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Invasive Alien Plants: An Ecological Appraisal for the Indian Subcontinent

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Invasive alien species are a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystems throughout the world. In India, a country with three of the world's most important 'biodiversity hotspots', the invasion of alien plants means risking a national ecological disaster with major social and economic consequences. Currently, there is insufficient information about invasive alien plants; their distribution, rate of spread and adaptability to new environments. This book reveals existing and potential invaders, evaluates the level of risk they pose to native species and suggests steps to manage spread and limit damage. Invaluable to policy-makers, this book is also required reading for researchers of invasive plants worldwide.

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1 Plant Invasion in India: an Overview

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1

Plant Invasion in India: an

Overview

R.K. Kohli1, D.R. Batish1, J.S. Singh2, H.P. Singh3 and

J.R. Bhatt4

1Department

of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India; of Botany, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India;

3Department of Environment Studies, Panjab University,

Chandigarh, India; 4Director, Ministry of Environment and Forests,

CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi, India

2Department

Introduction

The Earth’s flora is dynamic and has been constantly changing over a period of time.

Changes may be natural or human-aided, although in the recent past the latter has played a vital role. In fact, the movement of plants from one part of the earth to the other has become very common and frequent owing to better trade and transport facilities. Plant species that move from one geographical region to the other (either accidentally or intentionally), establish and proliferate there and threaten native ecosystems, habitats and species are known as invasive alien plants (hereafter referred to as invasive plants) (Richardson et al.,

 

2 Biology, Ecology and Spread of the Invasive Weed Parthenium hysterophorus in India

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2

Biology, Ecology and Spread of the Invasive Weed Parthenium hysterophorus in India

D. R. Batish1, R.K. Kohli1, H.P. Singh2 and Gurpreet

Kaur2

1Department

of Botany, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India; of Environment Studies, Panjab University,

Chandigarh, India

2Department

Introduction

Parthenium hysterophorus L. (family Asteraceae, and hereafter referred to as Parthenium) is an obnoxious invasive weed from tropical

America that has spread to various tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It is rated as one of the most serious weeds of the 20th century and also as a biological pollutant because of its adverse effects on human health. Parthenium is a weed of global importance (Adkins et al., 2005). Owing to its invasive nature, the weed is included in the Global Invasive Species database of

IUCN. It is known by several common and vernacular names such as parthenium weed, ragweed parthenium, starweed, bastard feverfew, Santa Maria feverfew, gajar ghas, safed topi, chatak chandni, white top weed and congress grass. It has created many problems in India and Australia and is spreading in Ethiopia. The weed spreads very rapidly over large areas and quickly forms its own monoculture. It occurs widely in different habitats varying from hot and arid, semi-arid to humid and from low- to middle- to high-altitude regions.

 

3 Invasive Species: Ecology and Impact of Lantana camara Invasions

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3

Invasive Species: Ecology and

Impact of Lantana camara

Invasions

Gyan P. Sharma1 and Akhilesh S. Raghubanshi2

1Department

of Environmental Biology, University of Delhi, Delhi,

India; 2Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development,

Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India

Introduction

Invasion of exotic species is among the most important global problems experienced by natural ecosystems. Although biological invasion is a natural process, the recent enhanced rate of invasions is clearly a human-instigated phenomenon and constitutes one of the most important effects that humans have exerted on the planet.

Disturbance, whether regular or episodic, is a natural feature of dynamic ecosystems

(Sousa, 1984; Gurevitch and Padilla, 2004), but it also facilitates the invasion process.

As a result of the rapid modification of natural habitats, the pace of invasion has accelerated particularly during the past century (Schei, 1996). Extinction of species related to invasion is an outcome of human activities. Invasive species are the second largest threat to global biodiversity after habitat destruction, and the number one cause of species extinction in most island states (Schei, 1996). In the past, many of the irretrievable losses of native biodiversity due to biological invasion have gone unrecorded but, today, there is an increasing realization of the ecological costs of this process. Over 40% of the plants listed as threatened and endangered species in the

 

4 Biology of Chromolaena odorata, Ageratina adenophora and Ageratina riparia: a Review

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4

Biology of Chromolaena odorata,

Ageratina adenophora and

Ageratina riparia: a Review

R.S. Tripathi1, A.S. Yadav2 and S.P.S. Kushwaha3

1National

Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh,

India; 2Department of Botany, R.R. Autonomous College,

Rajasthan, India; 3Indian Institute of Remote Sensing,

Uttarakhand, India

Introduction

Migration of species from one geographical region to another across the natural barriers such as high mountains, seas and oceans has been taking place since time immemorial.

The movement of species through natural dispersal agents has been rather slow.

However, with globalization there has been a phenomenal increase in trade, tourism, travel and other human activities, and this has caused both intentional and unintentional introduction of species from one country to another at a pace that was never witnessed before.

(Tripathi, 2009)

Thus, over the last 100 years several invasive plant species have occupied new regions far away from their place of their origin, and some species of the genus Eupatorium

 

5 Ageratum conyzoides: an Alien Invasive Weed in India

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Ageratum conyzoides: an Alien

Invasive Weed in India

Shalinder Kaur1, Daizy R. Batish2, R. K. Kohli2 and

H.P. Singh1

1Department

of Environment Studies, Panjab University,

Chandigarh, India; 2Department of Botany, Panjab University,

Chandigarh, India

Introduction

Worldwide, invasion by exotic alien plants has caused a significant change in structure and composition of vegetation leading to homogenization of flora (Cushman and

Gaffney, 2010). Due to increased globalization and burgeoning human population, there has been an unprecedented increase in movement (both intentional and unintentional) of species beyond their natural biogeographical range into new environments. In fact, the spread of invasive species is occurring at an exceptionally high rate throughout the world and is amongst one of the major threats to global biodiversity. It has greatly enhanced the interest of scientists in studying the magnitude of occurrence and impact of invasive species (Davis, 2009). Invasive plants damage ecosystems both economically and ecologically and, out of these, ecological impacts are more difficult to assess than economic effects (Pimentel et al., 2005).

 

6 Predicting the Geographial Distribution of an Invasive Species (Chromolaena odorata L. (King) & H.E. Robins) in the Indian Subcontinent under Climate Change Scenarios

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Predicting the Geographical

Distribution of an Invasive Species

(Chromolaena odorata L. (King) &

H.E. Robins) in the Indian

Subcontinent under Climate

Change Scenarios

S.K. Barik and D. Adhikari

Centre for Advanced Studies in Botany, North-Eastern Hill

University, Shillong, India

Introduction

Biological invasion, coupled with climate change, threatens the global environment as well as economics (Thuiller et al., 2007;

Tripathi, 2009; Walther et al., 2009). Rising temperatures, rapid economic development and invasion by alien species can potentially affect ecosystems, rapidly disassemble communities and negatively impact native biodiversity (Sanders et al., 2003; Lin et al.,

2007; Thuiller et al., 2007; Kelly and Goulden,

2008; Walther et al., 2009). Worldwide, alien invasive species cause an estimated annual economic loss of US$314 billion in the agriculture and forestry sectors, of which

India’s share is round US$116 billion

(Pimentel et al., 2001). Around 40% of the total plant species found in India are alien, of which 25% are considered to be invasive

 

7 Impacts of Cultivation of Kappaphycus alvarezii on Coral Reef Environs of the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay, South-eastern India

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Impacts of Cultivation of

Kappaphycus alvarezii on Coral

Reef Environs of the Gulf of

Mannar and Palk Bay, Southeastern India

J.K. Patterson Edward1 and J.R. Bhatt2

1Suganthi

Devadason Marine Research Institute, Tuticorin, Tamil

Nadu, India; 2Ministry of Environment and Forests, Paryavaran

Bhavan, CGO Complex, New Delhi, India

Introduction

Kappaphycus alvarezii is among the largest tropical red algae, with a high growth rate, resilient morphology and extremely successful vegetative regeneration, making it a potentially destructive invasive species

(Doty Ex Silva, Kappaphycus alvarezii (http:// www.hawaii.edu/reefalgae/invasive_algae/ rhodo/kappaphycus_alvarezii.htm). It is tough, fleshy and firm, growing up to 2 m. Its thalli are coarse, with axes and branches 1–2 cm diameter; heavy, with major axes relatively straight, lacking secondary branches near apices. Frequently and irregularly branched, most branches primary, secondary branches intercalated between primary branches or mostly lacking. Colour is green to yellow orange (Doty, 1996).

 

8 Biology of Mikania micrantha H.B.K.: a Review

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Biology of Mikania micrantha

H.B.K.: a Review

R.S. Tripathi1, M.L. Khan2 and A.S. Yadav3

1National

Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh,

India; 2Department of Forestry, North-Eastern Regional Research

Institute of Science and Technology (Deemed University), Nirjuli,

Arunachal Pradesh, India; 3Department of Botany, R.R.

Autonomous College, Alwar, Rajasthan, India

Introduction

Invasion of alien plant species is one of the most serious global problems. Alien plant species invade and adversely affect both natural and semi-natural ecosystems

(Higgins et al., 1996; Mgidia et al., 2007).

Mikania micrantha is one of the 100 worst alien species (Lowe et al., 2001), is among the ten worst exotic species in South-east and South Asia, and one of the 16 exotic species in China (Zhang, L.Y. et al., 2004). It is commonly known as mile-a-minute weed

(Waterhouse, 1994), is an extremely fastgrowing, perennial vine and is regarded as one of the world’s most notorious invaders

(Holm et al., 1977; Cronk and Fuller, 1995).

 

9 Anthemis cotula L.: a Highly Invasive Species in the Kashmir Himalaya, India

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Anthemis cotula L.: a Highly

Invasive Species in the Kashmir

Himalaya, India

Zafar A. Reshi, Manzoor A. Shah, Irfan Rashid and

Nazima Rasool

Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and

Kashmir, India

Introduction

The rapidly increasing alien species invasions across biogeographical regions in the contemporary world, with huge socioeconomic and environmental costs, underscore the urgency of detailed investigation of the process of invasion, species invasiveness and community invasibility (Moles et al.,

2008). Different hypotheses proposed to explain the mechanism of plant invasion

(reviewed and integrated by Catford et al.,

2008) suggest that different factors operate, either separately or synergistically, at various spatio-temporal scales and stages to cause successful invasion. While the process of invasion is highly complex and largely context-specific, detailed understanding of the invasiveness of a large number of flagship invasive species in different parts of world can aid in arriving at some broad generalizations about the ‘syndrome’ of traits that contribute to invasion, predictive modelling of spatial spread and effective management.

 

10 A Brief Appraisal of Genus Potamogeton L. in the Kashmir Valley

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10

A Brief Appraisal of Genus

Potamogeton L. in the Kashmir

Valley

Aijaz Hassan Ganie, Zafar A. Reshi and B.A.

Wafai

Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Introduction

The genus Potamogeton (Potamogetonaceae) is distributed worldwide (Chambers et al.,

2008) and is represented by 69 species and

50 natural hybrids (Weigleb and Kaplan,

1998). The number of species existing in different continents of the world and those shared by various continents are summarized in Table 10.1. The largest number of species

(29) of the genus inhabit aquatic ecosystems in Asia, followed by North America (28 species) and Europe (22 species). Nine species are common to Asia and North

America, 14 to Asia and Europe and 11 are shared by North America and Europe. The high species diversity of the genus in the northern hemisphere indicates that this region could be the centre of diversity and origin of the genus (Lindqvist et al., 2006). A relatively higher number of species of this

genus has also been recorded in central, eastern and western USA, Canada, temperate

 

11 Remote Sensing of Invasive Alien Plant Species

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11

Remote Sensing of Invasive

Alien Plant Species

S.P.S. Kushwaha

Forestry and Ecology Division, Indian Institute of Remote

Sensing, Indian Space Research Organisation, Dehradun, India

Introduction

Invasive alien species (IAS) are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health. In particular, they impact adversely upon biodiversity, including decline or elimination of native species through competition, predation or transmission of pathogens, and the disruption of local ecosystem and ecosystem functions (CBD, 2006). Invasive alien species, introduced and/or spread outside their natural habitats, have affected native biodiversity in almost every ecosystem type on earth and are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Since the

17th century, invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known.

The problem continues to grow, at great socio-economic, health and ecological cost around the world. Invasive alien species exacerbate poverty and threaten development through their impact on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and natural systems, which are an important basis of peoples’ livelihoods in developing countries. This damage is aggravated by climate change, pollution, habitat loss and human-induced disturbance.

 

12 Invasive Alien Weeds of the Western Ghats: Taxonomy and Distribution

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Invasive Alien Weeds of the

Western Ghats: Taxonomy and

Distribution

R.R. Rao1 and Kavitha Sagar2

1INSA Honorary Scientist, Bangalore, India; 2Vidya Herbs,

Bangalore, India

Introduction

Alien weeds have been established on Indian soil ever since the late 15th century, following Portuguese settlement in that country. While the vast majority of these have become naturalized and seem to be the permanent denizens of our flora, a few aliens – particularly those that have established in the last century or so – have proved to be invasives that have rapidly spread like wildfire in all biogeographic zones and have taken a heavy toll of native biodiversity. Although most invasive weeds originated from Mexico and the tropical

American Region, they are not truly invasives in their native habitats but have acquired the invasive character in India.

While it is important to look for causes that make a species invasive, it is equally important to obtain baseline data on their correct taxonomic identification, distribution, habitat, economic uses (if any) and such other field-related data. The present chapter is focused mainly through a taxonomic perspective on some of these issues in regard to invasive aliens in the

 

13 Invasive Alien Plants in Tropical Forests of the South-eastern Ghats, India: Ecology and Management

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13

Invasive Alien Plants in Tropical

Forests of the South-eastern

Ghats, India: Ecology and

Management

N. Parthasarathy, L. Arul Pragasan and C.

Muthumperumal

Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences,

Pondicherry University, Puducherry, India

Introduction

Study Area

Biological invasion is reported to be the second leading cause of species extinction after habitat loss, and is one of the major causes of biodiversity depletion (Jose et al.,

2009). Invasion science has attracted attention from ecologists because of its significant ecological impacts and economic costs worldwide (Liu et al., 2005). Human activities have important influences on the dispersal of exotic plants (Mack and

D’Antonio, 1998; Sax, 2002; Liu et al., 2005).

Invasive species affect both biological and cultural systems. Study of the ecological and economic effects of invasive species has paralleled their progressively pervasive influence worldwide, yet their cultural impacts remain largely unexamined and therefore unrecognized. Invasive alien species pose a serious threat to the biodiversity of native species (Singh et al., 2006), particularly in the tropics, and the Indian subcontinent is no exception to this. Biological invasions have emerged as a major ecological and environmental policy issue, displacing native species in both terrestrial and marine habits at unprecedented rates (Mack et al., 2000;

 

14 Status of Alien Plant Invasions in the North-eastern Region of India

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Status of Alien Plant Invasions in the North-eastern Region of

India

Uma Shankar1, A.S. Yadav2, J.P.N. Rai3 and R.S.

Tripathi4

1Department

of Botany, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong,

India; 2Department of Botany, R.R. College, Alwar, Rajasthan,

India; 3Department of Environmental Sciences, G.B. Pant

University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar,

Uttarakhand, India; 4National Botanical Research Institute,

Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Introduction

Invasion by alien plants in natural forests is growing rapidly and is an accompaniment to the depletion of biodiversity, one of the most pressing issues in biology today (Tripathi,

2009). Although the major cause of invasion may vary depending on the regional setting, almost all tropical forests are seriously threatened by anthropogenic activities leading to irreversible loss of biodiversity.

This problem is particularly acute in the north-eastern region of India, which is known for its diverse and extensive lush forest cover and the fact that it comprises over 50% of the total number of vascular plants in India. These forests are highly exposed to clear-cutting, grazing, burning and harvesting of various timber and nontimber forest products (Uma Shankar et al.,

 

15 Invasive Alien Weeds in the Tropics: the Changing Pattern in the Herbaceous Flora of Meghalaya in North-east India

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Invasive Alien Weeds in the

Tropics: the Changing Pattern in the Herbaceous Flora of

Meghalaya in North-east India

R.R. Rao1 and Kavitha Sagar2

1INSA Honorary Scientist, Bangalore, India; 2Vidya Herbs,

Bangalore, India

Introduction

Biological invasions worldwide by various notorious weedy species have become so widespread as to represent a major component of human-induced global environmental change. These species not only affect human health but also nations’ economic scenarios. Invasive alien weeds in India are either intentional or unintentional introductions, mostly from the neo-tropical regions of the world, and have tremendous potential to establish, invade and outcompete native species. The threat to native biodiversity due to the spread of invasive alien weeds is considered second only to habitat destruction. Although extinction of local populations due to the spread of alien weeds was recognized as early as 1872 by

Darwin and Wallace (Darwin, 1872; Wallace,

1902), it is only recently that the problem of biological invasions has received due attention. The Convention on Biological

 

16 Invasion by Alien Macrophytes in Freshwater Ecosystems of India

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Invasion by Alien Macrophytes in Freshwater Ecosystems of

India

Manzoor A. Shah and Zafar A. Reshi

Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Introduction

Freshwater ecosystems support almost 6% of all described species (Hawksworth and

Kalin-Arroyo, 1995), despite comprising only a tiny fraction of the world’s water

(0.01%) and terrestrial (0.8%) surfaces

(Gleick, 1996). Although freshwater biodiversity provides a wide variety of valuable economic goods and irreplaceable ecosystem services for humanity, it is increasingly threatened by overexploitation, pollution, water flow changes, habitat degradation and invasion by alien species (Dudgeon et al.,

2006). Of these threats, the spread of invasive species appears the most severe

(Zedler and Kercher, 2004; Olden et al.,

2006) and causes considerable damage, with cascading effects on structural organization and functional integrity of freshwater ecosystems. There is a relatively greater degree of decline and extinction of species in freshwater ecosystems than in terrestrial or marine environments (Johnson et al., 2008), mainly due to hydrologic alterations and biological invasions. It is for these reasons that freshwater biodiversity comprises a priority conservation concern during the

 

17 Plant Invasions in Jammu and Kashmir State, India

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Plant Invasions in Jammu and

Kashmir State, India

Anzar A. Khuroo1, Zafar A. Reshi1, G.H. Dar1 and

Irshad A. Hamal2

1Department

of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India; 2Vice-chancellor, Baba Ghulam Shah

Badshah University, Rajouri, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Introduction

In the contemporary era of global environmental change, biological invasion by alien species is implicated as the second major driver in the loss of native biodiversity worldwide (Wilcove et al., 1998; Sax et al.,

2002). With an unprecedented surge in global trade, travel and transport over the last decade or so, the risk of invasions by alien plant species has escalated due to increasing introductions of species much beyond their natural distribution ranges

(Meyerson and Mooney, 2007; Westphal et al., 2008). Invasive alien plants not only pose a serious threat to native biota but have serious consequences for the economy, ecology, public health and bio-security of the countries involved (Meyerson and

 

18 Risk Assessment for Management of Biological Invasions

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Risk Assessment for

Management of Biological

Invasions

Zafar A. Reshi and Irfan Rashid

Department of Botany, University of Kashmir, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Introduction

Risk assessment schemes are now being developed and applied globally to predict not only the potential invasive alien species whose introduction could be prevented, but also to identify the high-risk species among those already introduced that would cause ecological and economic impact. Such screening protocols have assumed urgency in view of the enormous increase in the introduction and spread of invasive species due to intentional and unintentional transport of propagules of species beyond their natural biogeographical ranges (Wilson et al.,

2009), and to human-induced environmental changes (Thuiller et al., 2008) that promote such biological invasions, with huge ecological and economic costs estimated at around US$1.4 trillion annually (Pimentel et al., 2005). The need for such protocols also arises from the fact that importing of economically important species used as food, fodder, fibre, fuel, etc. cannot be altogether restricted or prevented; rather, species having the least likelihood of causing any harm need to be identified for use in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, etc. in non-native regions in order to promote human well-being and prosperity in a manner that does not jeopardize the structural and functional integrity of native ecosystems. In contrast to pests that are aggressively managed because of their adverse impacts and no potential benefits,

 

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