brockenhurst and parts of Boldre where their aim was to pull-up as much Himalayan balsam as possible.

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘All the volunteers from the partner organisations worked hard in pulling up as much Himalayan balsam as possible. This is a really important project and it is good to see partner organisations and volunteers getting heavily involved.’

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s New Forest Non-Native Plants Officer, Catherine Chatters, added: ‘We are asking farmers and landowners to help us track down these plants and let us know if they’ve found any on their land.

‘We are developing a record of where the plants are growing in the river valleys and we can also offer advice and arrange for work to dispose of the plants or control their growth.’

Himalayan Balsam grows vigorously on river banks, especially on the Lymington River. Its seeds shoot out of explosive seed pods and are carried along rivers causing problems downstream. Other foreign plants that being targeted by the non-native plant project in the New Forest are: Japanese knotweed, Giant hogweed, American skunk cabbage and New Zealand pygmyweed.

The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project is jointly funded by the New Forest National Park Authority through its core funds and Sustainable Development Fund, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, Defra and Natural England.

For more information about the project or to find out how you can get involved visit our non-native plants page or www.hwt.org.uk/pages/new-forest-non-native-plants-project.html

-ends-

Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

Peter Hutchings, Marketing Officer, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust
Tel: 01489 774400
Email: peterh@hwt.org.uk

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