• 04/21/2020

    Hi Michael B Stewart. Please let us know what happened and how you got...
  • 04/21/2020

    We will be inviting the author of this blog to hold an in-person event...
  • 04/21/2020

    It is not fair to be timed out in responding with great sincerity to a...
  • 04/01/2015

    really good post. thanks...
  • 02/22/2015

    Really enjoyed your real-life chat about native plants and getting rid...

Moosa Creek Blog

Carbon Sequestration & Native Plants

Creekside Chat

 Have recent weather events, or the pandemic driven ability to spend more time online led you into a deeper dive into climate action? This month we take a detailed look at one recent proposal. Spekboom: is it really the answer to carbon pollution? What is the role of our own native plants? Recently there has been a surge of interest in sequestering carbon. It's a significant topic and deserves a thoughtful approach.

A television segment aired about Spekboom (Portulacaria afra), an African native, which opens it stomata (air holes) at night. This adaptation allows the plant to conserve water. The process is called Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) and it sequesters a considerable amount of carbon. There are over 16,000 CAM plants, including epiphytes and some water plants.

While the program suggested planting acres of Spekboom to offset carbon in the atmosphere, this idea isn’t taking into consideration the whole picture. These non-native plants offer almost no nutrition for our myriad of animals which rely on native plants for their existence. By decreasing their already severely compromised food sources, we would be accelerating ecosystem destruction. For instance, Spekboom blooms when it receives more moisture than it will receive in a succulent garden. Its tiny blooms offer little food to our wildlife, and no building materials to anything except rodents. Although Spekboom can be used ornamentally, outside of Africa it offers little but increased carbon sequestration in the way of saving the planet.

Highest carbon sequestration occurs in perennial grasslands, prairies and bogs where thick, short root masses don’t decay quickly (which releases the C02) due to high water tables. Our dryland carbon sequestration occurs in dense plantings of perennial native shrubs and trees. These offer habitat, water conservation, carbon sequestration and beauty. If you like succulents then please see the March issue of Creekside Chat  and the search feature on the Moosa Creek website where you can find suggestions of native agaves and yuccas (which are also CAM). Also, allow organic matter to build up in your soil, remove your lawn or replace it with native perennial grasses, and change your habits to use less carbon globally through buying locally produced goods and local businesses whenever possible.  Carbon sequestration is very important, and looking at the larger picture shows that planting natives is the best holistically for the planet.

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