Today (September 4) is the annual "National Mikania Vine Prevention and Control Day." The Forest District Offices under the Forestry Bureau, together with local government agencies, NGOs, communities, and private enterprises, held nine promotion sessions on Mikania vine prevention and control and invited the public to participate in Mikania vine prevention and eradication activities. A total of 1,108 people participated in the campaign and removed 3,868 kilograms of vine plants, showing their determination to protect the local ecosystem of Taiwan together.
The Forestry Bureau said that the government invests a lot of funds and manpower every year to prevent and control the foreign invasive plant, Mikania vine (Mikania micrantha). According to the monitoring survey data taken at the end of 2020 by the Endemic Species Research Institute (ESRI) of the Council of Agriculture, Executive Yuan, the distribution area of Mikania vine in Taiwan has been reduced from 51,852 hectares in 2001 to 4,393.7 hectares; in addition, the area of growth has been significantly suppressed, which shows that the prevention and eradication efforts have been effective. However, the Mikania vine is a strong plant that grows and proliferates very quickly, and continuous control is still needed to prevent overgrowth from happening again.
However, this "habitat killer" can also be used in a variety of ways. Through the research and development of academic units and industrial organizations commissioned by the Forestry Bureau, the removed or acquired Mikania vine plants can be used to produce eco-friendly enzymes that can be added to various household cleaning products. In addition, it can also be used as a natural plant dye, which can be applied to make scarves or ornaments with unique patterns. Mikania vine can also be heated and refined to make mosquito repellent spray, soil improvement agent, and for plant pest control. Charcoal made from Mikania vine can be combined with natural materials to produce Mikania vine charcoal incense and charcoal soap, which also have environmental purification and mosquito repellent effects. Therefore, vine removal not only protects the ecosystem, but also brings added value that benefits people's quality of life.
Lin Hwa-Ching, Director General of the Forestry Bureau, said that the Bureau has continued to strengthen the prevention and control measures of invasive exotic plants such as the Mikania vine in recent years, with each Forest District Office actively setting up regional work platforms to promote the prevention and removal of invasive exotic plants. The Forest District Offices take the initiative to invite relevant government agencies, civil organizations, tribal communities, and schools at all levels to participate in the control of invasive exotic plant species and to confirm the control strategies and objectives. They are also responsible for communicating and coordinating matters related to prevention and eradication, as well as tracking the progress of implementation in order to effectively stop the spread of exotic invasive plants and related hazards. The enthusiastic response from the communities, and even their own creative actions, have led to significant control results.
During the National Mikania Vine Prevention and Control Month (August 15 to September 15, 2021), the public can get information about the relevant activities through the Forestry Bureau's official website and the "Forestry Bureau - TW Forest" Facebook fan page, or contact the Forest District Offices and workstations of each forest district. Let us all work together to remove the vines and to maintain the biodiversity and habitats of the native plants and trees in Taiwan.