National Trust for Scotland (NTS) has successfully tackled over 40 hectares of the most destructive and invasive plants – including Rhododendron ponticum, Japanese knotweed and American skunk cabbage – at its sites across Scotland as part of its Project Wipeout initiative.
The project, which was launched last August, has made good progress on NTS’s plan to wipe out invasive plants at some of its most important sites across Scotland.
Work has taken place on estates at Inverewe, Corrieshalloch Gorge, Torridon, Balmacara and Kintail in Wester Ross, at Brodie Castle in Moray, at Brodick Castle, Garden & Country Park on Arran and at Culzean Castle & Country Park in South Ayrshire.
Jeff Waddell, Senior Nature Conservation Advisor at the National Trust for Scotland, said: “This is the Trust’s biggest ever effort to tackle these non-native plants which are spreading across Scotland’s precious natural habitats, including temperate rainforests, crowding out the native flora. This is bad for our biodiversity – we need a range of native plants, so that we can have a rich, healthy environment.
“Using expert contractors and the latest removal methods… [we’re] working from Wester Ross to Ayrshire to get rid of these plants and provide space for Scotland’s native flora to flourish once again.”
A range of removal methods are being used, depending on local circumstances. At Torridon, a mulcher proved to be effective in tackling dense Rhododendron ponticum, while at Corrieshalloch Gorge experts have been swinging on ropes to remove species from inaccessible ledges in the 60m-deep gorge that runs through the National Nature Reserve.
The Trust’s Natural Heritage Advisor Rob Dewar said: “Project Wipeout is progressing well and we’ve been able to carry out significant areas of removal at Trust sites across the country. This means that this spring, native plants will have more light and space to grow, which is great news for our nation’s biodiversity.”