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This is the real secret of life — to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realise it is play. The only thing that is ultimately real about your journey is the step that you are taking at this moment. That’s all there ever is. I’m here to tell you that the path to peace is right there, when you want to get away. When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. If you miss the present moment, you miss your appointment with life. That is very serious!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Gum leaves - Botanical illustration

W&N watercolour on Amedeo 200gsm

Dedicated to all Eucalypt and Bee-lovers.

A recent study by the SA National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi) in South Africa has found that gum trees provide nectar and pollen for swarms of commercial bees – and bees in turn pollinate about 50 food crops in the country. This “service” bees provide is worth about R10.3 billion a year.

Gum trees are not only important food for bees, but so are many roadside wildflowers, crops, suburban flowering plants and those that many regard as weeds. A major reason for the decline of honey bees around the world is a lack of good forage plants to provide nectar, which is the carbohydrate in the bees’ diet, and pollen the protein. Bees collect nectar from Blue Gum tree blossoms from spring to late summer.

A lack of good quality and variety of forage plants can lead to unhealthy honey bee colonies that are more vulnerable to pests and diseases.

This in turn can lead to insufficient pollination of our important agricultural crop flowers, leading to a decreased yield or quality of the food crop, Insect pollinators are needed for 35 percent of all food production globally – or one of every three bites you eat.

Although most Bluegums have been declared as an invasive species in South Africa, Beekeepers are highly dependent on eucalyptus and if they are all removed because they are aliens it would mean a serious shortage of food for bees – with a knock-on effect on crop pollination.

Because of this, the Department of Environmental Affairs’ legislation on alien and invasive species, updated in 2014, is “nuanced” for eucalyptus trees, not requiring all of them to come under the axe or chainsaw.

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