Cortaderia selloana, commonly called pampas grass, is a very aggressive invasive species of natural and semi-natural habitats. It has invaded a coastal corridor around the ‘Atlantic arc’ from France to Portugal, with Cantabria being the territory most seriously affected. The year-on-year spread of Cortaderia selloana has been accelerated by the rapid expansion of suburban and industrial areas. This process is negatively affecting native species, degrading natural habitats, and restricting the public use of coastal areas. Therefore, urgent action is required to manage the situation.
The LIFE STOP Cortaderia project operates at the ‘Atlantic arc’ and the Cantabria (Spain) levels, to manage invasive pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana). It aims to coordinate actions around the ‘Atlantic arc’ through a strategy and a working group for the exchange of information and experience among French, Spanish and Portuguese organisations. The strategy includes awareness-raising actions to inform people along the Atlantic coast about the detrimental effects of pampas grass on biodiversity. In Cantabria, the project aims to stop the spread of Cortaderia and reduce its presence in coastal Natura 2000 network sites, to safeguard sensitive habitats and native species. Actions will prevent the spread of pampas grass beyond the southern boundary of its current range in Cantabria, and inland in valleys where its presence is still limited. The project will quantify the distribution of Cortaderia in Cantabria and northern Portugal, and test new methodologies for the control of pampas grass that can be replicated elsewhere.
The project implements Natura 2000 (target 1), the Habitats Directive, the Biodiversity Strategy, and the Regulation on invasive alien species. Increasing the resilience of coastal ecosystems, and the services they provide, it also contributes to EU policy in areas such as Climate Adaptation.