Disturbed ecosystems can disadvantage communities

The Chronicle

Mahlabezulu Zulu, correspondent
TO understand and promote the growth of nature, one must be an observer. Through education, i.e. learning scientific subjects like biology and related subjects like agriculture or geography helps to understand nature and concepts related to the promotion of continued existence of nature, for example ecosystems.

After reviewing the Zimbabwean curriculum, the indicated subjects have been introduced at the elementary level, and it is good that different stakeholders in policy making have made it mandatory that these subjects be given priority for enrollment in the institutes of higher education, eg nursing, teaching, agriculture and many other training institutes.

In order for our country to synchronize globally with ever improving technology and science, the idea of ​​promoting science learning was introduced through such programs as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the education system. A country with more citizens who understand science is likely to find more solutions to its problems and improve its economy through improved technology.

For the sake of interest, one might ask a question: Should the scientific knowledge acquired from such learning platforms be applied only in towns and villages where industrial production is applied for the improvement of the country’s economy?

Do rural communities also have a right to this scientific knowledge for their social, economic and ecological survival? While I agree that scientific principles are more applicable in cities and towns, it is unfortunate that rural communities have been little changed in terms of obtaining a fair share and benefiting from this valuable knowledge for their survival.

The fact that some of these natural resources that humans can benefit from are harvested from rural communities such as honey from bees, mopane-amacimbi / madora worms and more means that rural communities should be part of the whole package. ecosystem management.

For the continued existence of such natural resources, we need a supportive ecosystem environment in communities, for example a clean environment unpolluted by chemicals that destroy these living things that we benefit from in their various stages of life. development, eggs, pupae, larvae in the adult stage.

In addition to chemicals, our actions also promote the elimination and complete disappearance of certain plant species that contribute to a “complete ecosystem” in communities.

It is unfortunate that some of these natural resources go unnoticed in most communities i.e. some tree species which are habitats of certain types of edible worms, for example mopane worms which prefer the leaves of mopane, and other species of worms that come from trees like Ordeal tree-umsenya / musanha and Horn Pod Tree-Inkamamasane / mutohwe during certain seasons of the year, especially during or shortly after the rainy season.

Despite the fact that such tree species continue to exist in some communities, it is unfortunate that such edible worm species of social, economic and ecological significance have gone completely unnoticed in some communities, even during the seasons when we we expect them to be seen.

For those who are nature watchers, the following questions will always remain on their minds; Are the communities aware that tree species such as Mopane, Ordeal and Horn Pod trees still exist in some vegetation areas of the communities, but why do important edible worms associated with these trees no longer appear during their season?

Why do the same tree species in protected areas like forest areas or national parks continually have these worms during the right seasons? Due to the social and economic importance of these natural resources to communities, people have sometimes been forced to encroach on nearby forests or national parks to harvest these edible worms.

Encroachment into such wild animal infested areas has always been associated with many dangers to humans, such as cases of humans being attacked and some even killed by animals such as snakes, lions, buffaloes and others. elephants every year. In some cases, although few in number, community members have gone missing in areas infested with wildlife in search of edible worms.

Before human habitation, the same tree species that promote the existence of these edible worms were used to “perform their normal function” as such worms would be seen including their associated life cycle, i.e. tell the butterflies that are in the adult stage.

When such places became more invaded by human habitats, these important worms gradually disappeared unnoticed, and this was the same with native fruit trees found in some rural communities, for example, Monkey Orange-Umhlali / Mutamba, Snort Apple Uxakuxaku / Mutohwe, Bird Prune Umnyi / Munyi.

Such trees still exist in the communities, but some of them no longer perform their normal functions which benefit us human beings, i.e. producing the edible fruits. We could cite reasons like overexploitation of some of these natural resources, or we have other competitive predators or pests that have caused the disappearance of this part of the nature of the ecosystem.

While agreeing with other think tanks, research can be undertaken to find the main reasons for the complete disappearance of these natural resources.

The gigantic question is this: with our basic and advanced scientific knowledge, do we see the disappearance of, for example, butterflies or moths associated with these edible worms, or other pollinating insects associated with some of our native fruit trees? ?

Most natural ecosystems will function very well and benefit us as humans if we do not interfere with them, for example the destruction by burning of certain grass species that are home to the stages of the life cycle of valuable insects, and avoid promoting the use of synthetic chemicals that destroy life cycle stages of these natural resources.

As communities, it is benevolent that we cultivate a culture of observing and promoting the existence of natural ecosystems in our communities as they foster the existence of some of the natural resources that benefit us as human beings. , and rural communities also need science-related principles to survive!

Mahlabezulu Zulu is an environmentalist who has worked for various wildlife research and conservation organizations in Hwange National Park and Fuller Forestry in Victoria Falls. He can be reached on 00263 (0) 713269827/0776196171. E-mail [email protected] Where [email protected]

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