The conservation team at Banyan Tree has been going mercilessly at the terribly invasive water hyacinths which are sometimes even known as the World’s Worst Water Weed. From morning till afternoon the team undergoes endless grappling, tugging and shoving at these invasive plants into large bin bags. Despite the large beads of sweat on our foreheads and the mud and dirt staining our shirts, we are proud to boast our efforts in tackling and conquering a record of 80 bags of water hyacinths out of the pond. Certainly, the journey of eradicating these water hyacinths has only just begun. With a group of simply three of our staff and one honored volunteer; Paul Starkey, we take on this challenge once every week (Usually on Thursdays).
Water hyacinth mats are capable of attaining incredibly high plant density and biomass. A single hectare (10000 meter square) can contain more than 360 metric tons (360000Kg) of plant biomass! Water hyacinths are considered an exasperating weed in over 50 countries. They cause several problems including;
- The increase of evapotranspiration well above that of open water (often over 3 times “open pan” evaporation) thus causing significant water loss in the pond/ wetland.
-The formation of dense floating mats that cover large areas of water surface - thus excluding light, and air. This then affects animals (including fish) and plants that live and grow below the water surface; the area of a water hyacinth mat can double over several days when conditions of water and temperature are optimal.
-The serious mechanical impacts on river flows caused by the dense mats of biomass; thus in turn affecting the circulation of water, nutrients and gases such as oxygen.