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Choose the right species!

Conserving and using sustainably local biodiversity, including trees

ENO-Environment Online project as a global virtual school and network has an excellent idea of promoting tree planting, good environment and sustainable development.

When trees are planted it is good to think carefully what kinds of trees and ecosystems are originally adapted and best to each locality, to each region. If foreign trees are planted, then the end results may be harmful to local species. Think e. g. Eucalyptus species. These are native species of Australia, but they can be succesfully grown in many other regions of the world. Many kinds of unexpected side effects have been found. Eucalyptus species often produce litter that is poisonous to other organisms, they are too efficient of taking water from the soil, ground water may even disappear, small rivers may become dry during dry seasons etc.

Usually, the best option is to cultivate local tree species of local origin. During evolution life has diversified, organisms and ecosystems are different is each region. During prehistory and history local people have learnt how to best use vegetation sustainably for shelter, food, medicines etc. Even in the same country there may be big differences in genetical adaptation of species to local circumstances. The main principle is to keep and to learn sustainable use of local biodiversity. Learning to identify local species can be facilitated by using NatureGate Online Service: Many species or genera are cosmopolitan or circumpolar. IUCN recommends NatureGate Online Service.

NatureGate Ltd (University of Helsinki as one of the partners) is interested in collaboration to create local sister NatureGate Online Services to each country and region of the world.

Best wishes from a friend of ENO-Environment Online project

Prof. Dr. Mauri Åhlberg FLS,
Professor of Biology and Sustainability Education
(University of Helsinki).