Department

Department of International Studies, Department of Rangeland Ecology and Watershed Management, and Department of Botany

First Advisor

Ramesh Sivanpillai PhD

Description

Mikania macrantha (American rope or mile-a-minute weed) is native to Central and South America, but an invasive species in India’s Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot. This weed out-competes native species by producing seeds at an extremely quick rate and spreads by attaching its seeds to the hair in the coats of animals that pass by this plant as well as through wind dispersal. Like most invasive species, it prefers disturbed areas, which makes it a threat to riparian areas, road sides, crop fields, and areas of development. This weed has been found to kill entire trees as well as tea and rubber plants, banana, coconut and oil palm trees. Presence of this weed also limits the growth of other more palatable species, which decreases vegetation availability for consumption by the native wildlife of the Western Ghats. This research focuses on the environmental impacts of this invasive weed on the native plants and animals, agricultural crops, environment and ecology of this biodiversity hotspot.

Comments

Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources

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Environmental impacts of Mikania macrantha, an invasive weed, in Western Ghats, India

Mikania macrantha (American rope or mile-a-minute weed) is native to Central and South America, but an invasive species in India’s Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot. This weed out-competes native species by producing seeds at an extremely quick rate and spreads by attaching its seeds to the hair in the coats of animals that pass by this plant as well as through wind dispersal. Like most invasive species, it prefers disturbed areas, which makes it a threat to riparian areas, road sides, crop fields, and areas of development. This weed has been found to kill entire trees as well as tea and rubber plants, banana, coconut and oil palm trees. Presence of this weed also limits the growth of other more palatable species, which decreases vegetation availability for consumption by the native wildlife of the Western Ghats. This research focuses on the environmental impacts of this invasive weed on the native plants and animals, agricultural crops, environment and ecology of this biodiversity hotspot.