Four years of fighting to keep the panicle from reaching the hinterland from the coast

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Santander, 22 September (EFE) — Actions taken over four years as part of the European LIFE Stop Cortaderia project have prevented this invasive species, known as the pampas anther, from moving from the coast into the hinterland, but although targets are underway, the fight continues.

SEO-Birdlife, various associations and the government of Cantabria, as well as other leaders of the Atlantic strip, have been fighting Cortaderia Selloana (Yerba or Pampas Dust) for the last four years for economic support of the regions and Europe, trying to prevent the invasion of this species on the coast of Cantabria.

The targets have been exceeded and the drive to continue fighting invasive species afflicting the entire European Atlantic arc remains because the head of SEO-Birlife in Cantabria, Felipe González, assures Efe that they have stopped the spread of feather duster to the interior of the community and therefore to the Spanish plateau with effective means of eradicating it.

However, he warns that “there is still a lot of work to be done” and asks for “persistence” on the intended path, so as not to return to the initial state in which the Cantabrian coastal regions found themselves four years ago.

Felipe González highlights the importance of having the resources to fight the feather duster and the cooperation of local, regional, national governments and companies to eradicate it.


In addition, it requires the participation of institutions such as the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, as there are “thousands of hectares” with plumerals on the road axles, which contribute to their expansion. According to this biologist, it is the Ministry that should fight for its eradication.

LIFE Stop Cortaderia ends on September 30, but an SEO-Birdlife spokesman claims that the organizations that supported its implementation, such as Amica, Ampros or Serca, intend to seek European funding to continue the ongoing work.

“We’re looking for funding to keep the front open,” says Gonzalez, who notes that after four years it’s known “it’s possible” to eradicate the feather duster and that the fight “has an impact on biodiversity.”


Stop Cortaderia has managed to stop the spread of this invasive species in 58 of the 102 municipalities of Cantabria by destroying specimens and restoring over 300 hectares with native plants and species.

In addition, he did this by hiring people with disabilities who were in charge of field work, some crews that Gonzalez said they also intend to keep.

Last May, the project received the Red Natura 2000 award from the European Commission in the category of social and economic benefits, and the jury highlighted the empowerment that its development means for people with disabilities in the world of work.

To sum up these four years of the project, the Department of Rural Development of Cantabria, which has joined in the eradication of the feather duster through the plan to eradicate the grasshoppers in Cantabria, organized this week a meeting with all those involved in the initiative.

At this meeting with 60 specialists, adviser Guillermo Blanco spoke of the “more than positive” balance of the project.

“Perhaps because of its biological characteristics, the duster is the best example of an invasive species in which efforts made on a piece of land can be wasteful,” acknowledged Blanco, who also called for “greater commitment” from the Department of Transportation.

The meeting was dedicated not only to theoretical sessions, but also to technical workshops to learn more about the ecology of the feather duster and the methods of biological and physical control, with a presence in the wetlands of Kukia or in the old Solve quarry, where SEO / BirdLife carried out various restoration works.

The results of scientific studies carried out by the Polytechnic School of Coimbra (Portugal), or the impact that a feather duster has on biodiversity or on public health, thanks to studies carried out by the Valdesilla Institute (Idival) and the Cantabrian hospital itself. AS WELL AS

Pablo Ayerbe Caselles

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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