The invasive nature of this species is due to its high capacity of adaptation to varied ecosystems as it does not have demanding ecological requirements but is capable of surviving in extreme conditions compared to autochthonous species. The pampas grass survives both drought and waterlogged conditions on poor soils with little substratum; it even tolerates a certain salinity in the soil and the surrounding water. A limiting factor in its distribution is that of the thermoclimatic conditions; it prefers areas with mild temperatures although it tolerates occasional frosts.
These undemanding requirements have allowed the pampas grass to be one of the first species to establish itself and colonise degraded environments such as earth which has been turned over and lacks vegetation and topsoil, for example quarries, gravel pits, industrial land, and road and railway verges.
The pampas grass not only colonises peri-urban and degraded spaces but is also capable of colonising natural spaces of high ecological value by displacing autochthonous species. The recognition of this problem in the conservation of biodiversity has led to the approval of public strategies and plans for the fight against the expansion of this species. The most recent and relevant are the following:
- The Spanish strategy of the management, control, and possible eradication of the pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) and other species of Cortaderia
- Action Plan against the pampas grass in Cantabria
The LIFE Stop Cortaderia Project was put forward with the aim of reducing the impact of the pampas grass on the environment of the Atlantic Arc and of fighting against the spreading of the species and eliminating it from the natural milieu. The initiative has been operating for five years so as to generate scientific and management knowledge in order to allow the implementation of new efficient techniques in the fight against the pampas grass in the Atlantic Arc. At the same time cooperation and coordination networks are being established between public administrations in the various regions of the Atlantic Arc and a social mass is being generated which is aware of the problems the presence of the pampas grass causes to the environment, the economy, and health.
Pampas grass spread using communication roads and railroad tracks