Although famous for its beautiful flowers during spring, rhododendron can grow many metres tall, allowing very little light to penetrate through its thick canopy. This has been shown to reduce the numbers of earthworms, birds and plants in a site, leading to a reduction in the biodiversity of the area.
In the New Forest the fightback is on, with a project to remove the plant from the 26,000 hectares of Forestry Commission managed land in the National Park making significant inroads.
Since 2013 much of the Forest has been covered, with more than 100 hectares of non-native scrub, including rhododendron, cleared.
By 2020 we aim to have cleared all Forestry Commission land in the New Forest of significant areas of rhododendron.