Press Release Ireland
Release date: 08 March 2012 / 09.00
Be Plant Wise – Gardeners across Ireland are asked to help stop the spread of invasive species.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht today (Thursday 8th March, 2012) launches the Be Plant Wise campaign in Ireland. This campaign highlights the actions gardeners can take to prevent plants in their ponds from getting into the wild.
Invasive species such as the curly leaved waterweed (Lagarosiphon major), New Zealand pigmyweed (Crassula helmsii) and floating pennywort (Hydrocotyle ranunculoides) are all species which can cause significant environmental and economical harm. These are also commonly found in garden ponds. The curly leaved waterweed, for example, is now present in Lough Corrib where it is the subject of an extensive control programme to protect the species present in the lake and also the livelihoods dependant on the lake.
Jimmy Deenihan TD Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said ‘The focus of this campaign is to prevent problems before they happen. If gardeners are Plant Wise their actions will stop these species from getting into the wild. This will help save our unique biodiversity and also prevent the costs associated with these species’.
The campaign is launched at a time of year when people will start to think about how they manage their gardens and ponds and start to visit garden centres. “This campaign is being delivered through Invasive Species Ireland and by working with the horticulture industry. The Be Plant Wise materials highlighting the campaign have been distributed to garden centres around Ireland. Raising awareness is a vital step in meeting our objective with regard to halting biodiversity loss and protecting our ecosystems, added Minister Deenihan.
The possession and sale of these invasive plant species will be made illegal later in the year under the EU Birds and Natural Habitats Regulations of 2011.
Carol Marks from Bord Bia said ‘There are many examples of beautiful gardens in Ireland. These contribute greatly to the enjoyment of plants and wildlife. It is clear that a minority of plants can cause problems if they get into the wild. The Be Plant Wise campaign will help inform gardeners about how they can manage their ponds responsibly’.
Pond owners are advised to:
- Compost with care – make sure you dispose of the whole plant properly and no fragments break away; dispose of waste pond and fish tank water away from streams, rivers, ponds or lakes;
- Stop the spread – be careful not to introduce invasive species into the wild, even accidentally, as you could be breaking the law; and
- Know what you grow – pick the right plants for your pond and manage them carefully. Choose non-invasive species where possible.
Further information on how to ‘Be Plant Wise’ can be found on the Invasive Species Ireland website at http://invasivespeciesireland.com/what-can-i-do/be-plant-wise/
- The Be Plant Wise campaign targets invasive aquatic plants. This is an initiative spearheaded by Invasive Species Ireland but is a collaboration of many organisations across both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The launch in Ireland coincides with the launch by the Minister of Environment in Northern Ireland.
- The Invasive Species Ireland project is a joint venture between the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The Invasive Species Ireland project aims to substantially reduce the impact of invasive species.
- Invasive species can alter ecological relationships among native species. They can affect the whole ecosystem function, economic value of ecosystems and human health.
- Whilst the majority of introduced species pose neither economic nor ecological problems, a few species become invasive and damaging to their new habitat.
- Invasive species can be spread in many ways. Introductions can be either accidental or intentional. Many invasive plant species have been spread through deliberate introductions as the species was perceived to have a value in agriculture or ornamental gardening. However, many have also been unintentional introductions, either through planting of impure seed mixes that contain the invasive species, or by hitching a ride on a vehicle or in cargo.
- On the 21st of September 2011, the Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht signed into Irish law Regulations which, among other significant provisions, strengthen the controls on the introduction of non-native species to Ireland. The strengthened provisions were brought about in response to the growing number of non-native species which may impact on species, habitats, human health and the economy. Regulations 49 and 50 specifically relate to non-native species. More information on these regulations is available from NPWS.
Name: John Kelly
Primary number: +44 (0) 2890 44 7166 Alternative number: +44 (0) 785 9068460
Address: Invasive Species Ireland, Suite 206, Arthur House, 41 Arthur Street, Belfast BT1 4GB