Ludwigia Peruviana

Ludwigia Peruviana

News: An Invasive aquatic weed named “Ludwigia peruviana” is threatening elephant habitats in Tamil Nadu and reviving the risk of human-elephant conflicts in the region.

What is Ludwigia Peruviana?
• Ludwigia peruviana is an aquatic weed native to some countries in Central and South America, including Peru.
•  It is usually found in wetlands, swamps, marshes and along the edges of lagoons and slow-moving waterways (sometimes also floating on the water surface).
• Ludwigia peruviana is among the 22 priority invasive plants in Tamil Nadu. It was probably introduced as an ornamental plant for its tiny yellow flowers.
• It is a fast growing aquatic weed. It forms dense colonies in slow-moving and static waterways. This impacts the water flows in waterways, outcompetes native plants, reduces food and shelter for fish and other native aquatic animals and decreases light and water temperature.
•  Moreover, unlike other invasive plants, Ludwigia poses a unique challenge as it grows in swamps and there is little scope to use machinery which may further destroy the ecosystem.
• Even if Ludwigia is pulled out manually, the soft plant easily breaks and it spreads again from the root or broken stems that fall in the swamp.

How is it likely to impact elephants?
• As it has limited the growth of grass and native plants that is a source of food for elephants and other animals including gaur. It has revived the risk of human-elephant conflicts in the region.

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