Invasive Species Current Affairs
The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court has ordered Tamil Nadu government to enact a law with prohibitory and penal clauses to eradicate Seemai Karuvelam (prosopis juliflora) trees within two months.
Seemai Karuvelam is invasive species of tree harmful to the environment as it sucks lot of water ultimately affect the environment and agricultural activities.
What is the issue?
The HC’s order came after it heard a batch of petitions including Public Interest Litigations (PILs) seeking directions to remove the seemai karuvelam trees claiming that they are harmful to the environment and agriculture. Earlier in December 2016, the bench of high court had directed state government to completely uproot this tree species from public as well as private lands in 13 districts under its territorial jurisdiction by mid February 2017.
What court order says?
- State Government should enact a law with prohibitory and penal clauses to eradicate hazardous species Seemai Karuvelam (prosopis juliflora) trees within two months from all 32 districts of the State.
- The State Government must also release perennial funds to the district collectors in the state for removing of these tree species completely from public as well as private lands.
About Seemai Karuvelam tree
Seemai Karuvelam tree species are native to West Africa. It was brought to Tamil Nadu in 1960s as fuelwood. It disrupts the local ecosystem of its habitation by soaking in all the ground water near it. It is an invasive species that has infiltrated the water bodies and dry lands of Tamil Nadu.
Invasive species of Giant African Land Snail (GALS) was sighted near Goa University campus at Taleigao plateau.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources (IUCN) has listed GALS (Achatina fulica) as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species.
- GALS (Achatina fulica) is gregarious, nocturnal and can be aggressive in its feeding frenzy.
- Their length ranges from 7 cm to 20 cm and the Goa University specimens are identical at 11 cm in length.
- They are known to be dangerous, as they can reproduce faster and take over entire ecosystems.
- Potential threat: (i) To agro-horticultural crops and local flora in Goa (ii) Could also displace local land snails species (Xetatle Konge). (iii) Pose a health threat as they are vectors of human disease such as brain fever (eosinophilic meningitis).
What are invasive species?
- An invasive species is a non-native organism that causes ecological harm after being introduced to a new environment.
- Once they enter a new ecosystem, they can outcompete native organisms for resources like food, especially if they lack natural predators.
- Some invasive species also carry diseases that kill native organisms and many will consume native plants and animals.
- Invasive species can ultimately cause the decline or extinction of native species, decreasing biodiversity in an ecosystem.
- Humans are responsible for the spread of a majority of earth’s invasive species, often carrying them to different parts of the world on ships.