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Gardeners can join fight against invasive plant

Gardeners can join fight against invasive plant


Parrot’s feather (Myriophyllum aquaticum) originates from Central and

South America and was first found in the wild in 1960. The plant is now

threatening to dominate some wetlands in the New Forest and is crowding

out native species.

Work is already underway to remove this invasive non-native plant

from the New Forest to benefit wetlands and the native species that rely

on them. Now with ‘Invasive Species Week’ in the UK running until 6

March, homeowners are being asked to help by not disposing of parrot’s

feather and other aquatic garden plants in the wild.

Parrot’s feather clearance in the New Forest is undertaken by the

New Forest Non-Native Plants Project, hosted by the Hampshire and Isle

of Wight Wildlife Trust and funded by the New Forest Higher Level

Stewardship (HLS) Scheme.

The HLS scheme is an agreement with Natural England, held by the

Verderers and managed by them in partnership with the Forestry

Commission and the New Forest National Park Authority.

Since 2010 HLS-funded work to control parrot’s feather at four

sites in the New Forest has had considerable success, including removing

the plant from a pond at Bartley. Parrot’s feather has also been

substantially cleared from Hincheslea Bog near Brockenhurst and ponds at

Castle Hill near Burley and East End near Lymington.

Olaf Booy is from the GB Non-Native Species Secretariat, the

national body that coordinates the approach to invasive non-native

species in Great Britain. He said: ‘Invasive aquatic plants are a real

threat to the environment and can block water ways. Most of them are

garden, pond or aquarium plants that have either escaped or been dumped

in the wild.

‘Through the ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaign we are encouraging everyone

to help protect our waterways and wildlife by disposing of garden plants

properly and not letting them escape. Local projects, like this one in

the New Forest, are a great way of not only tackling these species, but

also of raising awareness and helping to prevent further escapes.’

Parrot’s feather gets its name from its feather-like leaves and can

be found in still or slow-flowing water. It has been grown in British

gardens since 1878, though it is now banned from sale.

The HLS scheme also funds work to remove other invasive non-native

species, including Japanese knotweed, American skunk cabbage and

Himalayan balsam.

In addition to invasive non-native species removal, the HLS scheme

also supports commoning, wetland restoration, archaeology and education.

This includes bringing more than 11,000 children on school trips to the

National Park, recording thousands of forgotten archaeological sites

and restoring nine miles of streams to their natural meanders.

To find out more about the HLS scheme and its work to eradicate invasive non-natives species from the New Forest visit


Notes to photo editors:

Contractors clearing parrot’s feather from a pond at East End, near Lymington.

Notes to Editors

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is

the only conservation charity committed to improving conditions for all

wildlife across the two counties. We manage over 48 wildlife reserves as

part of our vision to create a better future for wildlife and wild

places on land and in our seas.

The Environmental Stewardship Schemes, of which

HLS is one strand, are administered by Natural England, on behalf of

Defra, and funds farmers and land managers throughout England to deliver

effective environmental management on their land.

The objectives of Environmental Stewardship are to:

  • Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
  • Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
  • Protect the historic environment and natural resources
  • Conserve biodiversity.

The role of the Verderers of the New Forest is to

protect and administer the New Forest’s unique agricultural commoning

practices; to conserve its traditional landscape, wildlife and aesthetic

character, including its flora and fauna, peacefulness, natural beauty

and cultural heritage; and to safeguard a viable future for commoning.

The Forestry Commission is the government

department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports

woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and

advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises

Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares

(2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as

sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation,

and rural and community development. For more information, visit

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the

natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on

enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits

they bring to the public.

The New Forest National Park Authority works with

partners to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and

cultural heritage of the National Park and to promote opportunities for

understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities. It also has a duty

to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities

within the Park.

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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