News - June 1, 2006

Plant invasion

Degradation of the forests in Nepal is making it easier for the shrub Chomolaena odorata to invade. According to Dr Chudamani Joshi, remote sensing and GIS techniques can help to formulate a strategy to deal with plant invasions like this. Chomolaena odorata comes originally from Central America, but has become a plague in all tropical areas. It is a light-loving shrub that profits from deforestation. Joshi calculated that the area of forest in the Terai region of Nepal is decreasing at a rate of 1.4 percent per year. In addition, the density of the leaf canopy is not optimal in large parts of the forest, and this is an indicator of degradation. According to the researcher, GIS and remote sensing can be used to distinguish spatially between populations that produce seed from those that are not reproductive, because these techniques can show up the areas of forest that allow a lot of light through. / MW