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Poisonous plant species colonises Nakasongola vegetation

By Vision Reporter

Added 10th April 2005 03:00 AM

TODAY, invasion of alien species is the second leading cause of species endangerment in Nakasongola district.

TODAY, invasion of alien species is the second leading cause of species endangerment in Nakasongola district.

By John Kasozi
TODAY, invasion of alien species is the second leading cause of species endangerment in Nakasongola district.
The assault on the district by Lantana Camara is changing the entire habitat making it unsuitable for the native ecosystem.
Lantana Camara was at the beginning of this century listed among 100 of the world’s worst invasive alien species by the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP). Invasive species have the ability, not just to travel in ingenious ways but also to establish, thrive and dominate new places.
Lantana Camara is poisonous to animals and plants growing underneath it. It was introduced in the country as an ornamental plant. In some homes, it is still planted as a compound flower and a fence, while in other areas, children eat its small purple fruits.
According to the State of Environment Report for Uganda 1998, over 180 tree and 55 plant species have been introduced in the country. Many of which are fruit and ornamental trees.
Although, most of them have adapted well, a few have become invasive like Lantana camara (kayukiyuki in Luganda), Acacia senegalese, Tonna ciliate, Cassia spectabilis and Cedrela mexicana.
Lantana Camara has also provided a habitat for tsetse flies and is taking over the habitat of other shrubs in many parts of Nakasongola.
Together with the Acacia species they have colonised the vegetation.
“The original vegetation cover has been suppressed. Their presence shows signs of impending desertification,” says Jamesbond Kunobere, Nakasongola District Environment Officer.
These two species have far reaching repercussions and do permanent damage.
Land under these species becomes wasted. They take up a lot of water leaving other vegetation to wither. These species are more dominant over large areas of Lwampanga, Kalungi, Wabinyonyi and Nabiswera subcounties.
Kunobera explains that in the areas where Lantana and Acacia species are found, the boreholes dry out.
Overstocking and overgrazing by the large herds of cattle, which have consumed the available palatable plants, has accelerated the situation.
Meanwhile, the increasing human population pressure, uncontrolled game hunting and charcoal production, have also led to a remarkable decline in the vegetation and in numbers of key ungulate species such as Reedbuck, Bushbuck, Bush duiker, Oribi and Uganda Kob according to Kafu study.
Ends

Poisonous plant species colonises Nakasongola vegetation

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