What are Invasive Alien Species
- Invasive alien species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect 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.
- Invasive alien species exacerbate poverty and threaten development through their impact on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural systems, which are an important basis of people’s livelihoods in developing countries.
Why in news?
- The dearth of effective steps to arrest the rampant growth of invasive plants, especially Senna spectabilis, in the forest areas of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR), including the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, is a matter of serious concern to the conservation of wildlife habitats of the Western Ghats.
News in detail
- A recent study, organized by Ferns, a nature conservation society, in association with the Kerala Forest Department, revealed that the invasive species has now spread through the most iconic wildlife habitats of the Western Ghats, destroying habitats of elephants, deer, gaur and tigers by pushing out native flora.
- The carrying capacity of forests to feed wildlife is drastically declining under the invasion, which accelerates man-animal conflict further.
- The invasive species found its way to Wayanad in the 1980s, when the seedlings of the plant were first raised in the nurseries of the social forestry wing, and planted as avenue trees.
- Over the period, it was established in the Bandipur and Nagarhole Tiger Reserves of Karnataka, and the Mudumalai and Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserves in Tamil Nadu.