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By Editorial staff

Journalist


Spekboom shrub: Nature’s climate savior unleashed

Revealing the spekboom shrub's remarkable carbon sequestration abilities and its potential to transform barren landscapes


While our politicians and criminals are trying to give our country a bad name, it turns out that we do have a homegrown local hero that has been hiding its light under a bushel, but which might make a huge contribution to the fight against global warming.

The humble spekboom shrub (botanical name Portulacaria afra) is unique in the plant world because of its ability to use two types of photosynthesis.

In dry, hot weather, spekbooms suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere at night and store it.

During the day, the plant closes its pores, called stomata, to minimise water loss and uses its night stash for photosynthesis.

This means that one hectare of spekbooms can capture and store between four and 15 tons of CO2 annually.

ALSO READ: Climate change: Earth’s future in our hands

In addition, it provides an almost sub-tropical microclimate in desert areas and can trap water, dust and nutrients, improving arid areas in times of drought.

A group called Jobs 4 Carbon wants to expand its “carbon farming” operation with the help of international foundations and private companies.

It says spekbooms avoid the dangers of “mono culture” inherent in some tree-planting schemes – and can help rehabilitate damaged environments.

It sounds like an idea where there are winners all round.

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