Nature Conservation celebrates annual Weed Buster Week

Sithembile Nkosi

The Department of Nature Conservation has used its participation in the annual weed busting celebration by removing alien plant species on the verge of the Faculty of Natural Sciences fence.

Sithembile Nkosi, a lecturer in the department, said the removal of alien plants by Nature Conservation students on 8 October 2020 was part of the Ecosystems Rehabilitation and Restoration Community Engagement Project (ERR) mandate to identify, prioritise and restore degraded ecosystems around KwaZulu-Natal.  Weed busting celebration was part of the South African Weed Buster Week, an annual event that was initiated by the Department of Environmental Affairs. The event is aimed at highlighting the importance of controlling, managing, and eradicating alien plants in the country.

Winile Dludla, second year Nature Conservation student who took apart in the removal of alien plants, said the initiative was important because alien plants took up too much space at the expense of indigenous plants, and consume a lot of water. She said they identified 31 alien plants and removed them in a manner that ensured that they did not regrow. “We use hand pulling, slashing, and herbicides,” said Winile.

The species which were eradicated included Ricinus communis (Castor oil plant), Annona glabra (Monkey Apple), Ipomoea purpurea (Morning glory), Senna didymobotrya (Peanut-butter cassia), Solanum mauritianum (Bugweed), Lantana camara (Tickberry) and Sesbania punicea (Red sebania).