Friday, September 22, 2006



President, Dr. Keshab Shrestha Associate Professor/NHM.
Executive commitee members and advisory members of CENEED, Nepal


1. Keshab Shrestha 1998, Dictionary of Nepalese Plant Names, Mandala Book point, Kathmandu, Nepal.

IUCN rises up to document invasive alien species of flora
By Damaru Lal Bhandari

KATHMANDU, Oct 30: Come December the Nepal office of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will embark on a study on invasive alien species (IAS) of plants. IAS are species of organisms, which have been moved to a new habitat and are known to harm the ecosystems.
The study will be conducted in selected locations of Gandaki, Koshi and Karnali river basins from December. Which means IUCN staff shall lead local environmental activists, environmental organisations and school students in identifying IAS and draw up theinventory.
"Once we have the inventory we can launch campaign aimed at raising awareness about alien species among farmers and institutions involved in conservation efforts," said Sagendra Tiwari, programme co-ordinator of IUCN-Nepal. The study shall also focus on the ways the local people have tended to receive them.
"The vital purpose, of course, is to ascertain the way the farmers and conservationists have tended to cope with them and loss incurred by them," said Tiwari, adding additional concern is to find out their adverse impact on agriculture, forestry and fishery.
The intervention from IUCN comes in the wake of claims that native species of vegetation and habitats were facing threat from scores of alien species of plants. More common to the city dweller is water hyacinth, which can be seen spreading out over abandoned ponds of the Kathmandu Valley.
But Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) has advised caution before damning the species as "alien." " We must concentrate on eking out benefits from them rather then saying they don’t belong here," said Bimal Kumar Baniya, a NARC officer.
He, however, conceded that some of the species like mikania micrantha, known locally as banmara, were really aggressive but "still do not make a case for disowning them."
" We are not yet in a position to correctly judge the scenario. But the problem with certain alien species is they predominate over local species, culminating in their eventual extinction," Tiwari further said.
In fact, it was Tiwari who drew up an inventory of IAS of plants based on review of literature. There are nearly 80 species, 10 of them most pervasive.
"Foreign plants like water hyacinth casts adverse impact on fish ponds," said Dharani Man Singh, Fisheries Development Officer associated with Fisheries Development Directorate.
Singh, however, hastened on to add," We have introduced Chinese grass carp. It is a fish which feeds on water hyacinth ruling out its growth. This is the strategy we have followed to protect fish ponds."
Dr. Keshab Shrestha, Director of Natural History Museum, has appreciated the efforts coming from IUCN on the issue of alien invasive species of plants.
"Of course, they are doing a good job. But still what we can say is the study is restricted to enumerating the species rather than eradicating them," he said. He also stressed the need to popularise indigenous species of flowering and decorative plants.
As Tiwari said, " We have decided to exercise restraint before damning them. We are conducting a study, which will be followed by recommendation."
However, species which fall under Sino-Japanese, South East Asian, Indian, African-Asian desert, Irano-Turranean and Central Asiatic region are not considered as alien to Nepal.