Good morning campers and tree huggers. For the last two weeks the ConVols have been working on the annual task of Himalayan balsam removal.
Hymilayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is listed on Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act in England and Wales therefore, it is also an offence to plant or otherwise cause to grow these species in the wild.
H.B is Britains largest annual plant growing to over two and half meters and introduced to the UK in 1839. Travelling both up and down stream H.B quickly dominates the riverbanks forcing other less aggressive species out,this in turn dramatically reduces the biodiversity of the river banks.
New Volunteers are often reluctant to work on this task as what they are seeing is a bonny relative of the Busy Lizzie plant and it is an attractive plant, thats why it was brought here all those years ago but it has to go. Anyone that has witnessed the way that H.B. colonise our river banks,will in a short time realise that H.B. poses a major threat to our river and beck sides, with what can be catastrophic results to the indigenous flora/fauna.
If you would like to know more about this subject the net is full of info.R.H.S
Rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum (L.)pulling is a very similar task to H.B. a stunningly beautiful plant grown all over the world, that has to go. Although it possesses attractive flowers R. ponticum has few attributes that offset the negative impact it can have on an invaded site. It has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds and plants and regenerative capacity of a site, leading to a reduction in the biodiversity of the area. Physical access to a site can be reduced by the density and size of mature bushes, and management costs then rise as the bushes need to be treated prior to other activities being carried out. Established bushes then act as a seed source for further invasions in adjacent areas, eradicating ground cover plants and interfering with the process of natural regeneration of trees.
The ConVols have contracted with the Woodland trust to continue with Rhododendron pulling in Raincliffe Woods and over the coming year we hope to make some dramatic improvement in the amount of this unwanted plant.