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Gujarat bans Conocarpus plants

Context:

The Gujarat govt has banned the planting of ornamental Conocarpus trees in forest or non-forest areas, citing their adverse impacts on environment and human health. Earlier, Telangana too had banned the plant species.

Relevance:

GS III: Species in News

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Conocarpus plants
  2. Gujarat Bans Conocarpus Plants: Reasons and Similar Cases
  3. Similar Cases of Unfavorable Plant Species

Conocarpus Plants:

  • Conocarpus is a genus consisting of two species of flowering plants within the Combretaceae family.
  • These plants are commonly found in tropical regions across the world.
Two Distinct Species
  • Conocarpus erectus (Buttonwood or Button Mangrove)
    • A mangrove shrub that thrives along tropical and subtropical shorelines globally.
    • Popularly used in landscaping for gardens, parks, and indoor settings.
    • Exhibits rapid growth and minimal leaf shedding, making it suitable for creating natural green walls when pruned skillfully.
  • Conocarpus lancifolius
    • A tree species native to coastal and riverine areas in Somalia, Djibouti, and Yemen.
    • Found in various regions, including the Horn of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and South Asia.

Gujarat Bans Conocarpus Plants: Reasons and Similar Cases

Ban on Conocarpus Planting

  • The Gujarat government has imposed a ban on planting ornamental Conocarpus trees in both forest and non-forest areas.
  • Conocarpus, a fast-growing exotic mangrove species, had gained popularity in Gujarat for enhancing greenery.

Reasons for the Ban

  • Research reports have revealed adverse environmental and health impacts associated with Conocarpus.
  • The species blooms in winter, releasing pollen that leads to health issues like colds, coughs, asthma, and allergies in nearby areas.
  • The extensive root system of Conocarpus damages telecommunication lines, drainage systems, and freshwater networks.
  • The leaves of Conocarpus are unappetizing to plant-eating animals, affecting local ecosystems.

Similar Cases of Unfavorable Plant Species

  • Vilayati Kikar in Delhi
    • In 2018, the Delhi government initiated the removal of Vilayati Kikar from the Central Ridge, Delhi’s green lung.
    • This non-native tree was introduced in the 1930s by the British and quickly overtook native species, harming local biodiversity and water tables.
  • Eucalyptus in Kerala
    • British introduction of Eucalyptus to Munnar, Kerala, for use as fuel in tea plantation boilers had detrimental effects.
    • In 2018, Kerala’s forest department ceased acacia and eucalyptus cultivation in forests due to their negative impact on fodder availability and forest habitats.

-Source: Indian Express


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