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Stitch in Time project battles on during Invasive Species Week

The Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority will be using Invasive Species Week (23–29 March) to raise awareness of the positive progress being made by its Stitch in Time project, which is targeting three non-native plants in the Gwaun and Clydach Valleys.

Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed and rhododendron ponticum are invasive non-native species (INNS), which have negative impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity by outcompeting native flora for space, light and nutrients, and in extreme cases, can harm health.

Himalayan balsam flowering
Himalayan balsam flowering

The National Park Authority’s Stitch in Time Project Co-ordinator Matthew Tebbutt said: “During Invasive Species Week we will be looking to raise public awareness of these species of INNS and asking people to get involved with our project.

“The project is demonstrating that, thanks to the hard work of volunteers, sites can recover from all three of the target species, especially Himalayan balsam. We must, however, emphasise that prevention is better than a cure, and acting early is crucial if you do spot INNS on your land.

Himalayan balsam especially spreads easily near river banks but there is now a recording system for INNS run by the West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre which maps river catchments and source areas at:

www.wwbic.org.uk/wildlife-recording/aliens/, where people can report their sightings.”

Japanese knotweed.
Japanese knotweed.​

Core volunteer groups have been involved since 2015, and include the Friends of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, who work in the Gwaun Valley, and the Newport Paths Group, who have focussed on the Clydach catchment area.

Working with landowners, contractors and National Park Authority staff and training, volunteers have contributed more than 400 hours to help with targeted recovery sites. Rhododendron and Japanese knotweed require more specialist control methods, which do incur a cost.

Rhododendrum ponticum
Rhododendrum ponticum.

The Stitch in Time project started in 2015 with funding from the Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) and has been able to continue its work with financial support from the Welsh Government.

If you or a group are interested in volunteering in the Stitch in Time project, please contact Matthew Tebbutt on 07866 771164 or email matthewt@pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk.

For more information about the project and the three invasive species being targeted visit www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/stitchintime.

Published 26 March 2018


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