In an ambitious move, NatureLife Cambodia has launched an invasive species control project at the Stung Sen Ramsar site.

The project focuses on curbing the harmful impact of Mimosa pigra, an invasive alien plant, on Cambodia's biodiversity.

In a July 20 social media post, the conservation organisation shed light on the widespread issue of Mimosa pigra. This thorny shrub, originating from tropical South and Central America, has now invaded ecosystems throughout the tropics.

Mimosa pigra has reportedly made it onto the list of the world's 100 worst invasive species.

The shrub grows into dense, thorny, impenetrable thickets, causing significant disruptions, particularly in wet areas.

It poses a severe threat to the balance of local ecosystems and affects the livelihood of local communities.

Able to grow up to 6m tall, Mimosa pigra thrives in a wide variety of soil types and survives on low nutrient levels.

It has successfully colonised wetland areas, lakes, river edges, canals, ponds and floodplains across Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia.

The destructive impact of this invasive species on native biodiversity, habitats and people's livelihoods cannot be overstated, conservationists said.

Its detrimental effects are evident in the Stung Sen Ramsar site, part of the core areas of the Tonle Sap Lake Biosphere Reserve.

To counter this, NatureLife Cambodia, with the financial support of Nagao Wetland Fund (NWF) -- which is administered by the Convention on Wetlands -- has commenced a pilot study.

The research explores the possibility of controlling Mimosa pigra through flooding, a strategy that has yielded successful outcomes at Boeung Prek L'pov Protected Landscape in Takeo province.

In early July, NatureLife Cambodia organised an enlightening workshop titled "The Impact of Invasive Species and Control", bringing together 44 participants including rangers from the Stung Sen Ramsar site, villagers from Phat Sanday commune, ECO Club members of Phat Sanday floating school, and representatives from Toul Neang Sav Plov Loung Community Protected Area.

The workshop aimed to impart knowledge about the destructive influence of invasive species and discussing control measures.

The participants committed to joining control and monitoring activities on a 50ha area in early August, coinciding with the rise of water levels, a crucial component of the flooding control strategy.