Highlands & Islands

Plant 'biggest threat' to habitat in Scotland

Rhododendron
Image caption The foliage of rhododendron blocks out sunlight to native plant species

An invasive non-native plant has been described as the biggest threat to natural habitats in Scotland.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) said rhododendron has thrived in the damp climate of west Scotland.

Its foliage prevents sunlight reaching forest floors and stops other plants, including tree saplings, from growing.

SNH is leading a two-day workshop in Strontian, in Ardnamurchan, on techniques designed to destroy rhododendron.

About 30 land managers were expected to attend.

Robin Payne, policy and advice manager at SNH, said: "There is no doubt that rhododendron is a huge problem for Scotland's native biodiversity, particularly woodlands and especially in the west.

"Control has been carried out for a number of years now in many parts of the country, with varying degrees of success.

"It is important that we continue to learn from these experiences and develop new more effective ways of tackling the problem."

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