Strategies planned to halt spread of Invasive species
What are invasive species?
- An invasive species can be any kind of living organism—an amphibian, plant, insect, fish, fungus, or bacteria—that is not native to an ecosystem and causes harm.
- Not all non-native species are invasive. For example, most of the food crops grown in India, including onion, potato and tomatoes are not native to the region.
- To be invasive,
- a species must adapt to the new area easily
- it must reproduce quickly
- it must harm the economy, or the native plants and animals of the region
- Some of the most serious invasive species in India are Alternanthera philoxeroides, Cassia uniflora, Chromolaena odorata, Eichhornia crassipes, Lantana camara, Parthenium hysterophorus and Prosopis juliflora, etc.
Why in news?
- An invasive species, Senna spectabilis, an exotic tree, has taken over between 800 and 1,200 hectares of the buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) in the picturesque Nilgiris hill district.
- The Forest Department is coming up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with the spread of the invasive species, which continues to spread rapidly in the buffer zone.
News in detail
- Introduced as an ornamental species and for use as firewood from South and Central America, the species has become highly invasive in the Sigur plateau in both the core and buffer zones of the MTR.
- Senna spectabilis, along with Lantana camara, is among five major invasive weeds that had taken over vast swathes of the Nilgiris, with wattle being the other major invasive species. Eucalyptus and pine, though exotic, do not spread as quickly as the other species and are considered easier to manage.
- Forest Department officials warned that Senna spectabilis was spreading fastest in the Singara and Masinagudi forest ranges in the MTR buffer zone, as well as in Kargudi range in the core area of the reserve.
- The Forest Department is formulating a 10-year-plan to systematically remove Lantana camara, the other major weed that poses a threat to biodiversity in both the core and buffer zones of the Tiger Reserve.
- Thus, the invasive weed has a negative effect on local biodiversity, crowding out native species and limiting food availability for wildlife.
About Mudumalai Tiger Reserve(MTR)
- Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state spread over 321 sq.km. at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
- The national park has been part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve since 1986 and was declared a tiger reserve together with a buffer zone of 367.59 km2 in 2007.
- It has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka).
- Flagship species: Tiger and Asian Elephant.
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