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INVASIVE ALIEN PLANTS: A THREAT TO THE TRADITIONALLY CONSERVED BIODIVERSITY OF THE SACRED GROVES OF BANKURA DISTRICT, WEST BENGAL, INDIA

Abstract

Invasive alien species (IAS) are marked as the second largest cause of biodiversity loss in the world. On the other hand, sacred groves (SGs) are the traditionally conserved forest pockets, maintained by indigenous people, serve as the in-situ conservation sites for local biodiversity. This paper highlights the diversity and status of the IAS in 5 sacred groves of Bankura district, West Bengal. This type of study was never done before in West Bengal, which focuses only on the invasive flora of the sacred groves. In this study we have found 27 invasive alien plants under 26 genera, belonging to 17 families of dicot angiosperms. Out of the 27 plant species, most of them (20 sp.,74%) are herbs. Moreover, maximum number (8 sp.) of the plants belong to the family Asteraceae. The major effects of the IAS are also mentioned. The nativity of the IAS were recorded and the ‘Tropical America’ is found to be the native place of maximum number of invasive plants (15 sp.), whereas Parthenium hysterophorus and Croton bonplandianum (F = 100%) are the most frequent species. The Sonamela Bograsini Than (Sl.-3) possesses maximum number of invasive plants (17 sp.), whereas Kadmaghati Maa Khayraburir Than (Sl.-1) has the least number (7 sp.). Moreover, the areas of the SGs are negatively correlated (r= -0.967) to the number of IAS found in that sacred grove, that means the small sacred groves are in more threat of invasion. Along with IAS, the other threats to the sacred groves are also mentioned and the authors recommend to imply proper control methods for the IAS and a strict government policy on the maintenance of the sacred groves.


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