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HARNESSING NATURE MAGAZINE | Vol. 2 | Issue 3 | June 2020
Official magazine of the IUCN CEM South Asia
Cover photo: Grassland Shola Matrix and associated species in the Western Ghats, India (Photo: Deepu Sivadas)
The United Nations General Assembly designates a number of “International Days” to mark important aspects of human life and history.
List of all days celebrated by the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies: International Days >>

Invasive species and their impacts to forest biodiversity in the Southern Western Ghats

by Davidson Sargunam | Read this article and download the full issue, click here >>

Sustainable forest management and conservation management concepts include the activities to safeguard forests from biodiversity loss, natural calamities as fire, landslides and enhance the economic, social and environmental values of all types of forests for the betterment of humans. One of the recent severe threats to the forest sector has been a perennial challenge at the global level is the dominance of invasive alien species. […]

A study conducted along with K. Mohan Raj, a senior expert in forest conservation, Arun Sankar of Tamil Nadu Green Movement and Santhi Vasantha Malar of Tribal Foundation in the protected areas in the Southern Western Ghats namely Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Palani Hills Wildlife Sanctuary and Kanyakumari Wildlife Sanctuary revealed that a host of invasive alien species had made a bio-invasion in the forests, which are destructive, detrimental with devastating results to the forest and water resources.

These Reserves are abundant with herbivores as elephant, Indian gaur, spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, barking deer, Nilgiri tahr, four species of monkeys and predators as tiger, leopard, wild dog, hyena, fox and unique reptiles as cobra, king cobra and vipers. […]

The observations of the study are that the invasive species dominate the native ground flora and choke the survival of native and endemic herbaceous species. There are reports of mixing of toxic resins from some of the invasive species during monsoon with water polluting the soil quality and water streams, and consequently, hill stream fishes, crabs and other organisms are affected.

Elephant with festering wounds
Learn more on human-animal conflicts across India >>

The spread of invasive species, lead to a scarcity of herbaceous fodder, forcing the herbivores to modify their foraging behaviour and seeking new pastures. Consequently, elephants, Indian gaur, spotted deer, sambar and wild boar raid crops in indigenous people settlements, and fringe villages for food that lead to a chain of human versus animal conflict. Seeking and following their prey, big cats as tiger and leopard follow the herbivore trails and enter into human settlements, which escalate into additional conflicts. All these are due to the sheer anthropogenic activities, the primary driver of forest ecosystem modifications.

S. S. Davidson, is one of the pioneer educators of the environmental movement based at Tamil Nadu, India and member of IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management

Source: Davidson Sargunam in: Sivadas, D., Dhyani, S. Basu, O. & Karki, M. (2020, June). Harnessing Nature 2(3), 48pp.
URL: https://harnessingnatureblog.wordpress.com/harnessing-nature-magazine/
Date accessed: 12 June 2020

The region has many mega biodiversity hotspots, key wetlands and shares several hydro-geological features in important topographic regions and ecosystems. South Asia is home to many traditional and indigenous communities dwelling in remote as well as sensitive and fragile ecosystems. These communities have helped in shaping the conservation and management of natural resources of these sensitive and fragile ecosystems. Many of these sustainable practices are still relevant in this changing world. […]

Angela Andrade
Chair, IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

About IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management

IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM) is one of the six commissions that unite over 10,000 volunteer experts from a range of disciplines. Together we assess the state of the world’s natural resources and provide the Union with sound know-how and policy advice on conservation issues.

[Bold typeface added above for emphasis]

More posts contributed by Davidson Sargunam >>

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