Coimbatore

Wattle trees take over 30% of Mukurthi National Park

A view of Mukuruthi National Park in the Nilgiris.

A view of Mukuruthi National Park in the Nilgiris.   | Photo Credit: M_Sathyamoorthy

Forest dept. clears the invasive species, but adjoining forests serve as seed banks.

The Forest Department has begun works to remove the invasive species of flora in around 20 hectares of the Mukurthi National Park.

Deputy Director of Mukurthi National Park S Senbagapriya told The Hindu that wattle trees have taken over around 30% of the 78 sq.km national park, with Nilgiri Peak, Western Catchment and Kolaribetta Peak being the most affected.

“The spread is happening through the forests surrounding the Mukurthi National Park, which are serving as seed banks helping the trees to spread to Mukurthi,” she said.

Last year, around 275 hectares of cleared wattle plantations were “maintained” with cleared areas once again being rid of any new saplings sprouting from seed banks left behind by the older trees.

Officials said that over the last few years, the rate of spread of the invasive species has accelerated in pockets of the national park, with periodic removal making very little immediate impact in limiting their spread.

Apart from the wattle trees, scotch broom and gorse, another invasive species, is also a source of concern, though its spread does not seem to be as aggressive as the wattle, officials said.

There are also concerns that another invasive species, Lantana camara, which has taken over vast swathes of the Nilgiris lower slopes, could continue its incursion into the upper slopes, with the areas surrounding Mukurthi National Park, including Manjoor and Geddai, being affected by the spread of the invasive weed.

Officials said that though there have been no reports of Lantana camara spreading into Mukurthi National Park, there need to be measures taken to remove the weed from the surrounding areas in the Nilgiris forest division.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 2:31:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/wattle-trees-take-over-30-of-mukurthi-national-park/article29716265.ece

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