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Impact Assessment on Floral Composition and Spread Potential of Mikania micrantha H.B.K. in an Urban Scenario
- Banerjee, Achyut Kumar, Reddy, C. Sudhakar, Dewanji, Anjana
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, India, Section B: biological sciences 2017 v.87 no.3 pp. 777-788
- Mikania micrantha, cities, clay, ecological invasion, forests, highways, indigenous species, invasive species, land use, remote sensing, sandy loam soils, urbanization, weeds, India
- The present study is concerned with one of the top ten worst weeds of the world, Mikania micrantha H.B.K., and its growth in a rapidly urbanizing city, Kolkata. The two primary objectives were to assess the impact of this invasive plant on floral diversity as well as its potential for spread into new areas. A quadrat based assessment was conducted to estimate the impact of M. micrantha on floral diversity at 69 terrestrial sites which were subsequently grouped on the basis of the infestation size of M. micrantha. A significant reduction in the number of native species with increasing infestation size of M. micrantha was noted. The clay component of soil texture along major roadsides, as found in this study, significantly favoured extra-large growth of M. micrantha in contrast to the sandy loam soil type which generally favours their luxuriant growth in forest areas. The ‘distance from road network’ analysis revealed that most of the large infestations were along highways and that the satellite infestations of M. micrantha did not readily progress into larger infestations along minor roads. Application of remote sensing technology identified the vulnerability of the ‘sparse vegetation’ land use class for future spread of infestation. Although majority of the infested sites comprised of satellite populations with very few extra-large patches, the rapid rate of urbanization within cities highlights the need for ‘early detection and rapid response’ to prevent large scale invasion in future.