Invasion of wild climber (Mikinia Micrantha) poses threat to rhino habitat

Invasion of a wild climber, which is also called Mikinia Micrantha, is posing a serious threat to the rhino habitat in Chitawan National Park (CNP) , Save the Environment Foundation (SEF) said.

In a press conference organised in Kathmandu Sunday, SEF founder Chanda Rana said the recent survey carried out by the Zoological Society of London found that 50 percent of the rhino have already been affected by the Mikania.

“During my filming I found one third of prime rhino habitat in the CNP were already engulfed by the infestation of the wild weed,” said Rana who has recently produced a documentary called ‘Mile a Minute, a serious threat to CNP’, as an initiation to raise awareness regarding the impact of the wild climber.

Rana also informed that SEF will organise a national workshop in the second week of November at CNP which will have the participation of all the stakeholders on Mikinia infestation.

The SEF has also planned to arrange visit of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to some areas of the national park where infestation of Mikinia Micrantha is most severe. nepalnews.com

What is Mikania micrantha ?

Mikania micrantha is a perennial creeping climber known for its vigorous and rampant growth. It is branchy, slender-stemmed perennial vine. The leaves are arranged in opposite pairs along the stems and are heart-shaped or triangular with an acute tip and a broad base. Leaves may be 4-13cm long. The flowers, each 3-5mm long, are arranged in dense terminal or axillary corymbs. Individual florets are white to greenish-white. The seed is black, linear-oblong, five-angled and about 2mm long. Each seed has a terminal pappus of white bristles that facilitates dispersal by wind or on the hair of animals.

Botanical name: Mikania micrantha (L.) Kunth
Nepali: Lahare Banmara
Common names: American rope (English), Chinese creeper (English)

Mikania micrantha is plant killing weeds and which is mostly affects young regeneration and creates unfavorable condition for regeneration. It is newly seen in Nepal and it is not in people’s notice. Several countries and territories are trying to manage the major weeds of the region but result seen is not effective. It can be reduced or eradicated through creating shade which is not suitable for Mikania micrantha. Several community forests are also affected by this weeds which can be eradicated through user participation. It is important to control or destroy in very beginning before dispersal of seeds. If it is spread widely will reduce the productivity, destroy regeneration and degrade the forest condition. Once it proliferated throughout the forest then will become costly to control by any means. Control burning is also one way to contain chances of wider spreading. more

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