Eradicate White Popinac, the Green Exotic Plants
The Taijiang National Park is located along the coast of southwest Taiwan. Its north border is the northernmost point of the Qigu lagoon and its south border is at the bank of the Yanshui River, over 30 kms in distance. The wetlands along the coast and the offshore area are the most valuable habitats in Taiwan and the beginning of pioneering efforts. Wetland plants can grow in the infertile coastal terrain because their persistence and structure are different from typical plants.
The white popinac is a dominant exotic plant. It belongs to the leucaena genus in the leguminosea family. The white popinac grows very fast, 70 to 80 cm in one to two years. Each plant produces 10 to 20 thousand seeds. The studies discovered that white popinac contains mimosine, an allelopathic chemical. White popinac emits mimosine to the surrounding habitat. Native plants usually can’t resist the toxic invasion. Their growth is repressed and they wither and die. As the result, white popinac often expand to a large area quickly.
Historical materials indicated that the Spanish carried white popinac to Philippines and Indonesia from the Central America in the 16th century. Eventually the Dutch carried white popinac to Taiwan. Back in the agricultural era in Taiwan, the white popinac was a great fuel wood resource for people because of its rapid growth. Therefore, the population of white popinac was constrained. However, people nowadays don't burn wood for fuel. Thus, the white popinac spreads everywhere and impedes the growth of native plants.
Eradication of the white popinac is mostly performed by manual cutting, potions and animals. Manual cutting is practiced the most. The environment and soil along the 7 to 8 km lagoon dike in Qigu is great for plant growth. The white popinac has spread over the entire area. The Taijiang National Park Headquarters eradicates the white popinac nonstop every year. The surrounding native seashore plants can thus be recovered and can grow continuously.
Plantations at the lagoon dike in Qigu primarily focus on the manual planting of linden hibiscus, growing tilted because of the strong northeast monsoon and creating a unique coastal view. Eradication of white popinac allows native climbers to grow, such as seaside jack-bean, notched cowpea, Ipomoea pes-caprae, lineate jackbeans, morning glories and Ipomoea biflora. Flowers facing the sun like bells are very beautiful. The plain grass grows persistently, including eleusine indica, Egyptian crowfoot grass, southern sandbur and torpedo grass, forming a path like a green carpet. The dike is filled with green color and people feel happy because it is like entering a sacred land.
The coastal area is infertile and suffers from adverse weather conditions. It's difficult for plants to thrive. Coastal wetland plants must evolve nonstop to survive, ensuring eternal flourishing of generations. They’re like the coastal locals, trying to make ends meet in this barren wetland.