About Invasive Alien Species
- Invasive alien species, introduced and/or spread outside their natural habitats, have affected native biodiversity in almost every ecosystem type on earth and are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) defines Invasive Alien Species as “an alien species whose introduction and spread threaten ecosystems, habitats, or species with socio-cultural, economic and environmental harm and harm to human health”.
- In particular, they impact adversely upon biodiversity, including decline or elimination of native species through competition, predation, or transmission of pathogens and the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions.
Why in News?
- Dr. Punekar, along with a number of environmentalists, retired Forest Department authorities, farmers, green activists and other stakeholders has come together to form a forum called Movement Against Biological Invasions (MABI) – a green movement aimed at systematically charting and rooting out Invasive Alien Species.
- One of the MABI’s prime objectives is to help farmers improve their productivity by identifying IAS and rooting it out through seminars, workshops, slideshows, video teasers, documentary, information brochures etc.
- MABI has so far conducted several ‘obnoxious weed eradication’ drives in various parts of Maharashtra as well as across the country, namely in Northeastern States like Sikkim.
Invasive Alien Species -a cause of concern
- Forest-invasive species can supplant native plants, eliminate food and cover for wildlife and threaten rare plant and animal species.
- The impact of globalisation leading to the increased movement of people, trade and deforestation have led to the introduction of IAS in the indigenous environment in massive quantities.
- The spread of Invasive Alien Species is alarming and is wiping out local native species like grasses and other herbaceous species. As a result, the local food chain is afflicted with the IAS competing for space and light with native flora.
- Eg: The widespread prevalence of IAS like Lantana camara has reduced the proportion of natural grasses for herbivorous animals forcing their movement to human habitats in search of paddy crops and other edible items.
- These species can change the functions of ecosystems and increase losses in forestry and natural resource management costs as well as being a potential threat to livestock health.
- Another indirect effect of the rise in IAS is a heightening of the man-animal conflict.
- The unchecked growth of Invasive Alien Species was baneful for soil health, which was prone to faster deterioration.