Love the Forest awards grant to tackle invasive plants

Work to remove invasive plants in the New Forest to help wildlife and waterways thrive has received a £5,000 boost thanks to Love the Forest. 

The Love the Forest scheme is part of the New Forest Trust and secures financial support locally through donations and from the millions of people who visit the Forest every year.

It has awarded a grant to the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project (NFNNPP), which works to restore and conserve the Forest’s special habitats by stopping the spread of invasive non-native plants and raising awareness about the damage they cause to the environment and the economy.

The NFNNPP is a partnership project hosted by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and currently supported by the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme, a National Lottery Heritage Fund scheme led by the New Forest National Park Authority, which ends this year.

It works with local communities and organisations and is supported by hundreds of volunteers who have helped remove huge swathes of invasive non-native plants such as Himalayan balsam, from New Forest riverbanks, allowing wild flowers to flourish.

Catherine Chatters, New Forest Non-Native Plants Officer, said: ‘By volunteering with the project, people are able to increase their appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the New Forest, not only its flora and fauna but also the vital role that commoners and their animals perform in the conservation of this very special area.

‘The project will continue to make a difference by controlling and eradicating invasive non-native plants, thereby restoring habitats and allowing our native wildlife to thrive.’

Love the Forest works with businesses across the New Forest to raise funds for conservation and education projects, as well as providing grants to local organisations.

Businesses in the New Forest provide opportunities for their customers to help look after this precious landscape by adding a donation on a room stay, meal or product. Some businesses donate directly or run fundraising events and the scheme has raised £265,000 for New Forest groups and organisations.

William Ziegler, Chairman of the New Forest Trust, said: ‘The New Forest’s internationally recognised biodiversity must be protected. This includes the important work of controlling invasive non-native plants and as such we are happy to support such a project.’

If you are a New Forest business and would like to help protect this special place, please get in touch.

Alternatively, you can donate to Love the Forest online