There are currently 41 non-native plant species on South Georgia all of which have the potential to change ecosystem and have a serious impact on the character of the landscape. Many of the introduced plants are in relatively small populations and associated with areas of human disturbance such as whaling stations, but a few such as dandelion, blue meadow grass and mouse-ear chickweed have naturalised over much of the island.
Management of non-native species is a high priority for South Georgia and in recent years tremendous progress has been made in restoring natural habitats by eradicating rodents and reindeer. In 2014 GSGSSI was successful in applying for funding from the UK Government funded Darwin Plus initiative in order to progress a strategy to manage invasive plants. The strategy that is launched today is the culmination of that process.
Following comprehensive surveys of the distribution and extent of non-native species a strategy has been devised that should see 33 out of the 41 non-native plant species on the island managed to zero population density, or eradicated, by 2020. Delivery of this strategy, continuing to implement rigorous biosecurity measures and building capacity to react rapidly if new species are detected, will have profound benefits for South Georgia ecosystems
The South Georgia Non-Native Plant Management Strategy (2016 – 2020) document can be downloaded here.