Zimbabwe Fights Back Against Invasive Species

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Photo credit: ferdinandareus

Zimbabwe is mad as hell, and it's not going to take it anymore. From exotic plants, in any case. Andrew Langa, Zimbabwe's environmental and tourism deputy minister is calling for a full-scale attack on invasive species that are threatening the nation's vegetation and biodiversity, which are crucial to mitigating the effects of climate change.

"Zimbabwe is under attack from a variety of this type of species and I would like to call upon environmental stakeholders, the media included, to focus on awareness raising as well as eradication of these species in order to save biodiversity," he said in a press conference on Thursday.Langa noted that Victoria Falls, one of the nation's most popular tourist destinations, has been annexed by more than three varieties of invasive plants, including Lantana camara, an exotic shrub, poisonous to cattle, that is spread by its leaves, seeds, stem, and root.

"Birds and wind also accelerate the rate at which it spreads," said Barnabas Mawire, an official from Environment Africa. The most effective way to nip its spreading in the bud, so to speak, is to uproot the plant and burn it.

A Clean Up Zimbabwe campaign was held at Victoria Falls on Saturday to raise awareness of the species—which entered the country as a flower and later invaded the ecosystem—as well as to educate locals on how to identify and squash out invasive species. ::allAfrica.com

Tags: Africa | Biodiversity

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