The world is on the brink of evolving into a completely artificial society. While it was
once thriving with thousands of ecosystems, our planet faces a drastic decrement in
these biological communities due to the many activities undertaken by humankind.
Examples of our contributions include the exploitation of several natural habitats to
make room for the Earth’s overgrowing population, the harvest of natural resources for
other purposes and the pressure from agriculture. These activities harm the organisms
and their habitats, reducing the carrying capacity for indigenous flora and fauna, which,
unfortunately, leads to the extinction of these species and thus brings a slow burn end
toward the Earth’s natural diversity.
As inhabitants of the Earth, it is our responsibility to protect everything that has been
passed onto us. We suffer the consequences of our actions by having to undergo
natural disasters such as landslides and floods (the aftermath of deforestation). We now
have to work with what we have; support the recovery of destroyed ecosystems,
preserve the ones being threatened and conserve those still intact. Several methods
can be followed (mostly long-term approaches) to build upon this for a better future.
However, all systems have one step that is required; educating one's self thoroughly on
the topic. Regularly scour the news for the latest updates on the environment (both
globally and country-wise) to make sure you have up-to-date information. Use the
internet to look for resources such as publicly available research papers by experts on
the subject, a list of petitions started by recognised organisations fighting for wildlife,
and so much more. Remember to use more than one resource to make sure you have
accurate information to avoid biases and outdated data.
To support the recovery of already destroyed ecosystems, three main factors need to
be recovered: biodiversity, function and connectivity. Degraded ecosystems are missing
species, or even whole functional groups, such as top-level predators. The first measure
to restore biodiversity would be sowing native seeds or grafting individual plants. Plants
in an ecosystem play the role of the keystone species. Without them, an ecosystem is
unable to function. When restoring function, an important statement to remember is that
complex interactions need to resume after being degraded. One way to renew function
is to replace the disturbed cycles with a new one that encourages succession patterns.
Ensuring healthy hereditary diversity requires drawing from a large genetic pool. It also
requires creating physical connections for travel that allow the exchange of genetic
information across the landscape. This helps restore connectivity, and when all three
factors have been fulfilled, restores destroyed ecosystems. You can help out with
restoration activities in your community; restorations involve labour-intensive activities
like removing invasive species or collecting native seeds for planting, which are
accomplished with the help of volunteer groups.
To conserve threatened ecosystems, simply fencing off areas of high biodiversity isn’t
enough. Conservation experts have realized in the past few decades that each
preserved space creates an island of protected habitat but leaves the edges and the spaces in between unprotected. In regions where multiple islands of preserved habitat
already exist, the proposal of connecting the islands with narrow regions. Connecting
areas of landscape with protected corridors allows species to travel between the islands
and greatly increases their habitat size without being affected by human activity.
Lastly, to protect the ecosystems which remain intact, several measures can be taken
(and many of them require little to no effort). For example, garbage categorization can
help in dividing and selecting wastes that can be recycled. Reducing the demand for
freshwater helps allocate water to arid, drought-stricken environments, you can save
water by installing a showerhead tha’s low-flow or by turning off the faucet when it’s not
in use. While more and more regulations are being made to ban plastic bags in grocery
shops, you don’t need to wait for that to happen to take action; acquire a reusable
grocery bag to use throughout your grocery shopping trips. Finally, consider using
reusable batteries. The corrosive acid inherent in batteries is a major issue at landfills,
where it can end up entering the soil.
As written above, there are many ways to save our ecosystem and most of it can be
done inside our homes. A small change will be effective in the long run.
Becker, A. B. (2019). How can people restore a damaged ecosystem. Sciencing.
Creating Effective Conservation Plans: Preserving Entire Ecosystems. (2016). Dummies.