Tuesday February 19, 2019
Home India Half of India...

Half of India vulnerable to alien invasive plant species: Study

0
//
Picture credit: blenderartists.org
Picture credit: blenderartists.org

Kolkata: According to a new study, nearly half of India’s total geographical area is prone to invasion by alien plant. It shows that biodiversity hotspots in India are “especially vulnerable” and limiting human interference in remote forests is necessary.

Scientists from North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong, have created the first pan-India catalogue of regions most susceptible to invasion and identified the ‘hotspots’.

‘Hotspots’ are regions that are climatically and geographically most suited for alien invasive species – species which colonise, spread and invade new territories.

“Almost half of the total geographical area of India is prone to invasion by alien plant species with moderate and high levels of climatic suitability,” Saroj K. Barik, co-author of the study and a professor at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Botany, NEHU, told IANS.

In India, alien plant species constitute 40 percent of the total plant diversity, of which 25 percent are invasive (such as Siam weed, bitter vine, water hyacinth and mesquite).

Alien invasive species threaten the biodiversity hotspots, he said.

Key findings show most ecologically sensitive regions of India, including the biodiversity hotspots, islands, coastal forests, freshwater swamp forests, mangroves and protected forest reserves, croplands, rangelands and village biomes coincide with the identified ‘invasion hotspots’, indicating their vulnerability to alien plant invasion.

Barik said more than half of the geographical areas of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Goa, Kerala, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and West Bengal are at “high risk” of being invaded by alien plant species.

Some of the major port towns such as Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Panaji, Nagapattnam, Chennai, Kakinada, Paradip, and Haldia fall within the identified invasion hotspots. Such areas provide suitable habitats for colonisation of alien invasive species after being introduced through shipping routes.

The study (using modelling and GIS data), carried out by Barik, D. Adhikari and R. Tiwary of NEHU is published in ‘PLoS One’ journal and contributes to the comparatively little studied genre of ecological invasion.

Additionally, it sheds light on the fact that remote forest areas with high tree cover and low human population are “unlikely” to be invasion hotspots. This stresses on the necessity of minimum human interference, said Barik.

“Delineating the areas climatically suitable for invasion by diverse species would enable us to gauge the extent of damage the invasive plants can incur to the native biodiversity, assist to identify areas threatened by invasion and facilitate formulation of appropriate policy for their control and management,” said Barik.

Worldwide, alien invasive species cause an estimated annual economic loss of $314 billion in the agriculture and forestry sectors, of which India’s share is around $116 billion.

(IANS)

 

Next Story

Low Cure Rate For Childhood Cancer in India: Experts

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner

0
Term insurance
Health insurance covers only for hospitalization and doesn’t necessarily cover the medical expenses incurred for the treatment of major illnesses. flickr

Childhood cancer comprises almost 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India, experts said here on Friday, expressing concern over the low cure rate due to lack of available data.

“The disturbing reality is that the cure rate of pediatric cancer is almost 80 per cent in the developed countries. When we see the data from major cancer centres, it actually can match up to the Western standard but this data is not enough,” Haemato-Oncologist Vivek Agarwala said at an awareness programme conducted by Narayana Superspecialty Hospital, Howrah.

According to the Indian Council for Medical Research, cancer in children constitutes approximately 3-5 per cent of the total cancer cases in India.

Agarwala said a large portion of the incidence of childhood cancer in society is still not addressed.

Cancer survivor. Flickr

Also, a large section who don’t have access to premier institutes are often diagnosed late due to financial crunch and that is why the overall treatment rate in India is low.

“Probably, the government and society at large are not considering it a big problem as it is just around 5 per cent. We are always campaigning for breast and cervical cancers,” Agarwala said.

“We must remember this 5 per cent of cancer is majorly curable if given proper treatment,” he said.

Leukaemia and retinoblastoma (a form of cancer where children have a white eye) are the two common forms of cancer in children.

Also Read- Push-ups Can Lower The Risk of Heart Diseases

Talking about awareness and symptoms that parents need to watch out for, he said: “Symptoms are different for different cancers, but children who have cancer have poor growth, poor weight gain and decreased appetite. One must get their children evaluated on seeing these symptoms”.

On International Childhood Cancer Day, the hospital organised a ‘Sit and Draw competition’ with pediatric patients and rewarded the winner. (IANS)