TREE OF HEAVEN
- PLANT FROM HELL

The LIFE CONTRA Ailanthus – Establishing control of invasive alien species Ailanthus altissima in protected habitats of Mediterranean Croatia.

About project

The LIFE CONTRA Ailanthus team plans to establish control of Ailanthus altissima in protected habitats of two Natura 2000 sites and historic cities of Mediterranean Croatia.

Total project budget:

€2.591.937,00

EU co-financing:

€1.555.161,00

Duration of the project:

1. 10. 2020. – 1. 4. 2025.

What is tree of heaven?

Ailanthus or tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle) is native in eastern China and North Vietnam, where it grows as a natural component of broadleaf forests. The species belongs to the family Simaroubaceae, which includes more than 170 species of pantropical distribution, and which has no genera native to Europe. Starting from the 18th century, Ailanthus was introduced and planted around the world. Because of its decorative leaves, fast growth, resistance to herbivores, and low environmental requirements it was used in horticulture, landscaping, habitat restoration, soil erosion control, and medicinal and chemical industry.

How to recognize Ailanthus?

Ailanthus is a slender tree, usually up to 10 meters high, but sometimes growing up to 30 m. The bark is smooth and grey, with pale stripes. Leaves are large, up to 1 meter long, composed of 5-52 pairs of leaflets.

Why is Ailanthus an issue?

Ailanthus is a fast-growing, ecologically dominant plant, a successful pioneer of open habitats, including natural habitats of high conservation value, where it is outcompeting native plants and changing the habitat structure. It has high reproduction and dispersal potential: a single mature female tree produces 325,000 winged seeds yearly, which are easily transported by wind and water to great distances.

Project objectives

Project partners

Lead institution:

Project partners

Project partners

Project partners

Project actions

1. Preparatory actions

2. Conservation actions

3. Monitoring and evaluation actions

4. Public awareness and dissemination actions

Mobile application "Invasive species in Croatia"

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development developed a smartphone application “Invasive Species in Croatia” to help citizens capture and share information about alien and invasive alien species in Croatia.If you notice Ailanthus in nature, report the finding via mobile application. The data about the invasive alien species distribution are important for their management and mitigation of negative effects they can have on native biodiversity and ecosystem services. By reporting your observations, you can also help with the early detection of invasive alien species, prevent their establishment, and protect Croatian nature.

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