The Federation of Environmental Organisations (FEO) has, in collaboration with the Department of Wildlife Conservation, engaged in an intensive operation to clear the grasslands of the Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks from the spread of the Invasive Alien Species ‘Agada’ (Xanthium indicum). This is just the first step.
As the seeds of this weed are carried by water, this will have to be repeated next year, and the year after, to control the spread of this plant that suppresses the growth of the grass needed by the elephants of these parks for much-needed fodder during the times of drought. Of course, there was a mechanism that prevented the widespread dispersal of this weed; the seasonal inundation to capacity, of these reservoirs. Then, in the cultivation season, the water was released for irrigation downstream exposing the lake bed. This not only ensured the growth of lush grasslands, but also that the new seeds of ‘Agada’ were drowned before they could set root.
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