Protecting habitat by taking a stand against Himalayan balsam. The team at NOSY joined forces with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to help combat the invasive Himalayan balsam on the trust's nature reserve.
April Turner, 20 June, 2023
Himalayan balsam was introduced as an ornamental plant, and has become a formidable threat to native species and ecosystems. Its rapid growth and dense stands along riverbanks displace native plants, reducing biodiversity, threatening wildlife and causing soil erosion. The problem with Himalayan balsam is its exceptional reproductive capacity allows each plant to produce 800 seeds, rapidly spreading through waterways.
Emma from the trust first gave us an introduction to the plant, how to identify it, remove it and destroy it. We put our gloves on and spent the morning pulling out the invasive plant, reducing its density and creating space for native flora to thrive. The team dived into the task, tackling sting nettles, brambles and wildlife to get to the balsam. We worked in teams to focus on different areas, we had several large piles of the plant which were destroyed by crushing them.
The Wildlife Trusts goal is to eventually remove the species from the area, with every year finding less balsam. Constant land management and volunteers are needed to help combat the issue. By the end of the morning we were able to clear several areas of the invasive plant. We hope the effort of the team helped to reduce the plant from seeding/spreading and help the native plants to thrive.
If you’d like to support the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust or look for opportunities to volunteer please visit. https://www.hiwwt.org.uk/