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Volume 5 Issue 2

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light exposure which in turn controls the temperature and humidity of the microhabitats. Different plants also mean that there is a greater variety of food available. Therefore with this change there is a change of the organisms that occupy it with generalists being replaced with specialists, this process is referred to as competitive exclusion. So theoretically, ecosystems like tropical rain forests and coral reefs should have low biodiversity since the level of competition present would mean that the few species that are expert competitors would push most of the other species making the ecosystem a species poor ecosystem. However, in these highly diverse ecosystems, competitive exclusion is prevented. However, these ecosystems are exposed to fre- Tropical Rainforest quent disturbances, for instance, in tropical rainforests, the occurrence of tree falls. These gaps in the canopy cause the formation of many microhabitats which are home to a variety of organisms. Therefore ecological succession is not allowed to reach optimum levels and support only a few specialized species.

ARTICLES Cabbage Lily Infestation Bertrand Bhikarry Environment TOBAGO Director The recent proliferation of cabbage lily down at Thompson's river in Lambeau has created a furore among our environmentally aware citizens. Pistia stratiotes may be pleasant to look at but its potential as a trouble-maker cannot be understated. Its presence as a alien plant species has been getting a lot of airplay recently too, as environmentalists and politicians alike look to wish it Godspeed and goodbye. Amateur scientists may think to look for its origins in expectations of some newsworthy finding, but it's too late to identify any single source of the weed, it's been here, there, and everywhere in the world. Celebrated as an ornamental pond plant, the water lettuce - one of its many names, has its uses; Infusion of the leaves is used for dropsy, bladder complaints, kidney afflictions, diabetes, hematuria, dysentery, and anemia. A poultice of pounded leaves can be used in treatment of hemorrhoids, tumors and boils. The juice of shell-flower leaves, mixed with coconut oil, is used for a variety of chronic skin conditions. Powdered dry leaves mixed with a little honey used for syphilis, 3 to 4 teaspoons a day. Further, the leaves are used for treatment of ringworm of the scalp, syphylitic eruptions, skin infections, boils and wounds. Cabbage Lily oil extract can be used for worm infestations, tuberculosis, asthma, dysentery, piles, ulcers, burns. Even more, the weed is used for alleviating symptoms of menorrhagia. Among the natives of the Amazon basin, it is used for arthritis. That’s the good news.

Environment TOBAGO newsletter June 2010  

June issue of the quarterly newsletter of the NGO Environment TOBAGO

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