RAPID DISPOSAL OF THE WEED LANTANA (LANTANA CAMARA) IN THE ENVIRONMENT WITH CONTROLLED USE OF TERMITESGurjeet Kaur, S. Gajalakshmi and S.A. Abbasi
Lantana (Lantana camara), a rapid-growing perennial woody shrub, is one of worldâs most invasive species. Due to its aggressive colonization of landmass, aided by its allelopathic effort, the weed causes great harm to soil health and biodiversity. Due to its prolific growth and wide adaptability it has overrun large areas in the tropics and sub-tropics, and has developed into a serious nuisance. Despite persistent attempts to destroy it by chemical and biological means, it has not been possible to retard its spread, let alone prevent it. The present paper reports a new process based on controlled use of termites for the disposal of lantana â in other words disposal in a way that enables full assimilation of the weed into the environment in an ecologically benign manner. For it, the process of âtermigradationâ (termite-mediated biodegradation), and the associated reactors (âtermireactorsâ), developed recently by us, were utilized. In the in-situ termireactors of upto 50 Kg capacity; more than 50% of lantana waste termigraded within 60 days which is a much faster rate than achieved by composting or vermicomposting. Use of trails further speeded up the process as also provided a means of process control.