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Forestry Commission Scotland has launched an ambitious action plan to free the national forest estate of rhododendron - and the scale of the task is so huge that 15 years have been set aside to do it!
The Commission’s Native Woodland Ecologist, Richard Thompson said:
“Rhododendron ponticum is one of Scotland’s most unwelcome invasive species – and it’s just really nasty stuff.
“It suffocates habitats, hampers biodiversity and – if that wasn’t bad enough – it harbours tree-killing phytophthora species. Getting rid of it would be a real shot in the arm for Scotland’s environment and for forestry.
“But everyone needs to do their bit and report any rhododendron that they see to the environment lead in their District. Don't walk past it and ignore it – because if you do you soon won't be able to move for the stuff!”
Requiring partnership work at a landscape scale, a comprehensive planning and recording system has been established to help coordinate the effort. Although detailed surveying has still to be completed in places, it is estimated that around £15M will need to be committed to the project if it is to succeed.
Planning & Environment Manager, Moira Baptie added:
“We’re under no illusions – it’s going to be a big job and while it sounds like it might be an expensive job, in terms of biodiversity it’s a small investment for a big return.”
Work has already started in several Districts, including Cowal & Trossachs, Lochaber, West Argyll, North Highland and Galloway with £1.6 Million already allocated to the task in 2011/12.
Notes to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate and manages the 660,000 hectare national forest estate, protect, enhancing and expanding Scotland’s forests and woodlands in ways that deliver benefits to people, communities, biodiversity and the economy. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland