Botanists who visited ‘Thane'-hit Cuddalore find that introduced species were badly affected

Native tree species are less vulnerable to the natural calamities than the introduced ones. This is the outcome of a three-day study by a team of botanists who visited ‘Thane'-hit Cuddalore district to enumerate the damaged caused by the cyclone to the trees there.

D. Narasimhan, Associate Professor, Department of Botany, Madras Christian College, who led a team of botanists, visited a few places in Cuddalore district recently. He said most of the introduced species such as cashew nut, jackfruit, casuarina and avenue tree species such as peltophorum and gulmohar have been uprooted. They were unable to withstand the nature's fury, he said. The roots of all these introduced species do not penetrate deeper into the soil. Instead, they spread their roots. Citing the example of native tree species in a sacred grove in Sendiraikillai near Chidambaram, Dr. Narasimhan said trees such as Palmyrah Vennangu, Vaalsoora and Naruvuli in the grove faced only minimal damage.

The study clearly indicated that resilience is higher in the native species than in the introduced ones. Moreover, only the native species could withstand the vagaries of nature, Dr. Narasimhan observed. The team covered areas such as Panruti, Kurinjipadi, Cuddalore and Sendiraikillai.

Talking about the cashewnut, Dr. Narasimhan noted that in some areas, new shoots of the crop has come up. However, the locals were apprehensive about the growth of these shoots into a tree, as they could have been infected and might not survive for long. In his opinion, a team of horticulture experts should visit the cashew plantation areas to take up a study and to prevent further damage to the mutilated or broken cashew trees, Dr. Narasimhan said.

The study clearly indicated that while taking up planting of saplings on avenues or other places in the city, the authorities should plan only the native species, which could only withstand the vagaries of nature and survive with minimum damage, he added.

  • Team covered Panruti, Kurinjipadi, Cuddalore, and Sendiraikillai

  • ‘New shoots of cashewnut crop has come up in some areas'