Why is it in the news?
- Recently, the Gujarat government has banned the planting of ornamental Conocarpus trees due to their adverse impacts on the environment and human health.
About Conocarpus Trees
- Conocarpus is a fast-growing exotic mangrove species that was popular for increasing green cover in Gujarat.
- Research reports have shown that Conocarpus trees spread pollen, causing health issues like cold, cough, asthma, and allergies.
- The species has deep roots that can damage telecommunication lines, drainage lines, and freshwater systems.
- Leaves of Conocarpus are unpalatable to plant-eating animals.
Vilayati Kikar (Prosopis juliflora)
- Vilayati Kikar was introduced to Delhi in the 1930s by the British and quickly became dominant due to its fast growth in arid conditions.
- It outcompetes native trees, leading to the decline of native flora and fauna.
- Vilayati Kikar also depletes the water table in the areas where it is planted.
- Eucalyptus trees were introduced by the British in Munnar, Kerala, for fuel in tea plantation boilers.
- The cultivation of foreign invasive plants like acacia and eucalyptus has reduced the availability of fodder in forests, leading to man-animal conflicts.
- The quality of forest habitats has suffered due to the cultivation of alien plants for commercial purposes.