Since its introduction in India 200 years ago, Lantana camara (Lantana) has become established and naturalised across a wide range of habitats. In Indian protected areas, lantana has been predominately managed using a range of mechanical removal approaches, costing up to ` 6000 per hectare. However, managed sites are rapidly recolonized by lantana and management programmes rarely achieve their goal of lantana eradication. In present study, we quantified recolonisation of lantana at sites that were either managed only once or for two consecutive years in Rajaji National Park, Uttarakhand. Rapid recolonisation and recruitment is occuring from seed dispersal from surrounding lantana populations, soil seed banks and vegetative regeneration. To manage lantana effectively we need to consider these ecological processes. An alternate management programme is recommended for long-established invasive plants such as lantana, that focuses on (a) prioritizing critical habitats that require management of invasive species (b) long-term monitoring and management scaled to timeframes of ecological processes, i.e., lantana dispersal and soil seed banks, and (c) phased enlargement of managed sites such that over time, high-priority habitats can be isolated from dispersal originating from surrounding lantana source populations.
Indian Forester, 140 (2) : 129-136