New Delhi, August 17 (G’nY News Service): Prosopis juliflora is a perfect example of species that become far more abundant when introduced to a newer ecosystem then in their native range. Native to Mexico, South & Central America and the Caribbean, this invasive plant species was first introduced in India in around 1870. By, the late 1980’s Prosopis occupied an estimated 52,000 hectares of land in the Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu. Eventually, awareness projects on deforestation, desertification and fuel wood shortage led to its introduction at a larger scale in other parts of India as well. Because of its deep penetrating roots, these small trees are able to pull out water from deeper layers and eventually render the land dry. It also can notoriously thrive under extreme drought conditions, where most other species fail.
Today, Prosopis juliflora has colonised itself to become a major threat to the natural environment of most parts of India. What’s more alarming is that this species is now a common sight in most parks and conserved habitats; a sad reminder of our ignorance and indifference.
The pervading question is – should these plants and trees still be preserved or it’s time for an appropriate replacement?