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22 May 2024 < Back

Rethinking legislation: Beyond the lists

As Invasive Species Week 2024 unfolds, it’s time to reconsider our approach to managing invasive non-native plants (INNPs). While legislative lists such as those provided by the Wildlife and Countryside Act and the Invasive Alien Species of EU Concern are important, they often fall short in addressing the rapidly evolving challenges posed by invasive plants. Rather than relying solely on reactive measures dictated by legislation, it's time for a paradigm shift in our mindset towards INNPs. 

A Shift in Perspective 

It's crucial to move beyond the traditional approach of working off lists of INNPs and instead adopt a more site specific approach on plant management. We say that every site is different yet we regularly implement unjustifiable five year management plans for Japanese Knotweed and overlook the Ivy which is strangling mature trees.

We need to recognise the broader risks posed by invasive plants to their environments and ecosystems. Despite the rising threat of invasive bamboos, the public perception remains fixated on certain well-known species like Japanese Knotweed. Equally we overlook destructive invaders specific to their environment such as Buddleia to lime mortar structures or Spanish Bluebells to woodland.

To truly establish ourselves as experts in invasive plant management, we must break free from the narrow focus on a single species and embrace a more comprehensive understanding of the issue. 

Beyond the Invasive Species Week 

While invasive species week serves as a valuable opportunity to raise awareness about the destructive impact of INNPs, it's essential to recognise that these plants demand year-round attention.

This week, let's challenge ourselves to expand our knowledge beyond the familiar invasive species. Whether it's conducting surveys for lesser-known invaders like Three Cornered Leek or Montbretia, or educating ourselves about new threats outside our expertise, let's strive to elevate the conversation around invasive non-native plants.

Three Cornered Leek or Montbretia? Can you research a few plants outside of your already established skillset? Can we bring awareness to Invasive Non-Native Plants as a collective rather than Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed. 

If you're looking to expand your knowledge on invasive plants, click the button below to find out more about our training courses.

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