GO endorsing special invasive plant species policy released, state tells HC

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Exotic species, such as acacia, pine and eucalyptus introduced for industrial purposes have negatively impacted forest ecology, government says

Exotic species, such as acacia, pine and eucalyptus introduced for industrial purposes have negatively impacted forest ecology, government says

The state government informed the Madras High Court on Thursday that it had issued a Government Order (GO) on Wednesday approving a policy for ecological restoration of forest areas infested with invasive plant species. The GO was placed before a full bench consisting of Chief Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari and Justices N. Sathish Kumar and N. Mala.

Additional General Counsel J. Ravindran submitted a copy of the GO which stated that exotic weeds including Prosopis juliflora (Seemai Karuvelam), lantana camara grow in large numbers in most state forests affecting the natural forest environment and the richness of the forest habitat. This was a major challenge for forest management.

The invasion of these species was considered one of the major threats to local forest biodiversity. Therefore, the government had on September 3, 2021, announced on the floor of the Legislative Assembly that it would formulate a separate policy on the eradication of exotic weeds found in the forests of Tamil Nadu and for the ecological restoration of the forests. degraded.

In addition, the GO stated that invasive species of plants, animals and pathogens cause economic or environmental damage. In particular, they negatively affect biodiversity, including the decline or elimination of native species through competition, predation or transmission of pathogens and disrupt local ecosystems and ecosystem functions.

“Invasive plants dominate native ecosystems and threaten ecosystem services…Invasive species influence the community composition, abundance, and species cover of native vegetation through complex interactions and d ‘a combination of effects,’ read the GO while emphasizing the need to formulate the special policy.

He went on to state that threats from invasive species could be either direct such as competition from native species for available resources, or through indirect threats such as disruption of the food web in an ecosystem by limiting or displacing food sources. native. Invasive species could also alter the abundance or diversity of species that were important habitat for native wildlife.

“Most of the exotic tree species introduced in the forest areas of Tamil Nadu such as acacia, pine and eucalyptus to satisfy industrial/commercial needs have however had negative impacts on the ecology of the region, in particularly in terms of altering/affecting hydrology, forest/grassland community, wildlife and escalating human-wildlife conflict,” the GO said.

The current policy would address the issue of highly invasive habitat degrading plant species in the forest areas of Tamil Nadu through removal and management simultaneously. To begin with, the focus will be on the development/elaboration of strategies, methodologies and protocols for the management of the most problematic weeds in forest areas, he added.

After taking the government order on file, the judges reserved their orders on a batch of cases, including one filed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Secretary General Vaiko in 2015 to eradicate Seemai Karuvelam.

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