Civic agencies to remove invasive species from ecologically sensitive areas

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The state government has instructed agencies to start removing Prosopis juliflora from the shores of water bodies, such as the Adyar. The Society will likely obtain an estimate of the area covered by invasive species in the city shortly.

The state government has asked agencies to start removing Prosopis juliflora shores of bodies of water, such as the Adyar. The Society will likely obtain an estimate of the area covered by invasive species in the city shortly.

The Greater Chennai Corporation and other municipal bodies will remove invasive species, including Prosopis juliflora, from river banks and other water bodies.

The state government has asked municipal bodies to start removing Prosopis juliflora from the banks of water bodies, such as the Adyar. The area of ​​Prosopis juliflora has increased in recent years along river banks, increasing the risk for areas where eco-restoration projects have already been implemented.

Chennai Rivers Restoration Trust (CRRT) officials said the invasive species had been removed from 358 acres of Adyar Creek, which was eco-restored 10 years ago. But the area occupied by invasive species has expanded along the 42 km stretch of the Adyar. Plant removal has become very difficult in some areas due to dense vegetation. The expert committee, constituted under the Madras High Court, has obtained estimates of some of the invasive species in the state.

According to the report, Prosopis juliflora covers an area of ​​56,000 hectares in the state. The GCC should soon obtain an estimate of the area covered by invasive species in the city.

The impact of invasive species, such as Lantana camara, Acacia mearnsii, Senna spectabilis and Opuntia sp, is also likely to be studied in the city before other initiatives are launched.

“Native species numbers increased from 141 to 441 in 358 acres of Adyar Creek after invasive species were removed. We have been clearing invasive plants at frequent intervals over the past 10 years,” a CRRT official said.

Officials point to the lack of accurate estimates of the area covered by invasive species and the percentage coverage or density of invasive plants per hectare in the city. Researchers associated with restoration initiatives said the data could be obtained through different approaches, including estimation based on remote sensing and the promotion of a mobile app by citizens associated with biodiversity conservation.

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