Weeds brought by soil for fence posts threaten Kas ecology

Fences put up to protect the area contained within in the case of Kas Pathar (plateau) have ended up threatening the biodiversity rich World Heritage Site, conversation experts said.

This, and other types of biological invasions as well as their remedies were discussed at a workshop in the city on Thursday as part of the Wildlife Week commemoration.

“The construction of pil lars for building a fence around Kas Plateau’s border began in 2013. At the time, non-native sand was brought in from Satara and other parts of the Dec can plateau for the purpose. This sand also contained seeds of plants that were non-native, which began germinating after the first monsoon. The spread of these invasive plants has not yet been studied,“ botanist and fo under-director of Biospheres, Sachin Punekar tol TOI.

Plants including the Ipomoea coccinea, Tridax procumbens, Ageratina adenophora, Oenothera rosea, Sigesbeckia orientalis, Argemone mexicana, Blumea oxyodonta, Parthenium hysterophorus have germinated within Kas’s flowe ring area. The extent of these invasives needs to be studied, and their mechanical uprooting begun as soon as possible, he said.

Talking to TOI, Satara-based botanist Shekhar Mohite from Sata ra said, “Some exotics (invasive) have been found within the area, and last year, along with volunteers of a Gujarat-based NGO, I had mechanically uprooted and burned close to 200 such invasive plants. Pesticides cannot be used as they may also harm the native flora.“

“This needs to be studied and addressed immediately, as it may pose a threat to the local flora of Kas in future, if left unchecked,“ Mohite added. Punekar stated that tourism needs to be regulated as tourists and their vehicles are also responsible for carrying exotic seeds on them, which may then grow within the protected area.

Other panellists at the workshop included Ashok Giri, Sanjay Kharat, J Jayanthi, Prafull Shede, Rahul Marathe and P Lakshminarasimhan.They discussed the threats that biological invasion poses to a native biodiversity of forest, aquatic and agriculture ecosystems, as well as the solutions to minimise their impact on local natural resources.

Source : TOI