The plural realities of plant invasions in India: A review of impacts to wellbeing

Ramya Ravi, Ankila J. Hiremath

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The ecological impacts of invasive alien species are well known, as are the large-scale economic losses caused by these species. Less well known are the impacts of these species on human wellbeing. In developing countries, like India, where a large proportion of the population is rural and intricately dependent on natural resources for its sustenance, the impacts of invasive species on people's wellbeing are likely to be as important as their ecological impacts. In this paper, we undertake a qualitative review of the literature on impacts of invasive alien species, specifically plants, on human wellbeing in India. Our results show that impacts are diverse across various aspects of wellbeing and are both positive or negative based on local contexts. This plurality is indicative of the need for a more nuanced approach to impact analysis and stakeholder mapping. We use constituents of human wellbeing as outlined in the Socioeconomic Impact Classification for Alien Taxa (SEICAT) and the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework (SLF) to analyze invasive plant impacts, identify knowledge gaps, and discuss recommendations for future research on impacts of invasive species. Although the widespread natural resource dependency among rural, tribal, and other marginalized communities of India gives biological invasions a socioeconomic dimension (due to impacts of invasion on these resources), the human and social dimensions of species invasions have been neglected compared to their ecological dimension. We suggest that understanding the pluralities of wellbeing circumstances with invasive species could help improve policies for management of invasive species in India.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101003
JournalEnvironmental Development
Publication statusPublished - 09-2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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