Plan in place to eradicate invasive plant species from Kerala’s wildlife habitat

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Source: The post is based on the article “Plan in place to eradicate invasive plant species from Kerala’s wildlife habitat” published in The Hindu on 31st January 2023.

What is the News?

The Nodal Centre for Biological Invasions (NCBI) at the Kerala Forest Research Institute(KFRI) has come out with a management plan to eradicate Senna spectabilis.

What is Senna spectabilis?

Senna spectabilis is an invasive plant. It was introduced in India as an ornamental species and for use as firewood in South and Central America.

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What is the plan prepared to eradicate Senna spectabilis?

The plan envisages landscape-level management of the tree. The two key factors considered in developing the plan were the fast nature of the spread of the tree in natural forests and the restoration of natural forests based on landscape.

The plan stipulates that there should not be an attempt to kill the trees before a detailed reforestation programme.

The invasive species has to be removed using a threefold approach for large trees, large saplings, and small saplings:

Firstly, the large trees need to be debarked from breast height downwards (1.3 m above ground level), including the collar part of the tree.

Secondly, once the trees start to dry up, their soil seed bank will become active and a large number of plantlets will sprout. The larger saplings can be uprooted using specially designed weed pullers.

The third is the removal of small plantlets which need to be removed mechanically.

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