Bundesrealgymnasium Reutte in the service of nature conservation - containing the balsam weed
In 2019, just over 100 pupils from classes 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b and 4c of the Bundesrealgymnasium Reutte secondary school and their teachers as well as volunteers and employees of the Tiroler Lech Nature Park Association were once again active in keeping the balsam weed in check.
The balsam balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) originally comes from the Himalayas and was introduced to us as an ornamental plant. As one plant produces around 4000 seeds, it quickly "conquers" land and soil for itself. As a result, it displaces native plants and reduces biodiversity. In Austria, this plant is now categorised as an invasive ("problematic") neophyte. Neophytes are alien plants that were introduced to Europe after the discovery of America in 1492. Mostly kept as ornamental plants in gardens, the seeds are often unintentionally transported from one place to another through material transport (excavation material, garden waste, etc.), including in the Tiroler Lech Nature Park and its nature park communities. Therefore, 'wild' composting should be avoided at all costs! Anyone who wants to get rid of the "problem plants" must have great stamina. The control must be carried out constantly over several years, as the seeds can remain germinable for up to 5 years.
Therefore, at the end of June, as in previous years, we went to the same environmental construction sites in the municipalities of Wängle, Pflach and Ehenbichl to uproot the balsam by hand - the small root system made this possible without any problems. In this way, seed formation and thus the spread of the plant can be prevented. It is clear from the areas that have been worked on that the balsam populations have become increasingly less dense over the years. Further measures in subsequent years will help to keep them under control - our native nature with its special biodiversity will thank us!
A heartfelt THANKS to the communities of Ehenbichl, Wängle and Pflach for supporting the campaign!