More and more invasive exotic species are found in our regions. These species occur outside of their natural range and cause damage to native biodiversity. Belgium has 26 invasive exotic aquatic plants.
In the "Bugs 2 the rescue" project of VUB young people and nature volunteers work together with scientists to stop the spread of specific invasive exotic aquatic plants. They will investigate the morphological characteristics of certain invasive aquatic plants and look for natural enemies. The use of natural enemies (mainly herbivorous insects) to control a plant species is called "biological control". The method is environmentally friendly and inexpensive. However, there are currently too many exotic aquatic plants, too few scientists and insufficient data available for a successful application of this method. That is why "Bugs 2 the rescue" enlists the help of the general public.
The project was selected as Citizen Science project by the Flemish government. It will start from next month and will run for 2 years. Natuurpunt, the Flemish Environment Agency, the Integrated Water Policy Department of the province of East Flanders and the Province of Limburg are partners in the project.