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Can We Enhance Biodiversity in Africa?

Every living organism within an ecosystem or habitat, including numbers and diversity of species and all environmental aspects such as temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide levels, and climate, can be referred to as biodiversity. It can be measured globally or in smaller environs (e.g., ponds). Biodiversity is crucial because, without it, the health of the planet would be at risk. Every specie has a role to play, though some, like viruses and disease-carrying mosquitoes, are deemed damaging to human wellbeing and other organisms.

A healthy ecosystem has a rich level of biodiversity. The less inhabitable an ecosystem is, the less life it can support. In other terrestrial, aquatic, or marine mediums, a lack of biodiversity of plant life (producers) implies the restriction to the numbers of consumers. From the ground level, biodiversity boosts soil formation, nutrient storage, energy storage, recycling, etc. If a natural disaster occurs, rich biodiversity will speed the recovery of the environment. Biodiversity also has a role to play in ecosystem stability and global climate.

However, there are threats to biodiversity, including human activities that could lead to loss of habitat; deforestation; desertification; degradation of the aquatic environment; increasing wildlife trade; climate change, over-exploitation of species; air and water pollution, and so on.

Biodiversity goes beyond the variety of plants and animals on earth but entails the local ecosystems and enabling healthy conditions for organisms to grow. Can we enhance biodiversity? Yes. As inhabitants, there is a lot we can do to enhance and conserve local biodiversity at home, which will be stated in 10 simple ways below.

How to Enhance Biodiversity

  1. Help the bees: Bees pollinate nearly 90% of plant species, and they contribute to more than 35% of the world’s food supply, but they are under threat from varroa mites. Bees are significant in the conservation of biodiversity. Plant scientists are developing cutting-edge crop protection products to aid farmers in controlling the mites and protect precious bee populations. Planting nectar-producing wildflowers in backyards or even building bee boxes for local bees to call home will help save these bees.
  2. Plant local flowers, fruit, and vegetables: Grow a variety of local plants and vegetables to your area after research has been carried out — each plant and vegetable aids in enhancing biodiversity, thereby supporting the broader ecosystem of your local area. To help in this, assist local nurseries that specialize in native species. Nurseries can be ample sources of information about plant care and maintenance.
  3. Protect natural habitats: Human impacts on the earth, if negative, usually have a destructive impact on biodiversity. In protecting natural habitats, small steps should be taken, like adhering to walking paths and not stepping through flowers or crops, as it can help guard what is growing there. These plants play a vital role in preserving the local ecosystem.
  4. Take a walk: Climate change can have ravaging effects on biodiversity. You reduce your carbon footprint by walking or taking the bus instead of going by a fuel-powered vehicle. Plant scientists are working daily to thwart climate change. For example, the use of less fuel reduces the emission of greenhouse gases.
  5. Conserve your water: Freshwater bodies are essential to biodiversity. The amount of water you use should be controlled. Taking five-minute showers, turning the water off while washing your hands, doing the dishes, or brushing your teeth are all easy ways to protect vital wetlands. Plant scientists are also developing crop varieties that use less water as biodiversity depends on the abundance of freshwater.
  6. Reduce, reuse and recycle: Recycling abates pollution by decreasing energy, electricity, and water consumption and the need for landfills. Not only can you recycle bottles and cans, clothes, electrical goods, batteries can also be recycled. In the last thirteen years, programs worldwide have collected and recycled almost 800,000 metric tons of empty pesticide containers and agricultural plastics.
  7. Support farmers: Farmers play a major role in conserving biodiversity. The help of biotechnology and plant science can make farmers grow more food on the same portion of land. This takes the tension off the need to transform natural habitats into farmland. Regularly buying from small local farmers at stands or markets encourages them, which in turn conserves biodiversity.
  8. Buy local foods when you can: When farmers at a farmers’ market are patronized, it gives you the ability to find out how your food was grown and learn what they are doing on the farm to help conserve biodiversity. The products you buy and the companies you support should be checked to ensure that your buying habits do not damage a habitat elsewhere. Labels such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Rainforest Alliance Certified are organizations committed to conserving the Earth’s resources and advocating for the human rights of the native peoples who inhabit the land where many products are derived.
  9. Visit your local botanical garden: Botanical gardens are great for biodiversity conservation. This is because Scientists can store, study and grow plants in their native habitats. Visiting and donating to your local botanical garden will help them in continuing biodiversity conservation.
  10. Educate yourself and those around you: Public awareness should be increased by educating people about the importance of biodiversity conservation, just like what REES AFRICA does as an organization. When public awareness increase, people become more involved in caring about their environment as they get enlightened and understand the importance of conserving their natural habitat, thereby enhancing biodiversity.

In conclusion, biodiversity provides the foundation for ecosystem services necessary to sustain life on this planet. Humans should avoid taking more from the atmosphere than can be replenished by natural systems and avoid encroaching upon nature by destroying the habitat of other species.

Author: Gift Ifokwe

Photo: syngentaprofessionalproducts.com

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