Karlovy Vary, West Bohemia, June 25 (CTK) – A three-year project of extensive liquidation of invasive plants, unparalleled elsewhere in Europe, which is financially supported from the EU funds, is finishing in the Karlovy Vary Region this summer, its manager Lenka Pocova has told CTK.

Supervised by the regional authority, the project aims to liquidate giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed and Bobby tops in thousands of localities across the region.

The undesirable plants have been liquidated by chemical means, and also by hand mowing in the places where the use of chemicals is banned.

The goal is to reduce the invasive plants’ incidence to 15 percent in the localities treated by chemical spraying and to 40 percent in those hand-mowed, Pocova said.

The number of the treated localities is hard to imagine. There are about 13,000 of them and each needs to be treated several times a year, she said.

The plants are either digged out immediately after burgeoning or they are chemically treated or cut before they start blossoming.

At the beginning, the authorities had to gain consent from a total of 4,800 owners of all plots involved.

Although the project has been underway for three years now, all the three undesired plant species continue reappearing, sometimes even in entirely new localities.

Pocova said the three-year project has cost 82 million crowns, 90 percent of which will be covered from the EU-subsidised Environment Operational Programme and by the State Environmental Fund. The rest will be paid by the Karlovy Vary Region.

This autumn, a study will be completed to compare the invasive plants’ incidence now and before the start of the project three years ago.

As from next year, the plots’ owners will again have to liquidate the plants on their own. Those failing to observe the duty may be fined.