Chennai, Jan 12 The Madras High Court has set up an expert committee to find a solution to root out invasive species of plants from the Western Ghats while observing that such species were the second largest cause of biodiversity loss in the world. It has also directed the panel to file a report on the ways to weed out such species within two months. A division bench of justices M M Sundaresh and N Sathish recently decided to constitute the committee on a batch of petitions seeking to restrain the state government from cultivating eucalyptus species in Tamil Nadu for commercial purpose. It said such varieties of plants were a greater threat to native biodiversity than pollution, harvest, and disease combined. "The effect of the invasive species is immeasurable in terms of destruction of forest apart from wildlife and also everything on earth. These species grow at a rapid pace. "Initially aided externally through the humans, it has successfully replaced the suppressed native species, both trees, and plants," the bench noted. The committee shall be headed by Cherukuri Raghavendra Babu, the chairman of the expert committee on invasive species in Chennai National Biodiversity Authority. Earlier, the court also observed that the damage was more from the invasive plants like Lantana, which have drastically reduced the hydrological species water table which was maintained by the indigenous ones. "Therefore, we are facing with severe droughts. As they grow faster, they draw more nutrients from the soil apart from water. They cannot be used by any of the living beings. What we have now is only the remnants of a healthy forest," it said. The efforts made hitherto have failed for various reasons and there is no doubt that all the stakeholders have to step in to address the impending crisis, it added. Stressing the need for preserving and developing forests, the judges said children have to be educated about it. "Thus, we feel, appropriate curriculum shall have to be included in textbooks to inculcate the need to nurture forests in the minds of the children accordingly," it said, adding that hence, the committee should also look into this aspect while submitting its report. CORR NVG ROH DPB DPB
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