Restoration & Biodiversity
More than 50% of the forest area in Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary was highly infested with lantana weed. Lantana camara is one of the most common and worst weed which is perhaps the most obnoxious in the Shivalik hills and the forests around Chandigarh city. It was posing a serious threat to the ‘Biodiversity’ of our forests. It is a very hardy weed and grows fast in comparison to the indigenous plant species in wildlife sanctuary and other forest area. Wild growth of lantana had choked all natural regeneration in the forests and thus had adverse impact on the biodiversity of wildlife sanctuary. Lantana eliminates all kind of undergrowth and damages the trees also.
Considering the adverse impact of ‘Lantana’ on the ecology of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary and other forest area, Forest Department of Chandigarh Administration had chalked out a 7 year's schedule in March, 2001 to make sanctuary & other forests of U.T. Chandigarh free from ‘Lantana’. By 2008-09, the entire Wildlife Sanctuary and other forest area have already been freed from lantana. This is a unique example of the eradication of Lantana from forests. The department has ensured that lantana does not appear again on the site already cleared of it. This has been a very successful project and good results are visible on the ground. The regeneration of indigenous species like Bansa, Ratti, Karipatta, Giloe, Karaunda and other tree species is appreciable. For the last four years, there has been good flowering and fruiting in trees like Ber, Dhak (Palas), Karaunda etc. Good grazing grounds for wildlife have also been developed after removal of lantana and thus, there is overall improvement in the wildlife habitat of the sanctuary. Lantana removal has thus proved to be a great boon to the restoration of floral and faunal biodiversity of Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary. ‘Forest fire’ threat to the forests has also been reduced due to removal of lantana.