Environment News


Written by Talent KAS

Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:

Environment [Paper-II]: Environment protection for sustainable development, Forest and wildlife


Kerala Forest and Wildlife Department is planning to adopt 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.

About the Species

  • Senna spectabilis is a plant species of the legume family (Fabaceae) in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae native to South and Central America.
  • They are often grown as an ornamental in front yards, parks, gardens, buildings, etc. due to their bright yellow flowers that bloom during the summer

Invasive Species

  • The tree species had been found in nearly 10 km sq area of 344.44 sq km of the sanctuary around five year ago. But now it has invaded more than 50 sq km of the sanctuary in a short span of time.
  • The plant started to invade in adjacent tiger reserves, including Bandipur and Nagarhole in Karnataka and the Mudumalai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu.
  • Earlier, it was planted as avenue trees along roadsides in Wayanad.
  • Due to massive flowering and drying of bamboo species in the Wayanad, lots of open spaces were created which were occupied by Senna Spectabilis.
  • The vayal ecosystem (marshy land) of the forest area now has this plant in large numbers.
  • An adult tree grows up to 15 to 20 metres in a short period of time and every year distributes thousands of seeds after the gregarious fl
  • The thick foliage arrests the growth of other indigenous species of trees and grass, and causes food shortage for the wildlife population, especially herbivores, during summer.
  • Moreover wildlife would not feed on the leaves of the tree as it was not palatable for them.
  • No grass grows below it and there is no presence of insects too.
  • The allelochemicals produced by this plant adversely affect the germination and growth of the native species.

Tackling the threat

  • Though Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) has been following the physical method to tackle the issue for the past five years, it was yet to make any desired effect.
  • Hence, KFRI is planning to adopt an integrated method by combining the physical as well as chemical measures to address the issue.

[Source: The Hindu, kfri.res.in]

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