Syllabus Section: GS III (ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY)
WHY IN THE NEWS?
A Vitamin D3rich weed and a shrub with roots that wild boars love to gorge on are among the 18 invasive weed plants stifling the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger
- There are 18 identify invasive plants in the tiger reserve which are impacting the indigenous grasses,
- And they were impacting the shrubs and trees the herbivores sustain on.
- According to a global study in 2020, the usual culprits of many protective areas in India are parthenium and lantana,
- That they threaten more than 40% of India’s tiger reserves.
- Parthenium is believing to have come to India as contaminants in a consignment of wheat imports from the U.S. in the 1950s.
- Lantana was brought by the British as ornamental plants from South America.
- Wildlife Institute of India (WII) also includes Ipomoea (Ipomoea carnea) and,
- Mimosa (Mimosa himalaica) in the list but marked them as largely controlled.
- Some weeds have herbal properties, but their toxicity outweighs their utility.
- Example: Wild boars love to gorge on the succulent rootlets of the Leea macrophylla or,
- The ‘kukura thengia’ that are fast clogging the patrolling paths and grasslands.
- Cestrum diurnum or day-blooming jasmine of West Indies origin which are thriving on the Brahmaputra sandbars is a rich source of Vitamin D3.
- The NTCA has undertaken the management of the invasive plants in other tiger reserves,
- But this is the first time that such species have been identified with threat estimation.
- Many like the Bombax ceiba and Largest roemia speciosa, trees locally called semul and ejhar need immediate attention to save the grasslands vital for the survival of the rhino and other herbivores.
- Invasive plants are fast clogging paths and grasslands.
- The herbivores usually avoid the invasive plants which regenerate at an alarming speed and threaten to edge out the indigenous flora.
- Some of the invasive plants have a toxic impact on the landscape after remaining underwater, which is often for two months every monsoon.
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SOURCE: THE HINDU