STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Invasive plants to be removed from TN forests: State tells Madras HC

Additional Chief Secretary Supriya Sahu made the submission before a divisional bench of Justices V Bharathidasan and N Satish Kumar.

Published: 01st March 2022 05:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st March 2022 11:28 AM   |  A+A-

Removal of invasive plant species from forests is a herculean task, in which no Indian State has managed to succeed so far.

Express News Service

CHENNAI:  The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Madras High Court it would immediately start removing invasive plant species from forest areas, and to begin with, 700 hectares have been identified in core tiger reserves for a pilot-scale project. Additional Chief Secretary Supriya Sahu made the submission before a divisional bench of Justices V Bharathidasan and N Satish Kumar.

Sahu said a proposal was forwarded to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate seeking `10 crore under the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) fund, which is pending approval. On the other hand, Rs 6 crore was received from NABARD.

She said a draft policy was put in the public domain inviting comments, and seven teams were formed and dispatched to MP, Telangana, Kerala, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Karnataka to study how they deal with invasive species. The court has instructed Sahu to immediately start the pilot project with the available funds and submit a progress report on March 18.

Removal of invasive plant species from forests is a herculean task, in which no Indian State has managed to succeed so far. Tamil Nadu, including the Western Ghats, is among the chief invasion hotspots in the country. A recent compendium of plants of TN recorded 6,723 taxa (species); 2,459 are non-native alien species, comprising nearly 36.6 per cent of the State’s flora.

Wattle in Ooty.

An expert committee formed by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court sent a questionnaire to all forest divisions to report their estimates at the range level of the area under 17 listed invasive alien species. According to its report, the area under five major invasive alien species is estimated to be 2,68,100 hectares. Lantana camara was found in 1,85,000 ha, Prosopis juliflora (56,000 ha), Acacia mearnsii (wattle, 22,400 ha), Senna spectabilis (2,400 ha), and Opuntia sp. (2,300 ha). Meanwhile, the Invasive Alien Species Policy drafting committee said the area infested would be as large as 3,18,000 ha.

6.5 hectare area after removal of wattle in Kuntha range.

Chief Wildlife Warden Shekhar Kumar Niraj told the court, along with the removal, restocking the cleared area with native grass/plant species and maintaining it for the next three years would be crucial for the success of the project and the forest department is on the job. Advocate T Mohan, appointed by the court as the amicus curiae, pointed out that removal and restoration should be conducted under the direct supervision of the expert committee.



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp