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Tackling invasive plants crowding out native species in the New Forest

Parrot’s feather originates from Central and South America and was first found in the wild in 1960. The plant is now threatening wetlands in the New Forest and is crowding out native species. Work is 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.

March 2016

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

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 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 Hinchelsea Bog near Brockenhurst and ponds at Castle Hill near Burley and East End near Lymington.

The GB Non-Native Species Secretariat is encouraging everyone to help protect our waterways and wildlife by disposing of garden plants properly and preventing their escape. Local projects, such as this one in the New Forest, are a great way of not only tackling these species, but also of raising awareness.

The HLS scheme also funds work to remove other invasive non-native species, including Japanese knotweed, American skunk cabbage and Himalayan balsam.

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

Catherine Chatters

New Forest Non-Native Plants Officer

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

Aspects of this blog were originally published on The Wildlife Trust's website

The opinions expressed in this blog are the author’s and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership