The eradication of Salvinia molesta in the Pozzo del Merro, Italy
Salvinia molesta (Salviniaceae, EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants) was observed in August 2003 in a pond at the Pozzo del Merro, situated a few kilometers from Rome on the municipality of Sant’Angelo Romano (IT). The Pozzo del Merro is one of the deepest sink hole in the world and is part of a natural reserve in the Rome Province. The species had covered the whole water surface in 2 months and was found to be able to overwinter. The invasive red-eared slider Trachemys scripta (Emydidae) was also found in the pond. The introduction of both the turtle and the invasive plant are thought to be the result of an aquarium release. In 2009, the Province of Roma decided to undertake the eradication of S. molesta through mechanical removal. The removal of 4 to 5 m3 of the plant was done in March in order to minimize disturbance on native amphibian species such as newts. This removal was followed by monitoring and repeated removal of the plant. As of 2012, S. molesta has not been observed and is considered eradicated in the Pozzo del Merro.
Giardini M, Buccomino G, Buonfiglio V, Vecchio M ; Vinci M (2012) La Salvinia estocia del Pozzo del Meero. In Giardini M (Ed) (2012) Sant’Angelo Romano (Monti Cornicolani, Roma). Un territorio ricco di storia e di natura. Commune di Sant’Angelo Romano, Regione Lazio p. 294-301.