Giant Alien
Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) a pernicious invasive weed: Developing a sustainable strategy for alien invasive plant management in Europe



Project summary


Management and control of Giant Hogweed in Europe
Alien invasive plants such as Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum) are having a severe impact on biodiversity in Europe. No successful solutions stopping invasion has been found so far. A project was commenced in January 2002. It was carried out under EU 5th FW, "Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development" - Assessing and Conserving Biodiversity.

The overall objective of the project was to develop an integrated management strategy that comprises effective, practicable and sustainable means of controlling an alien non-agricultural weed (H. mantegazzianum). This will provide a generic control strategy to safeguard the biodiversity of Europe from the increasingly serious threat of other alien invasives. In addition to the effective control of this species, a concept would be produced which could serve as a template by which other exotic species could be controlled or prevented from reaching the invasive phase.

Project summary
The overall objective has been pursued through the following objectives:

• creating a knowledge base for H. mantegazzianum including genetics, taxonomy, biology and ecology
• modelling the invasion of the species at the local and continental scale
• searching for, and assessing potential biological control agents in the area of origin of H. mantegazzianum for potential future use in Europe, including a risk-benefit analysis, an evaluation of existing European guidelines for the importation of exotic organisms, and an implementation plan
• investigating presently applied mechanical and chemical control methods together with possible measures to reduce and prevent further dispersal of H. mantegazzianum and other alien invasive weeds
• integrating the resultant knowledge and experience to produce best practice guidelines and an integrated control strategy disseminating this knowledge to practitioners across Europe to implement effective and economic sound control measures

The project has been carried out in co-operation by 37 researchers from 8 European universities and research institutes (P1-P9).

P1 Senior scientist Hans Peter Ravn Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Hoersholm, Denmark
P2 Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Nentwig University of Bern, Zoological Institute, Bern, Switzerland
P4 Dr. Matthew Cock CABI Bioscience Switzerland Centre, Delémont, Switzerland and CABI Bioscience UK Centre, Berks, United Kingdom
P5 Prof. Dr. Max Wade University of Hertsfordshire, Dept. of Environmental Sciences, Hatfield, Herts, United Kingdom
P6 Prof. Dr. Annette Otte Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Institute of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning, Giessen, Germany
P7 Dr. Petr Pysek Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Institute of Botany, Prúhonice, Czech Republic
P8 Dr. Eckart Winkler UFZ - Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-Halle, Department of Ecological Modelling, Leipzig, Germany
P9 Director Ilze Priekule Latvian Plant Protection Research Centre, Riga, Latvia
Giant Alien Project (2002-2005) has been financed by the European Commision within the 5th Framework Programme, Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development’, project no. EVK2-CT-2001-00128