Scotch Broom removal at Nanaimo Estuary Conservation Area

Invasive plant species are not native to BC and they can have negative impacts on native plants and wildlife as well as entire ecosystems. Invasive plants often grow quickly and spread much faster than native plants. Some like Scotch Broom and English Ivy will choke out other plants and create areas with little diversity.

Bird caught on Burdock - Alice Arm Estuary

Many invasive plants are introduced inadvertently from home gardens. Gardeners may purchase plants for their aesthetic appeal and not be aware that they are invasive. An example is Hogweed, which has stunning foliage, but it produces a toxic sap that can cause severe burns when touched. This also affects animals, who can get injured, such as the juvenile bird shown caught in Burdock in the photo on the left.

Another invasive species that is popular with gardeners is Yellow Flag-iris. While beautiful, it can invade wetlands  and clog waterways.

“The removal of Burdock was one of the most difficult things we had to do. Burdock is an invasive plant which is biennial. In its first year it grows large leaves, and in its second year it grows a large stalk and burrs. These burrs were incredibly itchy and stuck to everything. The plant also spreads quite quickly as each plant produces hundreds of burrs.”

  • Quinn Ramsay, Okanagan Conservation Youth Crew
CYC_Removal of Invasive Plants

Conservation Youth Crew removing Yellow Flag-iris (left) and Scotch Broom (right)

Other ways that invasive plants are spread is when people, goods or produce are transported from one place to another. They may carry invasive species unintentionally. With the increase in human travel and the transportation of goods, the spread of invasive species has risen. 

Englishman River estuary gorse removal

Englishman River – Conservation Youth Crew removing Gorse

“The most difficult thing I did was remove a large patch of Gorse on the fringes of the Englishman River Estuary. It is a plant that has very large thorns. It is nasty stuff and I hope it goes back to where it came from!”

  • Andrew Harper, Vancouver Island Conservation Youth Crew

Conservation Land Management + Invasive Species

The Nature Trust of BC monitors any invasive plants found on our conservation properties. Our Conservation Youth Crews spend part of each summer removing these plants which can be incredibly challenging. Native plants and wildlife benefit from their hard work with a healthier environment.

Our Conservation Youth Crew program provides a wonderful opportunity to inspire the next generation to care about the environment while also teaching them valuable skills.

Click here for more information or to support our Conservation Youth Crew program