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According to Yuval Noah Harari in his discussion about ecology, it is estimated that there are 300 million tons of humans in the world and only 100 million tons of surviving wild animals. It is a known statement that the threat to planet Earth’s biodiversity is Homo sapiens. This being said, we are also an instrument to improve what has been neglected, such as degradation for instance.
Degradation of the environment, in this case, refers to the process of it becoming damaged due to factors such as pollution or industrial interferences for example. But first, let’s start at grass levels…there are many grass species that has been sowed at strategic positions to stop one of the major threats to biodiversity, erosion! These pioneer grasses stabilise the soil and prevent all the precious earth from being washed away, similar to that of a dam wall.
On the topic of water, there was a challenge on the Selati Reserve a long-time age where watering holes were placed incorrectly during the cattle farm ‘boom era’. The consequence of these misplaced waterholes resulted in a drastic reduction of grass cover which caused a lack of hiding space for Sable antelope calves and hence high mortality. The ripple effect is not always evident in the beginning but fortunately, Selati has rectified this problem and the Sable numbers are increasing.
Another major concern for biodiversity is alien plants, specifically Opuntia aka Prickly Pears from Mexico. They were more than likely grown for their fruit at one stage but their spread has intensified due to birds spreading their seeds all over Selati. Selati is controlling their numbers using various methods but the most effective method would be a biological control age called cochineal a little bug that feeds exclusively off Opuntia on Selati reserve.
To conclude, Mark Collins (UNEP Director) said, “the diversity of life is the defining feature of planet Earth and it is important to remember that everything we have achieved has its origins in living animals, plants and the communities and ecosystems of which we as humans are part of.”
We from the EcoTraining Selati camp hope you enjoyed this article and if you have any questions about this blog, let us know on [email protected]. If you would like to hear about any of our courses held here in Selati, contact [email protected]. We would love to have you join us and on this, we wish you a Happy Biodiversity Day to all!