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Film ATTENTION! GOLDENROD! reports about a new ecologic threat

Attention! Goldenrod! The educational film Attention! Goldenrod! became available on the internet today. It informs about a new threat to Belarusian nature – the extensive spreading of the Canadian goldenrod. Its level of danger for the environment and people`s wellbeing places this alien species to the one raw with the Sosnowski cow parsnip and the potato beetle.

The production of the film Attention! Goldenrod! was initiated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Republic of Belarus (MNREP) within the implementation of United Nations Development Programme and Global Environment Facility Project “Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Territorial Planning Policies and Practices”. The subtitled version of the film is available here; and the original version can be seen here and on MNREP`s web-site.

Head of the Biological and Landscape Diversity Department of the MNREP Natalya Minchenko emphasizes: “Stopping the spread of alien flora and fauna species is one of the basic tasks for providing national security for the Republic of Belarus in the ecological sphere. The Canadian goldenrod is already causing damage, not only to Belarus’ nature, but also to agriculture and forestry. Today, its spread can still be brought under control. That is why I am appealing to land-users: stopping the spread of goldenrod today is our common task and common responsibility. Otherwise, in just a few years, this work will demand much more effort and resources”.

There are several reasons for goldenrod aggressive spreading. First of all, in Belarus it has no natural “enemies” among competing plants and insects. Secondly, each goldenrod bush produces up to 100,000 seeds with very high germinating ability: up to 95 percent. Thirdly, goldenrod roots produce inhibitors that suppress the growth of other plants. Hereupon, the majority of meadow insects, birds, and small mammals disappear. Thus, having captured any territory, goldenrod completely transforms its flora and fauna.

Overall, it leads to galloping usurpation of new areas by goldenrod. The situation becomes even worse because animals, including wild ones, do not eat goldenrod. This means that territories occupied by goldenrod cannot be used for grazing and hay making.

Goldenrod quickly strikes roots on meadows, pastures, ameliorated wetlands, waste lands, forest edges, logging areas, etc. One more threat arises from goldenrod spreading in forests where it extends on edges and logging areas.

Head of the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Belarus Valentin Shatravko says: “I ask for a high degree of attention to this problem. If we let goldenrod spread into forests, then later, during forest planting, we will have to do a lot of additional work, like ploughing, sod destruction, etc. This will incur considerable expenses. The penetration of goldenrod into our forests will also lead to the disappearance of natural forest flora, which will negatively influence animals’ feeding. That is why our principal task is to prevent the penetration of goldenrod into Belarusian forests”.

The sources of goldenrod seeds are homestead lands and cemeteries where it is cultivated as an ornamental plant. From there it spreads to adjoining forests and meadows. Therefore, on homestead lands and cemeteries, goldenrod should be displaced with other ornamental plants.

There are both physical and chemical methods of combatting goldenrod. It is recommended to mow the weed when it grows to 15-20 centimetres i.e. 3-4 times per season. Alternatively it can be mowed once, in the second half of August before the seeds ripen. In this case, the mowed plants must be utilized (burnt or composted). For significant territories occupied by the weed, ploughing (with perennial grasses intercropped) is an effective solution.

Manager of “Biodiversity” Project Vladimir Koltunov notes: “Today, time is still on our side, but only for another 3-4 years. It is important to use it effectively and do our best to get goldenrod under control. To this end, one simple rule should be observed – maintain order on our land”.

For further information, please contact Irina Novak, “Biodiversity” Project Information Officer, tel.: +37517-203-57-50, email .

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