‘Green killer’ plant found in southwest China, calls on experts to raise awareness

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A man wipes out Solidago Canadensis in Wuhan, Hubei province (central China). Photo: VCG

The “ecological killer” Solidago Canadensis – also known as the Canadian goldenrod – has been found again in Chengdu, in southwest China’s Sichuan province, just days after being wiped out in the region, a local expert confirmed to the Global Times on Monday. .

Invasive plants are known to threaten their local counterparts. Due to the high reproductive capacity of the Canadian goldenrod, it destroys a stable ecosystem and an allelopathic effect on local native plants, Hou Kai, associate professor at Sichuan Agricultural University, told the Global Times on Monday, noting that local agricultural departments had wiped it out before. .

The species was introduced in the 1930s to China as an ornamental plant. This has led to the elimination of more than 30 local species in Shanghai alone, according to media reports.

More than 660 invasive alien species have been found in China, including 71 that have caused threats or will potentially threaten natural ecosystems, according to the latest news on China’s environmental conditions in 2020.

There are several possible pathways leading to invasive species found in China. They might have taken over nature, such as air flow, water flow, or natural migration through plant seeds or animal larvae. In addition, human activities have an increasing impact on their invasion.

In order to prevent more invasive species, “public education is needed,” Hou said.

Relevant departments should strengthen quarantine for imported species, as some invasive species have been found in nursery-grown plants or other media, Hou said.

Some species are intentionally introduced for ornamental purposes, such as Eichhornia crassipes, also known as water hyacinth. Relevant authorities should step up their management of these types of plants in case they escape or invade other areas, Hou said.

China has published four batches of invasive species lists, including water hyacinth, Spartina alterniflora, and Mikania micrantha. “It is important to educate people about species harmful to China’s ecological environment, so the publication of the lists is very necessary,” Hou said.

For species with the most severe impacts, the public should be aware of the importance of reporting to relevant departments immediately after finding them, Hou said, noting that more research is needed to explore the impact of these species. invasive species on the local ecology and livelihoods of local residents, and scientific and reasonable technology will be used to manage these invasive species.

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