Invasive plants occupy 20% area of MHNP

August 08, 2020

Islamabad : Some twenty per cent area of Margalla Hills National Park has been occupied by the invasive plant species and if this trend continues then indigenous plants would be completely wiped...

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Islamabad : Some twenty per cent area of Margalla Hills National Park (MHNP) has been occupied by the invasive plant species and if this trend continues then indigenous plants would be completely wiped out in the coming decades.

According to the record provided by Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) the total area of MHNP is 175 square kilometres out of which 36 square kilometres area has been invaded by the plant species that are not indigenous and spread ‘poison’ among the native plant species.

“The invasive species do nothing good instead of spreading poisonous material into the trees thus damaging their roots and wood. This trend must be halted to protect the vegetation and natural tree cover of the hilly areas of MHNP,” it said.

It said area measuring 120 square kilometres consists of hills that are more vulnerable to the invasive species spreading at the faster pace, adding “Previously, IWMB was tackling three issues including illegal tree cutting, poaching and encroachment but now a new issue has surfaced in terms of the spread of invasive plant species.”

The record showed that a Scientific Committee has been set up that is thoroughly examining the situation to prepare a comprehensive plan with an aim to protect native tree cover from the invasive species.

It is pertinent to mention here that the MHNP is facing two types of encroachment—expansion of villages and institutional encroachment. As far as the institutional encroachment is concerned, the IWMB has already successfully foiled the attempts to construct a cricket stadium and a golf course in the area of the national park.

An attempt was also made during the Musharraf era to construct a tunnel to connect Islamabad with Haripur but the environmentalists and conservationists challenged this decision in the court that finally ordered to quash this plan.

The record also showed that IWMB has also been using camera trapping with motion sensors that helps trace the movement of the mammal species, which usually come out in the night time due to vehicular traffic and human activities during the day time in the national park.



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