Why our Plants are Worth Protecting
Biodiversity plays a mission critical role in our environment. Plants in particular, are so much more than the beautifiers of our environment. Some of the vital benefits we all get from plants include air purification, water purification, protection from floods, soil protection and so many more benefits that include things like peoples livelihoods that are linked to plants and the health benefits we derive due to many medicines we use being developed from plants.
In addition to the essential part of a healthy and functional ecosystem that plant species plays, here in Namibia we have added reasons to join the cause for our plants. That reason is that in Namibia we have unique plant species that are found nowhere else in the world.
In fact, in Namibia we have over 4,300 plant species and out of these almost 17% (which works out to over 700 plants) are endemic to Namibia meaning they don’t grow anywhere else in the world.
While this fact is something worth celebrating, many plant species are threatened by habitat loss and in Namibia at least 23 species are threatened with extinction. This is due to many factors but one is because of invasive alien plant species. This is not unique to Namibia. Many countries around the world are battling invasive alien plant species. Take a look at this MYD Earth article on Invasive Cacti and what despair species like this cause for an ecosystem by clicking here : Invasive Plants Causing Despair in Namibia
For a species to become invasive, it must successfully out-compete native organisms for food and habitat, spread through its new environment, increase its population and harm ecosystems in its introduced range. Another factor to consider is that invasive aliens and especially exotic plants use more water than indigenous plants do. This is an additional problem in a water scarce country like Namibia.
However institutions like the Botanical Society of Namibia and concerned citizens are working to tackle the problem of invasive aliens locally. You can get in touch with the Botanical Society of Namibia to support them or learn more about our beautiful and unique Namibian plant species vie their website here : Botanical Society of Namibia
99FM’s MYD Earth sat down with Chairlady of the Botanical Society of Namibia, Diana Thompson, to talk about Namibian plants, their uniqueness and why invasive alien plants are a problem for our ecosystem.
Take a listen to the MYD Earth show, with Diana Thompson, here :