INVASIVE ALIEN SPECIES OF POTOHAR PLATEAU, NORTHERN PAKISTAN
Keywords:alien plants, invasive flora, Northern Pakistan, Potohar plateau, Islamabad
The present research work is based on the identification of Invasive Alien Plant Species (IAPS) distributed in Potohar Plateau, which are threat to indigenous flora. To confirm the invasive and alien status of these species, we investigated the flora of Potohar plateau. The target population sampling method was used for the collection and listing of IAPS present in all districts of Potohar Region. Invasion status of IAPS was recorded from wastelands, roadsides, crop fields, banks of canals, mismanaged gardens and housing colonies. Our results revealed that Broussonetia papyrifera Vent., Cannabis sativa L., Eucalyptus camaldulensis Dehnh., Lantana camara L., and Parthenium hysterophorus L. are highly invasive species. Whereas seventeen IAPS were found in naturalized, ten recently escaped from controlled cultivation, three were newly introduced while fifteen grown casually in the study area. The common life form of IAPS was herbs and are used for medicinal and ornamental purposes. These species have invaded maximum area to obstruct the distribution of native flora including medicinal and economically important plants, which are now found in patches. We tend to use eradication methods to control further replacement of indigenous vegetation. This study suggests that the Government of Pakistan should take possible steps to prevent natural habitat of local flora and make separate zones for IAPS. The present study will help the researchers and policymakers to control invasion and alien species.