Managing lantana camara to improve elephant habitat
Lantana camara, an exotic weed has invaded large stretches of prime elephant habitat in southern India. Despite the best efforts of government and conservation agencies, lantana continues to pose a significant threat to native flora and fauna. This project aims to explore radical new approaches to understand the spread of this weed and to research options for repurposing lantana to benefit local communities. Supported by The Elephant Family, UK, the project aims to work in select sites in southern India (Mudumalai, Bandipur, Sathyamangalam) to collaboratively map lantana presence with the Forest Department, to develop a self-financing lantana removal programme, and to research options for long-term restoration of removal sites. It is hoped that this project will contribute to better biodiversity outcomes including that of elephant conservation, as well as open avenues for livelihood generation for local communities living in this landscape.