Invasive alien plants’ impacts on endangered fauna in Indian natural reserves
The grasslands of the Himalayan foothills in India represent a key conservation site for biodiversity, in particular for endangered animal species such as the royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), the horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), the Pigmy hog (Sus salvanius), the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), the Asian elephant (Elephus maxima), and the Bengal florican (Eupodotis bengalensis). The grasslands of protected areas hosting these species (Manas biosphere reserve, Kaziranga national park, Orang national park, Sonai-Rupai wildlife sanctuary, etc.) have been heavily threatened by different invasive alien plants, which degrade the habitats of these endangered wild animals. Remote sensing monitoring revealed that the total coverage of the grassland declined by 11-12% in comparison to earlier records. The undershrub Leea asiatica (Vitaceae) is naturalized in the grassland, and the tree Bombax ceiba (Bombacoideae) commonly occurs in forest areas, Chromolaena odorata (Asteraceae) is also reported as a weed. Although annual burning is undertaken in the Manas reserve for the regeneration of tender grass and to control weeds, these 3 species are spreading and their range is increasing every year. Elephant grazing significantly favoured the decline of Bombas ceiba in undisturbed habitats. The growth of Leea asiatica was also restricted by elephant grazing in the post burn season. New invasions of Bombax ceiba could be controlled by harvesting its seeds.
Bezbarua P, Bezbarua A, Bhagoboty N ; Baruah CK (2011) Management of invasive species in Assam with special reference to Manas biosphere reverse. In: Bohren C, Bertossa M, Schönenberger N, Rossinelli M, Conedera M. (ed) 3rd International Symposium of Environmental Weeds and Invasive Plants. Abstracts. October 2 to 7 2011. Monte Verità, Ascona, Switzerland.
Available from Internet
http://www.wsl.ch/epub/ewrs/sessions/detail_EN?id=155;session=3;type=posters Birmensdorf, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL.