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21 Aug 2020

Nationwide effort to wipe out non-native plants

A contractor kneels in a mossy woodland area, holding an uprooted plant in one hand. They wear a midge net over their head and sunglasses.
Project Wipeout, a nationwide effort to eradicate non-native plant species, is now underway.

With lockdown restrictions continuing to ease, we’re getting back to our vital conservation work this month. We’ve begun a nationwide effort to eradicate invasive plants, including Japanese knotweed, American skunk cabbage and Rhododendron ponticum.

All projects had been paused because of the coronavirus pandemic that hit in March this year.

Project Wipeout will cover sites all across Scotland over the next year, from Torridon in the North-West Highlands to Culzean Country Park in Ayrshire. The work is generously funded by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery, the Nature Scot Biodiversity Challenge Fund and Baillie Gifford.

A gloved hand holds a power drill, and drills down into the roots of a rhododendron plant on a woodland floor.
Drilling into the roots of an invasive rhododendron

Contractors are already on site at Kintail removing Rhododendron ponticum and at Balmacara and Torridon. At Corrieshalloch Gorge, intrepid experts will swing on ropes to remove species from inaccessible ledges in the 60m-deep gorge that runs through the National Nature Reserve.

“This is the Trust’s biggest ever effort to tackle these non-native plants which are spreading across Scotland’s precious natural habitats, including temperate rainforests, crowding out the native flora. This is bad for our biodiversity – we need a range of native plants, so that we can have a rich, healthy environment.
Using expert contractors and the latest removal methods, we’ll be working from Wester Ross to Ayrshire to get rid of these plants and provide space for Scotland’s native flora to flourish once again.”
Jeff Waddell
Senior Nature Conservation Advisor at the National Trust for Scotland
“It’s great to hear that this important project to protect Scotland’s natural heritage is getting underway, and we are pleased that the players of People’s Postcode Lottery are playing their part in making it happen.”
Will Humpington
People’s Postcode Lottery

Work will take place at sites across Scotland into 2021.

The National Trust for Scotland exists to protect Scotland’s natural, built and cultural heritage. We take extra care to monitor our habitats and step in to protect them when necessary. The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on our income and has severely restricted the amount of vital conservation work we can undertake this year. We are extremely grateful to all our members, donors and partners for their continued support over these difficult times.

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