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2010-10-12
Taroko National Park mobilizes against mile-a minute weed and calls on the public to join the fight against invasive species

Taroko National Park mobilizes against mile-a minute weed and calls on the public to join the fight against invasive speciesTo prevent the spread of Mikania micrantha (mile-a minute weed), Taroko National Park Headquarters’ Suhua Service Station chose the Oct-2-3 national holiday, a time before the plant flowers, to mobilize its staff, cleaners and 12 volunteers to carry out Mikania micrantha clearance work on forest land at the mouth of Shakadang River and near the Gorge Bridge (Xiagu Bridge) and on aborigine reservation land. Around 0.5 hectares of land was cleared, Mikania micrantha weighing a whopping 1000 kg was cleared, an excellent result that comforted park staff and volunteers by showing that their hard work was not in vain.

In recent years, Mikania micrantha, known as the “ecological killer” and “green cancer,” has quickly established a presence in low elevation areas in Taroko National Park and has begun to spread to higher elevations. When it was first discovered the park headquarters acted decisively to prevent an ecological catastrophe taking place and has continually carried out Mikania micrantha removal work over several years, while also strengthening information work directed at local residents and visitors to increase their awareness of the threat posed by invasive species. The success of these efforts has, however, been limited so clearing Mikania micrantha remains one of the park headquarters’ important long-term conservation tasks.

Mikania micrantha is an invasive plant of the genus Mikania (Compositae family,) a perennial vine that is native to Central and South America. It blooms in Taiwan from October to February every year, producing a large number of seeds that are light and spread by the wind, animals, insects or by human activity. Also, each stem node can grow a new shoot and root an adventitious roots grow from between nodes, making the plant a prolific reproducer that grows very quickly. Overseas the plant is actually known as mile-a minute weed for the speed it grows.

Taroko National Park Headquarters calls on the public to attach importance to the impact of invasive species on the natural environment and make an effort to prevent Taiwan being hit by an ecological catastrophe.

News issued by: Taroko National Park Headquarters

Translated by: Kevin Lax


 
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