National University of Laos Students Highlight the Threat of Alien Invasive Species on World Environment Day
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Lao PDR joined activities to celebrate World Environmental Day on 5th June, 2009 in VientianeCity. These included a Mini-Marathon in the city and student activities held at the National University of Laos (NUoL).
IUCN Lao opened the day’s activities at the Faculty of Agriculture, highlighting the importance of agrobiodiversity and the negative impacts of invasive alien species in particular.
About 120 members of the Kasikorn Asa student group, as well as teachers and guest lecturers, participated in the proceedings at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kaset Nabong Campus. Activities included speeches, a student debate, and drama and a traditional ginger ban, organized by Kasikorn Asa. The Faculty of Environment and Development Studies also organized another student debate on environmental campaigns.
Kasikorn Asa is a pro-environment student group under the Faculty of Agriculture. Within NUoL, the Dongdok Nature Society (DNS), under the Faculty of Forestry, also brings together students interested in nature conservation. IUCN Lao supports DNS activities as well, including awareness-raising during important events such as the National Boat-racing Festival and That Luang Festival.
Agrobiodiversity is becoming a more and more important issue in Lao PDR and other countries around the world. The health of our agrobiodiversity systems is changing and challenges to its conservation are increasing due to unsustainable development activities and agricultural practices.
This year’s theme for the student activities is “Raising the Alarm on Invasive Alien Species”. Although invasive alien species are a relatively small issue in Lao PDR today, this is likely to change in the near future, and negative impacts on ecosystems can already be seen from species such as the Golden Apple snail, Mimosa pigra and water hyacinth.
Alien species are usually introduced unintentionally through agricultural practices, and efforts by everyone are required to prevent the spread of invasive species.