Methodologies to increase public awareness about invasive alien plants in Portugal
Citizens can be responsible for the introduction and spread of invasive alien species (IAS) but, on the other hand, they can play a major role in helping to prevent and control IAS. Even though IAS and their consequences are recognised by the Portuguese law since 1999, a large proportion of the population is still unaware of biological invasions. To reduce this knowledge gap, the Portuguese research team on IAS has devoted a considerable effort to promote public awareness and engage the public on the topic of invasive alien plants.
A web page was developed (Plantas invasoras em Portugal), field-work projects for university students, and training courses for professionals dealing with exotic plants and for teachers were organized. Printed documents about invasive plants in Portugal, including a field guide, a technical document about the identification and control of IAS, as well as bookmarks and postcards were produced. An evaluation of the effectiveness of these various approaches is being undertaken. In general, public awareness about IAS in Portugal is increasing, but further work is needed.
Marchante E, Marchante H, Morais M ; Freita H (2011) Combining methodologies to increase public awareness about invasive alien plants in Portugal. Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Invasive Plants in the Mediterranean Type Regions of the World, 2010-08-02/06, Trabzon, Turkey, pp. 227-239.
Plantas invasoras em Portugal Website http://www1.ci.uc.pt/invasoras/