What is this code of conduct?

The code of conduct on invasive species advocates the adoption of good practices for containing the introduction and spread of invasive species in parks, gardens, ponds, nurseries or on the roadsides, which are often the starting points of invasions in the natural environments.

This is a self-regulation tool based on awareness, education and the voluntary adoption of preventive measures. This code aims to induce a positive change of attitude regarding the use of invasive plants.

Codes of conduct can be adopted by anyone concerned with the use of ornamental plants: horticulture professionals (green industry) or garden lovers (individuals).

Associations and organisations that are not directly concerned with the ornamental sector (Natagora, Natuurpunt, River contracts, GAL, Natural parks, etc.) can also subscribe to the code for horticulture professionals, which means that they undertake to promote the code among the local horticulturists, municipalities and other professionals in the ornamental industry operating in their area.

The Belgian Code of Conduct: a consultative approach

A code of conduct on invasive plants was developed in Belgium for the first time. It was prepared in consultation with professionals belonging to the ornamental sector, representatives of the main horticultural federations and associations, scientists involved in the biology of invasions and members of the AlterIAS team.

The content of the code was approved by the major professional horticultural federations and associations active in the country and is supported by regional and federal authorities in charge of the environment in Belgium (Agentschap voor Natuur en Bos, Bruxelles Environnement – Leefmilieu Brussel, Federal Public Service Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment - DG Environment, Public Service of Wallonia).

Complementary approaches to the Code of Conduct

In addition to self-regulation tools such as the codes of conduct, the implementation of legislative instruments is a complementary approach in order to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants.

Legislation may cover import, marketing, plantation and/or use in the broad sense. It may be implemented at the regional, federal, European or international scale.

For its part, the European Commission is working on a legally binding text that should be able to address issues related to the entry channels of the invasive alien species, to their early detection on the European soil as also to giving an appropriate response for their management.

Meanwhile, governments are also involved in communication and awareness, early detection and risk assessment, population management of problematic invasive species and restoration of invaded sites.

For more information on this code of conduct, go to the AlterIAS projectwebsite.