Put simply, biodiversity promotes life. Not only do functioning ecosystems produce oxygen and sequester carbon dioxide, they also provide homes for animals, recharge groundwater, replace soil nitrates, prevent erosion and more. The addition of indigenous vegetation to any environment will have countless benefits.
In South Africa, there is a huge disparity between ‘leafy’ privileged areas and ‘barren’ under-privileged areas. Urban greening improves pride of place and can even reduce crime and drug abuse. Additionally, research shows that living in a green neighbourhood reduces stress and aids recovery from illness.
Money does grow on trees! Useful indigenous species and fruit trees can provide produce that can be used in feeding schemes or sold by schools and communities. Indigenous trees and vegetation can increase property values and can provide natural air conditioning for homes and classrooms.
Conserving or restoring a natural ecosystem is an incredible symbol of hope. It symbolises a belief in the future, a positive wish for our communities and care for our planet. It brings people together – with each other and Mother Nature. It is a living, breathing gift to the generations to come.