Restoring Lantana camara Invaded Tropical Deciduous Forest: The Response of Native Plant Regeneration to two Common Lantana Removal Practices

Hiremath, A.J., A. Prasad, B. Sundaram
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Indian Forester, 144: 545-552

Lantana camara (hereafter, Lantana), a pantropical invasive species, has
become widespread across India. Lantana forms dense thickets in the
understory of deciduous forests, adversely affecting regeneration of native
vegetation and habitat for wildlife. Lantana removal is now an integral part
of protected area management in India. We tested the relative efficacy of
two Lantana removal techniques—cutting and burning, and
uprooting—commonly employed by forest managers. Our objectives were
a) to see which technique resulted in better native plant recovery post-
Lantana removal; and b) to evaluate the mechanisms underpinning
Lantana's success in these forests. The two techniques did not differ
greatly in post-removal recovery of native vegetation. However, there was
a marked difference in the post-removal recovery of Lantana. Lantana in
the uprooted plots was significantly denser than in the cut-and-burnt plots,
making the latter the more effective of the removal techniques. Given the
numerical dominance of Lantana seeds in the soil, and their wide
dispersal, no Lantana removal is likely to be effective without post-removal
monitoring and weeding. We also recommend post-removal planting of
species that can pre-empt Lantana re-colonization, and respond positively
to disturbances like fire and grazing, that are known to promote Lantana's

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Dr. Ankila Hiremath
The Banni grasslands in a time of change: Ecological and socioeconomic resilience in a coupled human-natural system
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