Disrupting Plants

On the earth, there are various ecosystems where diverse organisms coexist, maintaining relationships with each other to survive on our planet. These organisms affect each other’s lives and help maintain balance within their respective ecosystems. Collectively, we refer to the richness of all species surviving on the earth, the variety of ecosystems they inhabit, and the diversity of genes they possess as biodiversity.

The renowned British zoologist Jane Goodall likened biodiversity to a spider’s web, often referred to as the “web of life.” Just as the entire balance of a spider’s web collapses if even one or two strands break, the gradual disappearance of plant and animal species disrupts the delicate “web of life,” ultimately causing the balance of the earth’s ecosystems to falter and threatening our safety.

Unfortunately, biodiversity is currently under threat due to various human-related factors such as deforestation, pollution, global warming, habitat destruction, and the introduction of invasive species. Therefore, preserving biodiversity has become a top priority to ensure environmental sustainability and secure the future of our planet.

According to an Invasive Alien Species Report 2023 supported by the United Nations, alien species contribute to 60% of plant and animal extinctions, and it is estimated that more than 3,500 harmful invasive species worldwide cost society over 423 billion USD annually. The invasion of alien species is recognized as one of the five major direct drivers of global biodiversity loss, a problem exacerbated by the expansion of human and material exchanges between countries due to globalization and trade activities.

In response, the European Union defines “invasive alien species” as those located outside their natural distribution areas that pose a threat to biodiversity. When prolific alien species enter natural ecosystems, they can encroach on native habitats, disrupt ecosystem balance, and reduce species diversity, leading to severe ecological problems. Governments have regulated these species as “ecosystem-disrupting species” by law and have established relevant agencies to manage them.[1]

The United Nations Environment Programme [UNEP] and the International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] are addressing the issue of alien species through the Global Invasive Species Programme, which establishes a worldwide information network and devises countermeasures. Countries such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are also making efforts by enacting related alien species laws. Moreover, approximately 180 countries have joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora [CITES][2] to regulate international trade and prevent the unregulated harvesting and capture of wild plants and animals from their habitats.[3]

ASEZ Activities in Removing Invasive Plant Species

In December 2022, during the United Nations Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Montreal, Canada, member states agreed to work toward reducing the spread of harmful alien species by at least half by 2030. This international effort aims to prevent the spread of alien species through border surveillance and import controls, thereby blocking their entry and promoting the restoration of nature.[4]

ASEZ, recognizing the consequences and severity of the rapidly progressing biodiversity loss, has taken proactive measures. As part of the ASEZ Green Carbon [AGC] campaign, which is a major climate change response initiative, ASEZ is actively engaged in removing invasive plants and leading efforts to conserve terrestrial ecosystems.

ASEZ members in Pretoria, South Africa, carried out activities to cut down, clear, and collect invasive trees that had completely covered the Klapperkop Nature Reserve.[5] In 2021, they removed the exotic Wattle Trees, and three years later, they gathered once again to remove the exotic Pompom plants. Due to the many problems that had plagued the area over the years, the continuous cooperation between ASEZ and the local municipality has helped the Klapperkop Nature Reserve regain its beautiful scenery, attracting attention.

Invasive plants disrupting ecosystems require consistent and sustained efforts over a long period to manage. To live harmoniously with our planet and its ecosystems, proactive initiatives are essential. ASEZ is committed to continuing its activities to protect ecosystems around the world, recognizing the importance of biodiversity. By selecting products and services that consider biodiversity, ASEZ aims to reduce negative impacts on biodiversity and ensure the sustainable use of biological resources.