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Thu 23rd of November 2017

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Himachal forests affected by lantana shrub

 

  1.  Atleast 6 per cent of the forests in Himachal Pradesh are invaded by exotic weed Lantana. The state's forest minister Thakur Singh Bharmouri recently told the Legislative Assembly that the state is working "full-time" to weed out the menace, but it would take at least 20 years to clear it from the state forests. Re-greening the areas with native high-rise foliage will take another four years, he said. The 2015-16 survey by the forest department shows that the state's largest district, Kangra, is worst affected by Lantana, followed by Sirmaur, Solan and Bilaspur. Shimla is the least affected.  The flowering shrub is a known water guzzler and poses a threat to indigenous plant species. Several countries are struggling to contain the spread of Lantana without much success.
  2. Lantana spreads very fast and does not allow anything else, including grass or other plant or shrub, grow in the area leading to the migration or decline in the number of herbivores. This can lead to starvation of tigers, leopards and other carnivores at the top of the food chain.
  3. Not just the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, even the Nagarahole National Park and Bandipur National Park in neighbouring Karnataka and the Jim Corbett National Park in Uttarakhand are amongst the worst-hit by the spread of this flowery shrub.
  4. The Corbett Tiger Reserve (CTR) adopted the Root Cut Stock methodology about a decade back to treat areas encroached by lantana. 
  5. First introduced in India in 1807, lantana has spread from the Himalayas to the southernmost parts of the country, though it is the hilly regions, especially the Shivaliks that have largely borne the brunt of the spread of this species.

Livelihoods impacted

  1. In Himachal Pradesh, the fast spread of lantana is adversely impacting not only wildlife, cattle, medicinal and other native plant species but also affecting the livelihoods of a large number of local people, including the tribal population. The districts of Mandi, Hamirpur and Solan are the worst affected.
  2. With lantana encroaching pastures and grazing area and impacting the productivity of the soil, it has caused widespread loss to livelihood.
  3. Yet another problem is that when carnivores like leopards do not find food in the forests, they tend to move into human habitations causing human-animal conflict. 
  4. In the Shivalik foothills of Jammu and Kashmir also the lantana shrub has been making inroads into pastures, thereby shrinking the areas for cattle grazing and like Himachal Pradesh, affecting the livelihood of people.
  5. The ‘Cut Root Stock’ methodology is now being implemented in Himachal Pradesh with certain modifications according to climatic conditions of the State. 

Control the spread

  1. For Himachal Pradesh, where over 177,000 hectares of forest and other land have been encroached by lantana, the priority is to control the speed of the spread of this weed, pointed out Mr. Vaidya. According to the latest data available, a little over 8,776 hectares of land infested by lantana in the State has been treated and the target fixed for the current financial year is 5,000 hectares.
  2. For wildlife experts and authorities, besides tackling the problem of poaching, the challenge today is to urgently control the voracious hunger for growth of lantana that is indirectly threatening the population of the big cats, local flora and fauna as well as causing serious livelihood problems.
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Prelims Question of the Day

With reference to 'Natural Rate of Unemployment', consider the following statements.

1. It is the level of unemployment in an economy that is just consistent with a stable rate of Inflation.

2. It is the unemployment that prevails when all markets in the economy are in equilibrium.

 

(a)1 and 2

(b)2 only

(c)1 only

(d)None of the above

Mains Question of the Day

1.GS-No party in power can afford to ignore Directive Principles of State Policy. Comment.(200 Words)

2.Political Science - Explain the role of non state actors, like IMF, World Bank, European Union and MNCs, in modulating and transforming the broad dynamics of international relations. (250 Words).

3.SOCIOLOGY - What is the impact of Globalization on the structure and mobilization of the working class in India? (250 Words).

Sociology - Thinkers