EPPO Global Database

EPPO Reporting Service no. 01 - 2014 Num. article: 2014/018

European Code of conduct for botanic gardens on invasive alien species

A European Code of conduct for botanic gardens on invasive alien species has been published by the Bern Convention. This Code of conduct is addressed to the staff of botanic gardens. The Code highlights the special role of botanic gardens in introducing thousands of plant species from around the world. Examples of invasive species known to have been introduced through European botanic gardens include Elodea canadensis (Hydrocharitaceae), Senecio squalidus (Asteraceae), Heracleum mantegazzianum (Apiaceae, EPPO List of Invasive Alien Plants) and Oxalis pes-caprae (Oxalidaceae).
The Code provides the following recommendations in the following sections:
  1. Awareness
    1. Ensure that all botanic garden personnel are made aware of the issues and problems posed by invasive alien organisms and are involved in formulating and implementing the policies adopted by the garden;
    2. Be aware of which species are known to be invasive in Europe and especially in your country or region and of the risk they pose;
    3. Ensure that the botanic garden complies with existing legislation and regulations regarding invasive alien species at a national, European and international level and that all relevant staff are made aware of them.
  1. Share information
2.1 Share information with other botanic gardens and other organizations concerned with the impacts or control of invasive alien species.
  1. Preventing new invasions
3.1 Undertake an audit of the existing collections in the botanic garden for invasion risk;
3.2 Try to ensure that no invasive or potentially invasive plants are unintentionally introduced into the collections;
3.3 Take great care when disposing of plant waste material from any part of the garden and do so responsibly;
3.4 Take great care in disposing of unwanted stocks of plants;
3.5 Consider adopting the International Plant Exchange Network (IPEN) Code of conduct;
3.6 If the botanic garden produces a seed list (Index Seminum), ensure that it does not freely offer seed or propagules of invasive or potentially invasive plants;
3.7 Be vigilant and ensure that staff report any signs of invasiveness shown by plants in the public collections and in the nursery areas;
3.8 Do not offer for sale known or potentially invasive species in garden shops or nurseries;
3.9 Adopt good labeling practices.
  1. Control measures
4.1 Actual or suspected signs of invasive behavior should be carefully monitored;
4.2 Invasive plants or other organisms should be controlled or removed as soon as detected and confirmed.
  1. Outreach
5.1 Engage with the public on the dangers of invasive alien plants and their economic consequences;
5.2 Suggest alternative species to invasive plants;
5.3 Alert those involved in revegetation schemes, including local authorities and landscape architects of the risks of IAS being included in commercial seed mixtures and provide advice on what materials to use.
  1. Forward planning
6.1 Consider developing research activities on invasive species and becoming involved in collaborative research projects at national and regional levels;
6.2 Prepare for the impacts on botanic gardens in a period of global change.


Heywood V with Sharrock S (2013) European Code of Conduct for Botanic Gardens on Invasive Alien Species. Council of Europe, Strasbourg, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Richmond.