Protecting threatened Over-seas biodiversity

Ways of replacing Acacia mangium

28th June 2019 the GEPOG teams met in the DEAL (Direction de l’Environnement de l’Aménagement et du Logement – “Office for the Environment, Planning and Housing”) offices in order to acquire information that would help in selecting native species of plants that could replace the invasive non-native Acacia mangium, targeted for eradication action in the framework of the life BIODIV’OM program.

Invasive non-native Acacia mangium © Anna STIER

The Black Wattle Acacia mangium

The Black Wattle Acacia mangium, originally from Australia, Indonesia and Papua and New Guinea was introduced in the 1980s in order to revegetate mining sites. Due to its rapid growth and capacity to transform the soil’s characteristics the species is a threat to the savannah habitat and open habitats in general due to its capacity to invade the habitat. Also, its ground litter decomposes slowly and impeaches the growth of indigenous species.

At present it is one of the most problematic invasive non-native species in French Guiana.

Present uses

For many years Acacia mangium has been used to increase soil fertility, provide shade around private homes and form hedges. Its capacity to grow on poor, acidic, flooded soils has encouraged its use. At present it is also used by locals to produce firewood and for building, for protection against wind or the sun, screening for privacy, restoration of degraded areas, animal fodder and as paper pulp. Given that various actions are taken by local people to control the species one of the Life BIODIV’OM actions is the identification of local species that can replace Acacia mangium for the same uses.

Meeting participants.

During the meeting, various participants allowed for a rich exchange of ideas, these included the DEAL  representatives, botanists from the Conseil Scientifique Régional du Patrimoine Naturel (CSRPN) “ Regional Natural Heritage Scientific Council”, the ONF “Forestry Commission”, the association SEPANGUY as well as members of the Chamber of Agriculture, representatives from Rémire-Montjoly and Matoury councils, from the Parc Naturel Régional (PNGR), the Mixed Discipline Research Unit EcoFoG as well as an independent landscape architect.

During the two-hour meeting an initial list of 18 species was proposed.