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Solutions exist...

There are two main strategies for managing invasive plants: prevention and populations control. Prevention consists in reducing new introductions of invasive plants, while control measures are focused on limiting the expansion of populations established in nature, or even eradicate them.  These two approaches are complementary but it is better to avoid new introductions rather than managing populations once widespread in the wild. It is easier and less costly.

 

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Prevention involves informing correctly about the risks of invasive plants and their dispersal capacities.But invasive plants remain little known outside the scientific audience. Some of them are still used despite their detrimental impact for environment. It is therefore necessary to inform and communicate (see project description).

Control requires the use of techniques adapted to the species targeted and the habitat type invaded. In Belgium, research are carried out with different terrestrial or aquatic species like the giant hogweed, the Himayan balsam, the Japanese knotweed, the black cherry or the water pennywort. For more informations:
- The Biodiversity & Landscape Unit website: http://www.gembloux.ulg.ac.be/biodiversite-et-paysage/
- The Invexo project website: http://www.invexo.be
- The website on IAS from the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/invasivealien/index_en.htm

 

Better prevent than mitigate !

 

Everyone can act for preventing plant invasions. Ornamental plant users are especially concerned with species used for horticultural puproses : nursery man, public green managers, private sectors, garden amateurs. Preventive measures are easy to apply. Here are some examples :

  • know the list of invasive plants
  • avoid planting them (especially black list species)
  • choose preferably non invasive plants (alternative plants)
  • do not throw garden waste containing fragments of invasive plants in nature or in rivers
  • ...

 

The codes of conduct on invasive plants             

One solution may consists in developping codes of conduct which recommand the adoption of these preventive measures. Codes must be negociated with horticulture representatives in order to propose adapted measures applicable for the various users of ornamental plants. Measures must be easy to apply and few restrictive. Then codes can be voluntarily adopted by all actors motivated for preserving environnment. 

Such a code is now implemented in Belgium.
The Belgian code of conduct on invasive plants is available on this website...