Chromolaena clearing project in Hluhluwe game reserve
Why clear invasive plants?
Chromolaena poses the greatest threat to the biodiversity of the park, growing quickly and reaching maturity in a year. It forms dense thickets and is able to grow up and over indigenous plants of Hluhluwe game reserve and it also needs more water than indigenous plants. None of the herbivores feed on it, so it has no natural enemies and eventually it takes over.
Another name for Chromolaena is “paraffin” weed as it has a lot of oils in it, so it’s very flammable and this extra heat from a veld fire often kills the indigenes plants around it. One plant can produce over a 1000 seeds and are transported by wind, cars and animals It is cut by hand by groups of labourers using bush knives. Once it’s cut, the root is poisoned by a environmentally friendly poison.
The one positive side of this problem is it does create jobs for the people that live close to the borders of the park.