Senna spectabilis: Invasive tree spreading in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve

Source: The post is based on the article “Invasive tree spreading in Mudumalai Tiger Reserve” published in The Hindu on 2nd November 2022.

What is the News?

Senna spectabilis, an invasive tree, has taken over between 800 and 1,200 hectares of the buffer zones of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve(MTR) in the picturesque Nilgiris hill district.

What is Senna spectabilis?

Senna spectabilis was introduced in India as an ornamental species and for use as firewood from South and Central America.

The plant has become an invasive alien species in parts of Africa, India and other countries.

The thick foliage of the tree arrests the growth of other indigenous tree and grass species. Hence, it causes food shortages for the wildlife population, especially herbivores.

It also adversely affects the germination and growth of native species.

What is Mudumalai Tiger Reserve?

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu state spread over 321 sq. km at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

It forms part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, the first Biosphere Reserve in India, declared in 1986. 

It has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary (Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West.

The reserve has tall grasses, commonly referred to as “Elephant Grass”, Bamboo of the giant variety, and valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood etc.

This reserve has a wide variety of more than 260 species of birds. Around 80% of bird species found in India are recorded in Mudumalai.

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