Help Combat Climate Change by Purchasing Jewellery from Ring Artisan

Say what!? Yes, you read that correctly. Ring Artisan will plant 5 Spekboom for every item that you purchase.

What is Spekboom? Scientifically known as Portulacaria afra and more commonly known as Elephant’s food or Pork Bush. Spekboom is an environmental warrior indigenous to South Africa; it is an evergreen plant, which uses two (C3 and CAM) of the three types of photosynthesis to produce oxygen with the use of carbon dioxide (via complex biochemical pathways). Most plants only use C3 photosynthesis. Spekboom has a very advanced system in which it is able to store solar energy during daytime, while simultaneously performing regular C3 photosynthesis, in order to perform Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis at night; when water vapor pressure deficits are lower and air temperatures are cooler. Spekboom switches to CAM photosynthesis to adapt to harshly dry conditions during drought. During CAM photosynthesis, the plant closes its stoma to avoid the occurrence of wasteful transpiration from its leaves, in order to conserve water while maintaining regular photosynthesis. During the night, acid builds up in the leaves, which is stored as carbon dioxide, and is broken down in the day, thus using very little water and plenty carbon in the process. This allows the spekboom plant to sequester more carbon dioxide per hectare than the Amazon rainforest. It is in fact 10 times more effective in fixing carbon per hectare than any tropical rainforest. (Kirsten, 2019)

Ample research has been carried out on spekboom in the Thicket Biome. It has been found that spekboom can have a net carbon sequester potential between 3.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 (van der Vyver et al., 2013) and 4.2 t C ha-1 yr-1 (Mill & Cowling, 2006). In arid regions of the Baviaanskloof and the broader Eastern Cape, it has been observed that spekboom can, in some cases, have a total carbon accrual between ~71 to 88 t C ha-1 (Powell 2009, Mills 2010). It is believed that carbon accrual can be even higher in less arid regions where spekboom is found in intact Thicket.

Apart from improving the quality of the air that we breathe, spekboom also has many other amazing characteristics:

  • It is very high in vitamin C
  • It is waterwise
  • It is evergreen
  • Its flowers are rich in nectar and therefore attracts bees and birds
  • It prevents soil erosion as it is excellent at soil-binding
  • It is very resilient and can therefore withstand the most severe weather conditions
  • It is drought tolerant
  • It can live up to 200 years
  • It can grow up to 3m high
  • It is very high in basic nutrients and is therefore an excellent food source for wildlife
  • It can treat dehydration, heat stroke and exhaustion
  • Its sap can treat skin ailments, as well as, blisters and sunburn

(Shamwari , 2019)

Assist us in combating the toxic effects of Carbon Dioxide and GHG in our atmosphere by supporting Ring Artisan with your purchases.

REFERENCES

Mills, A.J. & Cowling, R.M. 2006. Rate of carbon sequestration at two thicket restoration sites in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Restoration Ecology 14 (1): 38–49.
Mills, A.J. & Cowling, R.M. 2010. Below-ground carbon stocks in intact and transformed subtropical thicket landscapes in semi-arid South Africa. Journal of Arid Environments 74: 93-100.
Powell, M.J. 2009. The restoration of degraded subtropical thickets in the Baviaanskloof Nature Reserve, Eastern Cape South Africa – the role of carbon stocks and Portulacaria afra survivorship. MSc. Thesis. Rhodes University, Grahamstown.
SA wonder plant removes more CO2 than Amazon [Online] / auth. Kirsten Elise // Getaway. – March 20, 2019. – https://www.getaway.co.za/travel/nature-and-conservation/sa-wonder-plant-removes-more-carbon-dioxide-than-amazon/.
Shamwari Private Game Reserve [Online] / auth. Shamwari . – Shamwari , March 21, 2019. – https://www.shamwari.com/5-amazing-facts-about-spekboom/.
Van der Vyver, M.L., Cowling, R.M., Mills, A.J. & Difford, M. 2013. Spontaneous Return of Biodiversity in Restored Subtropical Thicket: Portulacaria afra as an Ecosystem Engineer. Restoration Ecology 21 (6): 736-744.