Voluntary codes of conduct in the USA
In the USA in 2001, the Nature Conservancy and the Missouri Botanical Garden organized a workshop to develop strategies against new introductions of invasive alien species. Participants from various groups, including governmental organizations, garden clubs, the horticulture industry and botanical gardens developed a series of codes of conduct addressed to each of their respective groups. In developing these voluntary codes of conduct, it was recognized that emphasis should be placed on education but that future government regulations might be needed if such educational efforts proved insufficient. These codes are now being considered for endorsement by the major professional societies and organizations representing each of the groups involved. If endorsed, they will be 'tested' and revised if needed for further improvement. In the long term, it is expected that this cooperative working process will lead to a reduction in the number of species escaping from gardens and landscaped areas into the wilderness.
Voluntary codes of conduct for nurserymen were designed as follows:
- Be aware of plants that are invasive in your region and identify alternatives with regional experts.
- Comply with laws on imports and quarantine; assess the potential of invasiveness of a plant before introducing and marketing it (risk assessment, behaviour of the species elsewhere in the world, observations in the nursery).
- Progressively eliminate stocks of plants which are known to be invasive alien plants.
- Develop and promote the use of alternative plant material through plant selection and breeding.
- Encourage customers to use non-invasive plants.
Voluntary codes of conduct for landscape architects include the following:
- Be aware of plants that are invasive in your region and identify suitable alternatives in consultation with other professionals and non-professionals.
- Do not recommend species that are invasive in your region.
- Encourage suppliers to provide landscape contractors and gardeners with non-invasive plants.
- Promote the inclusion of the issue of invasive alien plants in local landscape ordinances.
Voluntary codes of conduct for the gardening public include the following:
- Be aware of plants that are invasive in your region.
- Only ask for and plant environmentally-safe species in your garden. Remove invasive alien plants from your garden and replace them by non-invasive ones.
- Do not exchange or trade plants with invasive characteristics with other gardeners.
- Request that nurseries and botanical gardens do not promote, display and sell invasive alien plants, participate in the education of other gardeners and ask garden writers and media to promote the topic.
- Participate in reporting invasive alien plants observed in your area, and in projects of management of invasive alien plants.
Voluntary codes of conduct for botanical gardens and arboreta and for governments have also been drawn.
The first aim of the project “Preventing Invasion through Horticulture” is to identify a core group of well-known firms to implement and test these codes as part of their standard business practices during the next three years. In a second phase, results will be evaluated and shared in order to encourage a greater number of nurseries and landscape industries to adopt and implement the codes. The final objective is that, within 10 years, the majority of horticultural firms across the USA will be participating in this programme.
Linking Ecology and Horticulture to Prevent Plant Invasions. http://www.centerforplantconservation.org/invasives/codesN.html
Contact: Valerie Vartanian, Horticulture and Landscape Professions Liaison, The Nature Conservancy, The Missouri Botanical Garden, email@example.com