Here Today, Here Tomorrow? Horizon scanning for invasive non-native plants

This report (i) profiles a selection of 20 ‘sites in peril’ in Britain that are threatened or being damaged by non-native plants and (ii) summarises the research in the more detailed report Horizon-scanning for Invasive Non-native Plants in Great Britain published by Natural England (see p.23). It includes lists of invasive plants on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, which it is an offence to plant, or otherwise cause to grow, in the wild (separate lists for England & Wales and Scotland). Eight of a number of non-native plants that Plantlife considers to be on the brink of becoming invasive in Britain are highlighted as the ‘ones to watch’: Quercus ilex, Q. cerris, Robinia pseudoacacia, Persicaria wallichii, Egeria densa, Pontederia cordata, Acaena novae-zelandiae and Ailanthus altissima.

As in the Natural England report, the limitations of the screening process and the needs for its further development are recognised. The ‘rapid risk assessment’ process simply provides a horizon-scanning service which can be used to help prioritise resources by recommending a shortlist of plants that require more-detailed assessment. Plantlife would be pleased to share their knowledge and experience with others who would like to develop the screening process. They would be grateful for comments and observations to add to the evidence base on particular taxa and to highlight possible ‘false positive’ and ‘false negative’ results.

Copies of the reports are downloadable from the Natural England and Plantlife websites.

Horizon-scanning for invasive non-native plants in Great Britain (NECR053) report