Scientists call for action to tackle the threat of invasive tree species to a global biodiversity hotspot

Scientists call for action to tackle an invasive tree species.

Scientists call for action to tackle the threat of invasive tree species to a global biodiversity hotspot
Fruit of the mock orange tree, containing the seeds that are widely dispersed by native bird species Image- credit John Healey

An invasive Australian tree is now posing a serious threat to a global diversity ‘hotspot’ according to new collaborative research between Landcare Research in New Zealand, the Universities of Cambridge (UK) Denver (US) and Bangor University (UK).

This species, Pittosporum undulatum, referred to locally as mock orange, was acquainted with a botanic garden in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica in the late nineteenth century. As its nearby name proposes, this quickly developing, gleaming leaved tree has a splendid orange natural product which opens to uncover little, sticky, sugary-covered seeds.

These are generally scattered by local Jamaican winged animal species and it has been attacking new territories at a high rate. At, to begin with, the species assumed control arrive relinquished from the development of espresso and tree crops, however more as of late, it has ventured into the common woods of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. This intrusion was quickened by the harm caused to the woodlands by Hurricane Gilbert 29 years prior, and it is probably going to be additionally best in a class by future real typhoons.

The National Park is an all-around vital hotspot of biodiversity with numerous uncommon and imperiled species, including orchids, butterflies and winged creatures, some of which are discovered no place else on the planet aside from the mountain timberlands of Jamaica.

Concentrate these forests over a time of 40 years, the specialists found a proceeding with increment in the wealth of the intrusive Pittosporum, so it now represents over 10% of all tree stems.

John Healey, Professor of Forest Sciences at Bangor University, explained, “Over the past 24 years the severity of this invasion was associated with a decline in the diversity of invasive tree species, including those species that are found only in Jamaica, which are the highest conservation priority. The ‘mock orange’ outpaces the growth of most native trees, and its dense foliage casts a dark shade over their seedlings severely restricting their regeneration.”

This examination gives great proof to foreseeing that the danger postured to the all-around essential biodiversity of the Jamaican Blue Mountains will just increment, particularly after the following tropical storm genuinely disturbs the overhang of the characteristic backwoods.

One gathering of debilitated plant species are the “bromeliads”, which develop on the stems of local trees yet can’t develop on the smooth bark of the mock orange. They have a water-filled empty in the focal point of their rosette of leaves, a tank which is home to bugs that give a vital nourishment source to the jeopardized Jamaican blackbird, the most extremely undermined feathered creature species in the Blue Mountains.

On the off chance that actualized now, dynamic protection measures could deflect this worldwide biodiversity fiasco, both in Jamaica and in the numerous other worldwide biodiversity hotspots that are undermined by intrusive species. Be that as it may, they are kept down by an absence of accessible assets.

Lead researcher Peter Bellingham issued the following plea: “Given the strength of our evidence of the serious consequences of this invasion for biodiversity, we urge the relevant institutions in Jamaica, and international funding bodies, to prioritize a programme of control of this species. We are sure that active intervention at this stage would be very cost effective, reducing the much greater costs of trying to restore the native forests if the invasion is allowed to spread further.”

These results are reported in a paper published in the international journal Biological Conservation.