Eradicating Carpobrotus from the cliffs: not a job for everyone

Eradicating Carpobrotus from the cliffs: not a job for everyone

11 May 2021

The cliffs of Ventotene and Santo Stefano are free from Carpobrotus (Hottentots fig), at last! In recent years, we made a great effort to locate the Carpobrotus stands and persuade the owners. This invasive South African plant species is indeed appreciated as ornamental plant and a substrate stabilizer. 

Sea cliffs in the Ponziane ýislands are naturally unstable and this made it difificult to decide where to intervene and where not, because the removal could endanger the personnel involved. 

Sapienza, Nemo srl and Geosolution Garfagnana srl worked together to define and implement the interventions, the Reserve took care of the authorizations and contacts with the population, enabling eradication where possible. 

The work was carried out trying to minimize the impacts on local flora and fauna and to optimize times and results, always taking into account personnel safety first. 
We want to thank all the staff of Geosolution Garfagnana: they proved not only technically prepared but also ready to accept our requests to pay the utmost attention during the eradication operations.

In the next months we will carefully monitor vegetation dynamics. In autumn, a second phase of work on the cliffs is planned in order to eradicate any Carpobrotus plant that might sprout in the summer. 

In the  areas eradicated in prevous years, the recovery of native vegetation has been rapid and vigorous. In Santo Stefano, where the Carpobrotus mat was very extensive and covered steep slopes, vegetation recovery will be slower, but the native plants occurring on this island will help even in this situation!