Incursive species of plants and animals in Bangladesh
By Sadman Sad
Since ancient times, foreign traders and tourists have been coming to Bangladesh as it is an essential route of international trade. They have brought with them grains, fruits, and herbs of their own country. So far, scientists have been able to identify about 300 species of such plants. At the same time, they have compiled a list of invasive species of plants and animals. They said that there are 69 species of incursive plants and animals that are widely grown in Bangladesh. These are becoming a major threat to native species.
Researchers from five universities in Bangladesh, the United States, Australia, and Germany have researched foreign species of plants and animals in Bangladesh. The research report was published in August/2020 in the science journal Global Ecology and Conservation. It is said that Bangladesh has 46 species of plants, 16 species of fish, 5 species of insects, 1 species of snails, and 1 species of birds.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has compiled a list of the world’s 100 most incursive plants and animals. Of them, 69 species are available in Bangladesh. These include widely grown plants such as Water hyacinth, Assam vine, Swarna Lata, Lantana or Lantern, and forest matamtiya.
Sharif-e-Mukul, a senior research fellow at Australia’s Sunshine Coast University, told the Prothom Alo: “We have evaluated this researches and presented a comprehensive list and picture. Because, to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and maintain the natural balance of Bangladesh, we need to know which species of trees and animals are harmful to our country’s ecosystem. ‘
According to the research report on the threat of foreign invasive species in Bangladesh, there are the two species of ants in insects; among the fish- Tilapia, African catfish, and Grass carp are well known. These have become deadly aggressive. Due to these fish in open and closed reservoirs, the native small fish cannot survive. In Bangladesh, herbaceous trees came mainly during the British colonial rule. These are mainly brought in the name of beautification.
The Water hyacinth plant was brought from Brazil. Other harmful plants, including Assam vine, are similarly brought here. Rapidly growing trees, including Acacia and Mahogany, were brought here from Australia and Africa as part of social forestation programs in the 1980s. These trees became popular in Bangladesh, mainly due to the price and fast growth of timber. The ordinary people of the village also plant trees on their land. These trees are given priority in various programs, including social forestry on both sides of the road.
Similarly, commercial fish farming in ponds in Bangladesh became popular in the nineties. At this time, Bighead carp of China, Grass Carp, African Catfish, and Thai Koi were brought to the country. However, due to its aggressive nature, African Catfish’s commercial cultivation has been banned in Bangladesh. However, the research team thinks that these have been mixed with other local fish in Bangladesh.
However, Farid Uddin Ahmed, Executive Director of Aranyak Foundation, a Non-Governmental Nature Organization, said to Prothom Alo that most of the fruits popular with Bangladesh people come from abroad. However, he said it was not right to have any foreign species of trees in Bangladesh’s natural forests, adding, ‘There is nothing to prevent anyone from planting foreign trees commercially on their own land. However, we need to have a full survey on all the incursive species of plants in Bangladesh. We need to evaluate how much they are good or bad for the environment. ‘
Asper study of 69 incursive species of plants and animals in Bangladesh, 51 percent are deadly incursive. Species that are at risk of being 36 percent aggressive and 9 percent aggressive. Of these, 28 species have been imported from North America, 17 species from other Asian countries, 9 species from Africa, and 7 species from Australia. Of these, 38 species of trees came before independence.
Asked about this, Chief Forest Conservator Amir Hossain Chowdhury told Prothom Alo, “The Department of Forest has planted trees in 17,000 hectares of land in the last two years. Its entirely a native species of tree. A comprehensive survey of any foreign incursive species affecting native species of trees in Bangladesh has been initiated by the Department of Forest and Bangladesh National Herbarium. Once that is done, we will be able to make a clear decision about these trees. “
According to the study, if these incursive species of trees and animals are not controlled, the native species will gradually become extinct. Bangladesh has signed the UN Convention on Biodiversity. Where stated, native and indigenous species must be protected. Conservation of native species has also been given importance in meeting sustainable development goals.
Source: Prothom Alo