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September 2013

Biodiversity is the all-encompassing term to describe the variety of all life on Earth. Continued loss of biodiversity is resulting in a rapid decline of the Earth’s natural wealth and in natural ecosystems. Agricultural production will dramatically decrease if the bacteria and fungi which make soil fertile and breakdown wastes disappear. The same will happen if insects, bats and birds, which ensure flower pollination continue to decline. We are losing both the beauty and richness of our natural environment as well as destabilising the very ecological processes on which we depend. There will be no life on Earth without biodiversity.

The above statements are quoted from an article by Dr John Ledger, editor of the excellent quarterly magazine “Environment” in its inaugural issue published in spring 2009. This magazine brought together a consortium of seven conservation bodies, including the Wildlife and Environment Society of SA (WESSA) and the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT),bodies committed to care for the planet and all the habitats, ecosystems and species (including people) that make up the living earth.

Further facts and figures quoted in the magazine revealed that:
The abundance of species (including mammals, amphibians, birds, fish, corals, mangrove and primary forests) declined by 40% or more between 1970 and 2000.
99% of threatened species are at risk from human activities
Habitat loss and degradation are the leading threats affecting 85% of all threatened birds, mammals and amphibians.

Further threats are:
The introduction of alien species (either deliberately or unintentionally).
Over exploitation: Resource extraction, hunting and fishing for food, removal from natural environments of fauna and flora for pets and the medical field, threatens many species.
Pollution and diseases.
Human induced climate change.

In future articles we will suggest ways in which each one of us can make a contribution towards reversing these threats to the biodiversity of the wonderful region in which we live.


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January 2014

After Indonesia and Brazil, South Africa is the third-most biologically diverse country in the world. Occupying only 1% of the world’s terrestrial land area it is home to...

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December 2013

Since 2013 marks the 100th anniversary of Biological Control of IAP’s in South Africa, it is appropriate that we take a closer look at this programme in this, the last issue of 2013.

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November 2013

This month, we describe the first two alien invaders that are currently quite evident in our area as they are early spring bloomers

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October 2013

One of the prime causes of habitat degradation - namely the introduction of alien plant species.

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September 2013

Biodiversity is the all-encompassing term to describe the variety of all life on Earth.

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February 2014

This month, we revert to our series on Alien Invader Plants (AIP’s) and how to identify and eradicate them.

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March 2014

As promised last month, our next “candidate” is the notorious weed Lantana camara.

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