French survey on how invasive alien plants are perceived by municipalities and landscape professionals
Evaluating how horticulture professionals perceive invasive alien plants is a necessary prerequisite to launch communication actions on this topic.
In 2011, an Internet survey was carried out in France. It was specifically addressed to municipalities of over 2000 inhabitants and landscape enterprises. Its aims were:
- To evaluate how invasive alien plants are considered by landscape professionals;
- To quantify and describe the use of these species;
- To identify voluntary preventive actions undertaken by landscape enterprises.
One hundred and ten (110) persons responded to the questionnaire, of which 63% were from municipalities, and 37% from landscape enterprises.
Twelve percent (12%) of the respondents considered that invasive alien plants represent a priority topic, and 45% considered that it is a very important topic. This level of interest suggests that the panel of respondents is already generally well aware of the problems caused by invasive alien plants, and may not be considered as very representative of the professionals of the field.
A list of invasive ornamental plants was provided with the questionnaire and respondents were invited to provide comments on it:
- The most widely used ornamental species which are considered as invasive are: Acer negundo (Sapindaceae), Pennisetum setaceum (Poaceae, EPPO Alert List), Lonicera japonica (Caprifoliaceae), Cortaderia selloana (Poaceae, EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants), Ligustrum sp. (Oleaceae);
- The species respondants consider should not be used because of their invasiveness are: Fallopia japonica (Polygonaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Phytolacca americana (Phytolaccaceae), Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Asteraceae, EPPO List of IAP), Heracleum mantegazzianum (Apiaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Impatiens glandulifera (Balsaminaceae, EPPO List of IAP).
- Some species did not receive many comments as they were probably not well known by the respondents: Pueraria lobata (Fabaceae, EPPO A2 List), Solidago gigantea (Asteraceae, EPPO List of IAP), Amorpha fruticosa (Fabaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Fallopia sachalinensis (Polygonaceae, EPPO List of IAP), Cornus sericea (Cornaceae, EPPO Alert List).
It appeared from this questionnaire that emerging invasive alien plants are not flagged as invasive by the respondents and are still being largely used. These respondents, when asked about possible measures, were favorable to the implementation of legislation and to other measures such as Codes of conduct, training, use of non-invasive species as alternatives and surveillance. In addition, about 70% of the respondents considered that they were not sufficiently informed about the topic, and requested that an information network for landscape and nursery professionals should be developped. The results of this survey will be published in due course on the website of ‘Plante ; Cité’ (www.plante-et-cite.fr) in French.
Another survey directed to nursery professionals (i.e. plant importers, producers and retailers) is planned on the same topic in 2012.
Personal communication with Damien Provendier (2012-04).