How Climate Change Impacts Our Botanicals and the Communities That Benefit From Their Harvest

Climate change is undeniably real. The earth’s oceans are warming, rising and becoming more acidic. Ancient ice is melting in Antarctica. Extreme weather events—along with global temperatures—have increased. [1]

Worldwide, climate change has impacted flora and fauna. Animals are being displaced from their habitats as a result of increasing temperatures and deforestation. Weather changes are impacting the lifecycle of plants and trees, including our Camu camu and Marula botanicals in Southeastern Africa.

As a result, the villages that benefit from harvesting these botanicals are affected. By sourcing our ingredients at their origin, LUXE helps sustain and support these communities in the face of climate change.

How Climate Change Affects Camu Camu

The Camu camu bush grows along the Amazon River basin in Brazil, where it thrives in the rich soil and tropical environment. However, despite being an incredibly resilient plant, Camu camu has been acutely affected by changing conditions in the Amazon, notably deforestation, fires and flooding.

Like it is everywhere else, climate change is causing the Amazon to become hotter and drier, increasing the risk for fires which obviously destroy the botanical inhabitants in the area. In 2019, fires in the Brazilian Amazon increased almost 200% from the previous year, and fires this year almost rivaled that number. [2] 

Both droughts and floods in the Amazon basin are also becoming more common due to climate change: floods are five times more common now than they were 100 years ago. [3] While Camu camu can normally accommodate some level of flooding and drought, the intensity of them now challenge its survival. In fact, “extreme hydrological events” in the Amazon basin have reduced the number of Camu camu plants over the last few decades, as the plant’s lifecycle is “closely tied to the rise and fall of the river”. [4]

Finally, deforestation (especially to farm palm oil, soybeans and beef cattle) threatens the lands that Camu camu grows on, particularly by increasing wildfire risk by accelerating climate change [5],[6] Half the deforestation in the Amazon happens in Brazil—20% of the Amazon’s plant and animal communities have been lost, and another 7% will be lost in the next decade alone. [7]

How Climate Change Affects Kigelia

Kigelia trees thrive in moist, well-drained soils in sunny or lightly shaded areas and are typically resilient to droughts.[8] 

Malawi, where many of our Kigelia trees grow, suffers from frequent floods and droughts—most notably and recently, the super-intense Tropical Cyclone Idai, known as one of the worst tropical cyclones ever to have affected Africa in decades. Due to extreme climate events in the area, economic losses are staggering: locals lose 1.7% of gross domestic product every year due to droughts and floods. This is the equivalent of $22 million in 2005 prices. [9]

How Climate Change Affects Marula Trees

While the Marula tree thrives in hot and dry climates, scorching temperatures threaten the mighty tree. And although it’s generally a drought-resistant tree, extreme droughts—such as those increasing with climate change—threaten its survival. [10] Severe drought causes the marula tree to bear poor fruit, which affects the harvest, and, consequently, the communities benefitting from the harvest. [11]   

Kenya, where our Marula trees are grown, is not only dramatically affected by drought and flooding, but it is also impacted by desert locusts. Climate change creates ideal conditions for locusts to thrive. The insects eat everything and ravage these communities that only have a small number of crops left after severe droughts and flooding. [12]

Climate change also affects the pollination of Marula trees. Increasing temperatures negatively affect nectar secretion of the tree’s flowers, reducing the amount nectar available for pollinators. With less nectar, there’s less pollination, and entire ecosystems can suffer. [13]

How Rural Communities Are Impacted

When extreme weather hinders the natural lifecycle and fruit production of these indigenous plants, the local communities have nothing to harvest and in turn, brands like LUXE Botanics, which survive on a mutually beneficial relationship with these communities, have trouble manufacturing our products due to these shortages. This results in a loss of income for the communities we work with.

Supporting LUXE Botanics allows us to continue to invest in the communities we partner with around the world so they can support their families. Climate change threatens the livelihood of these villages, but each of us has a chance to change the future. 

As a company dedicated to revitalizing the global communities most impacted by climate change through sustainable harvesting, we’re proud to be a part of Buy1Give1, an international business community inspiring positive change. Every time you purchase a LUXE product, proceeds from your purchase go directly to support communities in Africa. Not to mention each of our products is made with a botanical sourced directly from these communities, which allows them to prosper.

Climate change, like many things, impacts everyone, no matter how how indirect it might feel at times. We each have a responsbility to each other and to the earth to play a part.  By supporting programs such as Buy1Give1, you can help yourself to glowing skin (there’s nothing wrong with that!) while lending a hand to others whose livelihoods are being negatively impacted. Start small, and make a big difference.

Naturally Yours,

The LUXE Botanics Team

[1] https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

[2] https://phys.org/news/2020-09-brazilian-amazon-crisis.html

[3] https://news.mongabay.com/2018/12/extreme-floods-on-the-rise-in-the-amazon-study/ 

[4] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/264457117_Revisiting_Camu-camu_Myrciaria_dubia_Twenty-seven_Years_of_Fruit_Collection_and_Flooding_at_an_Oxbow_Lake_in_Peruvian_Amazonia_1

[5] https://www.forest-trends.org/who-we-are/initiatives/communities-initiative-2/

[6] https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/145464/fires-in-brazil

[7] https://wwf.panda.org/our_work/our_focus/forests_practice/deforestation_fronts2/deforestation_in_the_amazon/

[8] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339899935_ECOLOGICAL_DISTRIBUTION_OF_SAUSAGE_TREE_KIGELIA_AFRICANA_IN_MURCHISON_FALLS_NATIONAL_PARK

[9] https://www.ifpri.org/publication/droughts-and-floods-malawi   

[10] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.979.4428&rep=rep1&type=pdf

[11] http://www.nbri.org.na/sites/default/files/A%20History%20of%20Marula%20Use.pdf 

[12] https://www.icrc.org/en/document/caught-between-extremes-violence-drought-flooding-and-now-locust-invasion

[13] https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2018.00874/full

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