[Invasive-species] Alert: far from waste and fallow lands !

BRANQUART Etienne E.Branquart at mrw.wallonie.be
Wed Jun 6 11:26:51 CEST 2007

Dear colleagues,

A short message to inform you about the situation of biological invasions in the Ardennes. Though ecosystem integrity is rather good in this region of the country, quite a lot of  field observations show that it is currently invaded by several non-native species. 

The pictures here attached show you the invasion of the banks of an Ourthe tributary by Heracleum mantegazzianum. The plant is found in very different natural habitats, including Natura 2000 sites and nature reserves: Alnus forests, tall herb grasslands, etc. Seeds are transported by the river and colonisation is impressive.  It doesn't confine to the tributary but follow the Ourthe river up to the Nisramont dam. Without immediate management actions, impact on biodiversity will be huge. And consequences for human health will be dramatic as well (anglers, farmers, foresters, tourists, etc.).

A similar situation is observed with Spiraea alba, invading river banks in different parts of the Ardennes. Also several populations of Lysichiton americanus, a plant of the EPPO alert list. In the same region, the frequency of observations of raccoon (Procyon lotor) dramatically increased during the last months.

What I find especially worrying is that those species do not confine at all to disturbed or man-made habitats but really invade high conservation value sites. Action is needed urgently !



Dr.  Etienne Branquart
Belgian Biodiversity Platform (SPO)
Ministere de la Region wallonne
Centre de Recherche de la Nature, des Forets et du Bois (DGRNE)
Avenue Marechal Juin, 23
B-5030 Gembloux- Belgium
Tel :   + 32 (0)81 620 420
Fax :  + 32 (0)81 620 436
E-mail : E.Branquart at mrw.wallonie.be
URL: http://www.biodiversity.be
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