Invasive species management in India
Invasive alien species (IAS) are globally recognised to cause serious economic and environmental damage. IAS pose one of the most significant threats to conservation and biodiversity due to their impact on native species in ecosystems. Such as: biodiversity and habitat loss, ecosystem destruction, increased vulnerability to forest fires, change in soil characteristics, and human health impacts.
Recognising the pertinent need to effectively manage the invasive alien species, the Government of Tamil Nadu in India has initiated several measures. The state is also developing a “Policy on the removal of alien species in forest areas of Tamil Nadu” for the eco-restoration of forest areas infested with invasive weeds.
Gathering stakeholders to develop policy on invasive species management
Acknowledging the threat to the biodiversity, wildlife habitat and forest health caused by the invasive species, the Tamil Nadu State Land Use Research Board, under the State Planning Commission in co-ordination with Forest College and Research Institute (TNAU) organised an international workshop to evolve comprehensive and best practical strategies related to the management of invasive alien plant species in Tamil Nadu. This was held on 2nd and 3rd of February in Coimbatore, India.
The objective of the workshop was to develop policy recommendations for the management of invasive alien species through an integrated approach. This involved the stakeholders identifying the strategies for removal of the invasive alien species and suitable methods for the restoration and rehabilitation of forest land.
Restoration is highly significant. There are currently around 50 invasive alien species within the forest ecosystem. Currently, the method to manage these is their physical removal. But reinvasion is common and the land should not be left barren.
Some of the eminent speakers, especially from the Asia Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network, emphasised the role of global network in strengthening the identification and management of IAS. Plus, the need to have more data onboard to fill in gaps regarding these species. According to them, there are huge data gaps for IAS which are microbial in nature and also marine. Either the data pertaining to these are not available or not reliable.
The workshop participants were a mix of scientists and Indian Forest Service Officers. The latter expressed the status and current management strategies used to address challenges posed by IAS.
CABI and invasive species management
CABI’s Dr Malvika Chaudhary participated in this workshop. She gave a presentation on CABI’s work in this area and the digital tools like the Horizon Scanning Tool and Pest Risk Analysis Tool. Both of which are so essential in understanding the potential threat to the nation.
Dr Chaudhary’s presentation also reflected on CABI’s capability in delivering projects like Woody Weeds, and Woody Weeds + and the work done under Global Environment Facility (GEF) projects in forest ecosystems to mitigate the risk posed by climate change.
CABI has been working in Tamil Nadu state of India since 2012 implementing the Plantwise programme through the eminent NGO, MSSRF. Under this collaboration, plant clinics have expanded in three more states of India. For the past two years, CABI has also been studying the stakeholders engaged in biopesticide production at local community level, linked with plant clinics.
Further reading and resources
CABI Compendium: Invasive Species
CABI facilitates Pest Risk Assessment writeshop in Nepal
Regional conference highlights joint efforts to combat fall armyworm in SAARC member countries
COP27: helping farmers to adapt to climate change
British High Commission checks progress of sensor-based pheromone trap to tackle fall armyworm pest in India
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very good progressive work to sustain biodiversity & environment at large.