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Distribution of invasive plants and their association with wild ungulates in Barandabhar Corridor Forest, Nepal

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Invasive and alien plant species (IAPS) are considered as major threats to native biodiversity because IAPS alter ecosystem structure and their functions. We assessed the association of four major IAPS (Mikania micrantha, Chromolaena odorata, Lantana camara, and Parthenium hysterophorus) and the abundance of wild ungulates in Barandabhar Corridor Forest (BCF), Chitwan, Nepal. We collected data on the presence of wild ungulates in IAPS invaded habitats through direct observation and sign surveys. Our study showed that the cover of M. micrantha was significantly high in Sal forest (Prominence value PV = 73.23) followed by riverine forest (PV = 40.5) and grassland (PV = 37.7) whereas P. hysterophorus was high in grasslands (PV = 22.9). Similarly, C. odorata was significantly high in Sal forest (PV =141.6%), and L. camara was high in mixed forest (PV = 22.6). It was found that there was a significant negative association of IAPS (p = 0.002) with wild ungulates. The abundances of deer and wild pigs were more in the buffer zone than in the non-buffer zone. The abundance of deer decreased with increasing cover of C. odorata, M. micrantha, and P. hysterophorus (p = 0.002). Similarly, the abundance of wild pigs decreased with increasing cover of M. micrantha and L. camara. IAPS were not uniformly distributed in different habitats and abundances of wild ungulates were less in IAPS invaded habitats. Hence, it is important to initiate management plans to control IAPS spread to avoid their negative impacts on wild ungulate population such as deer and wild pigs.

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Sujets de la revue:
Life Sciences, other, Plant Science, Zoology, Ecology