‘Help to weed out West Yorkshire's plant invaders’

A call to arms has come from the Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum which needs volunteers to seek and destroy immigrant plants.

Aggressive imports such as Japanese Knotweed and the New Zealand pygmyweed are a problem on waterways.

And conservation charity Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which heads the Forum, wants people to help fight the spread of such harmful plants along the Rivers Aire and Calder.

Jon Dunster, project officer for Yorkshire Invasive Species Forum, said: “Invasive plants are one of the biggest threats to biodiversity today as they outcompete our native species and cause riverbank erosion which can contribute to flooding risk.

“In addition to this they can clog-up waterways which can affect river-users such as canoeists and anglers. It has been proven that controlling their numbers is effective, so long as it is carried out as part of a river catchment wide co-ordinated programme.

“But to achieve a co-ordinated control programme and make a difference to invasive plant populations the Trust needs the help of volunteers – there are just too many to go it alone.”

The Forum wants people to join its ‘Plant Tracker’ teams which will carry out visits to spots within the river catchment to look for key plant species.

In the catchment for the rivers Calder and Aire five plants in particular pose the biggest threat to botanical security: floating pennywort, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and New Zealand pygmyweed.

Those with no prior knowledge of them will be briefed in plant recognition and how to log their findings.

To find out more about the invasive species project run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and the plant species causing problems in Yorkshire visit ywt.org.uk/invasives. And to enquire about volunteering on the project e-mail volunteering@ywt.org.uk.

Comments (3)

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3:00pm Wed 12 Feb 14

psyche says...

help fight the spread of invasive specie?If only it was that simple. The yorkshire wildlife trust the through the agency of the friends of bradford beck, the aire rivers trust,sustrans and bradford council were responsible for a tabula rasa of plant /tree life and associated wildlife, including rare butterflies, on briggate ,Shipley in 2013...... After this act of gargantuan ecological folly, we can only conclude the whole of nature is now to be thought of as `invasisve`!
help fight the spread of invasive specie?If only it was that simple. The yorkshire wildlife trust the through the agency of the friends of bradford beck, the aire rivers trust,sustrans and bradford council were responsible for a tabula rasa of plant /tree life and associated wildlife, including rare butterflies, on briggate ,Shipley in 2013...... After this act of gargantuan ecological folly, we can only conclude the whole of nature is now to be thought of as `invasisve`! psyche

3:49pm Wed 12 Feb 14

alive and awake says...

Seek and destroy! harsh but it might work, nothing else has.
Seek and destroy! harsh but it might work, nothing else has. alive and awake

7:05pm Wed 12 Feb 14

mrs walker says...

There needs to be a joined-up process of elimination. There's no point in tackling any of these if landowners upstream don't address the issue at the same time, because next year, the plants will simply re-seed. Judy Woods is full of Himalayan balsam but the 'balsam-bashers' are fighting a losing battle while the owners of fields and gardens above the woods don't care enough to clear their own land. All these plants should be added to the injurious weeds list (Weeds Act 1959) because the threat of legal action is the only thing that will prompt some landowners to do something about it..
There needs to be a joined-up process of elimination. There's no point in tackling any of these if landowners upstream don't address the issue at the same time, because next year, the plants will simply re-seed. Judy Woods is full of Himalayan balsam but the 'balsam-bashers' are fighting a losing battle while the owners of fields and gardens above the woods don't care enough to clear their own land. All these plants should be added to the injurious weeds list (Weeds Act 1959) because the threat of legal action is the only thing that will prompt some landowners to do something about it.. mrs walker

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