वनस्पतिशास्त्री एक विशाल दीवार द्वारा विभाजित भूले हुए पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र का दस्तावेजीकरण करने के लिए अमेरिका-मेक्सिको सीमा की छानबीन कर रहे हैं

वनस्पतिशास्त्री एक विशाल दीवार द्वारा विभाजित भूले हुए पारिस्थितिकी तंत्र का दस्तावेजीकरण करने के लिए अमेरिका-मेक्सिको सीमा की छानबीन कर रहे हैं

Botanists Are Scouring the US-Mexico Border to Document a Forgotten Ecosystem Split by a Giant Wall

Botanists and citizen scientists armed with the iNaturalist app on their smartphones are recording the biodiversity along the U.S.-Mexico border

  • Global News
  • 92
  • 19, May, 2024
Jivika Chawla
Jivika Chawla
  • @JivikaChawla

Botanists Are Scouring the US-Mexico Border to Document a Forgotten Ecosystem Split by a Giant Wall

In the vicinity of the imposing U.S.-Mexico border wall near Jacumé, México, botanist Sula Vanderplank experienced a poignant moment. Amidst the scrub, she heard a quail's call, signaling its separation from its mate or group. On the Mexican side, another quail responded, evoking a bittersweet symphony in an ecosystem divided by an artificial barrier.

Vanderplank was part of a team of botanists and citizen scientists engaged in the Border Bioblitz project, located approximately 60 miles east of Tijuana. This initiative involves around 1,000 volunteers equipped with the iNaturalist app on their smartphones, aiming to document the diverse array of species along the U.S.-Mexico border throughout May. By uploading photos to the app, participants aid in species identification and document their locations.

The hope is that this data collection will advocate for increased protection of the region's natural diversity, often overshadowed by concerns of drug trafficking and migrant smuggling. Amidst the backdrop of the border wall's steel bollards topped with razor wire, volunteers explore the landscape, encountering vibrant blooms of common Goldfields juxtaposed against discarded water jugs, clothing, and remnants of human activity beneath native flora like the Tecate Cypress.

Vanderplank, affiliated with the binational program Baja Rare, emphasizes the overlooked biodiversity in the region. The initiative emerged in response to former President Donald Trump's extensive border wall construction, which disrupted ecosystems in states like Arizona and traversed the biodiversity hotspot of Baja California.

The absence of comprehensive data on plant and small organism populations underscores the urgency of the Bioblitz project. Vanderplank reflects on the potential losses: "We don’t know what all we could lose." Through grassroots efforts like Bioblitz, there's a collective endeavor to raise awareness of the ecological significance of the borderlands and advocate for their preservation amidst ongoing geopolitical tensions.

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Jivika Chawla

Jivika Chawla

  • @JivikaChawla