The report is the result of the many successes of Borders environmental charity, Tweed Forum in addressing the threats posed by harmful invasive plant species throughout the River Tweed catchment and is a great example of best practice.
The publication has been funded by The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Fund, the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and The Rivers Trust, to help tackle invasive plant species such as Giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and American skunk cabbage, which are estimated to cost the British economy an estimated £1.7 billion each year*.
Tweed Forum’s Invasives Project began in 2002 as a result of strong public demand for action against the many invasive plants that were causing numerous problems, including blistering and burns to the skin of people who came into contact with Giant hogweed with its toxic sap. Invasive plant species were causing riverbank erosion and increased flood-risk and threatened the area’s native biodiversity including destroying spawning and nursery habitat for salmonid fish species. They were also harming tourism revenue by reducing access to the riverbank for anglers and walkers.
Tweed Forum’s action has resulted in a vast reduction in the density and abundance of Giant hogweed and Japanese knotweed throughout the Tweed catchment and it is now very rare to see either plant species on the main stem of the Tweed. Where work has been undertaken and invasive plant species previously dominated, a broad range of native species have recolonized to create healthy diverse habitat. American skunk cabbage has been contained to its single source of introduction and Tweed Forum is also working on an experimental approach with rust fungus to control Himalayan balsam.
This new guide shares Tweed Forum’s coordinated, catchment-wide partnership approach to invasive plant species control, from consultation, fundraising and legal and licensing issues to landowner and volunteer engagement, species control methodology, GPS mapping, planning and monitoring.
Tweed Forum’s Invasives Project is supported by the Scottish Natural Heritage Biodiversity Challenge Fund.
Anyone spotting an invasive plant species along the River Tweed or its tributaries should email Tweed Forum on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further information on invasive species is available at www.tweedforum.org
Source: Catchment Based Approach