Monday, April 15

Taking a step to restore the Ecosystem

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accurate information to avoid biases and outdated data.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.

CITATIONS:

[1]Becker, A. B. (2019). How can people restore a damaged ecosystem. Sciencing.

https://sciencing.com/how-can-people-restore-a-damaged-ecosystem-12730768.html

[2]Creating Effective Conservation Plans: Preserving Entire Ecosystems. (2016). Dummies.

https://www.dummies.com/education/science/environmental-science/creating-effective-

conservation-plans-preserving-entire-ecosystems/

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