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Prosopis chilensis

2023 APR 5

Preliminary   > Environment and Ecology   >   Biodiversity   >   Species in news

Why in news?

  • According to an avian distribution study, Prosopis chilensis, an alien invasive plant is threatening to pulverize native vegetation across 21 islands in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve (GoMBR).

More about the News:

  • The study found the Prosopis chilensis in will:
    • Slowly kill the native trees
    • Cause irreparable damage to the mangroves
    • Create indiscriminate destruction of marine life.
  • The study could not find any major studies on the invasiveness of this species or how it came to India.

About Prosopis chilensis:

  • Prosopis chilensis is a drought-resistant plant native to the arid regions of four South American countries such as Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru.
  • It is a small to medium-sized legume tree that grows up to 12 m in height and 1 m in diameter.
  • It is also known as Chilean mesquite.

Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve:

  • This Biosphere Reserve encompasses a chain of 21 islands (2 islands already submerged) and adjoining coral reefs off the coasts of the Ramanathapuram and the Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is India’s first marine biosphere reserve. It is also the first maritime biosphere reserve in South and South East Asia.
  • It is one of the important habitats for coastal birds migrating as far as the Arctic Circle. The 21 islands also serve as resting places for birds migrating to and from the nearby Sri Lankan islands.
  • Gulf of Mannar region in Tamil Nadu is one of the four major coral reef areas.
    • The others are the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, Lakhsadweep and Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Add ons:

  • Prosopis juliflor is another invasive species found in the Deccan Plateau, specifically Tamil Nadu.
  • It was introduced by the British in 1877 to green the arid tracts.


Why is a plant called ‘Prosopis chilensis’often mentioned in the news?

(a) Its extract is widely used in cosmetics.

(b) It tends to reduce the biodiversity in the area in which it grows.

(c) Its extract is used in the synthesis of pesticides.

(d) None of the above