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Lantana Weed Extraction: A success story.
 
  Lantana (Weed) Eradication: A Success Story  
 

Chandigarh spreading 140 square kilometer is having 34.43 square kilometer of forest area under Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, reserve forests, un-classed forests, botanical garden and plantations.

Lantana (Lantana Camara) posed a serious threat to the biodiversity of Chandigarh. It is one of the most common and worst weeds which, is perhaps the most obnoxious in the Shivalik hills. Basically a native of tropical Central America it was introduced in India from Australia around 1810 A.D. as an ornamental garden plant. Lantana forces a wide variety of endemic medicine herbs, shrubs and trees to go extinct.

Due to reduction in floral biodiversity caused by heavy infestation of lantana in, there was a decline in faunal biodiversity as well. It is not palatable for wild animals. It is poisonous and many children in Africa were reported killed after consuming its berries. It is a strong ALLELOPATHIC plant. It releases certain toxic compounds in the environment which in turn adversely affect the neighboring vegetation and tree growth. It adversely affects the undergrowth too, particularly Bhabbar and other fodder grasses which are good soil binders.

In March, 2001, Forests and wildlife department of Chandigarh Administration chalked out a 5 year plan to make the forests of Chandigarh including Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary, free from Lantana. A three-pronged strategy was adopted that included (1)Removal of the cause of weed infestation by removing the weed from infested areas before fruiting and seeding (2) Physical removal of lantana and (3)Encouraging natural regeneration & enrichment planting

The success rate [Non-occurrence of lantana]is about 80% and it requires at least two successive clearings of the weed. The natural regeneration of indigenous species like Adhatoda vasica (Vansa), Muraya cognil (Kari patta), Butea monosperma (Dhak), Tinospora cordifolia (Giloe), Abrus Precatorius (Ratti) on the land vacated by the removal of lantana has prevented further infestation of lantana. Also as Lantana catches fire very quickly its removal has led to no forest fire in Chandigarh.

As on date Lantana has been eradicated completely from the forests of Union Territory of Chandigarh. [Source: Newsletter, Envis Centre, Chandigarh] For more details contact Deputy Conservator of Forests, Chandigarh Administration 0172-2700284, 2700217
 
 
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