Information on invasive species

What are invasive plant species and why is important to remove them from natural landscapes such as St Ives?

Invasive plant species, like Rhododendron and Himalayan Balsam, are non-native plants that spread quickly and outcompete native species. When they grow unchecked, native plants suffer from resource deprivation, including sunlight, water, and nutrients. This ultimately suppresses native vegetation, causing biodiversity loss and ecological disruption.

How do non-native plant species find their way into our woodlands and how can the community help?

Harmful tree pests, diseases, and invasive non-native species can enter woodlands via natural routes like watercourses, wildlife migration, or wind dispersal. However, human activity predominantly facilitates their introduction. Tree pests and diseases are often imperceptible and can readily spread through soil, organic material transported on footwear, clothing, and bicycle tires.

Biosecurity is a term that refers to the important practice of maintaining cleanliness to reduce the transfer of soil, water, and plant material when moving between visits to outdoor spaces like parks, gardens, or woodlands.

The Forestry Commission offers more information about this, including tips on how to ‘keep it clean’. Visit their blog page here:


Links to other useful resources:

Guidance: Invasive non-native (alien) plant species: rules in England and Wales

Invasive non-native plants – Royal Horticultural Society