The importance of biodiversity
"We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature as well - for we will not fight to save what we do not love."
- Stephen Jay Gould
Ecosystems have been described as the life support of the Earth(2) Ecosystems are have natural biodiversity, because species are interdependent upon each other. When we examine closely the needs of even a single plant, we will find it depends on multiple living organisms , on fungi, bacteria, nematodes, pollinators, insects, birds etc. Having diverse genetic material and biodiversity gives a ecosystems resilience, and the ability to weather environmental challenges. Monoculture agriculture, and poisonous chemicals which kill off plants, insects, soil bacteria and soil fungi create fragility of the ecosystem and infertility of the soil. Extinctions are proceeding at a rate of 1000 to 10,000(3) times the normal rate. There are better ways of managing the wonderful and amazing ecosystems of the earth.
We need to support agricultural systems(like silvopasture) and permaculture that are more diversified and resilient. We need to support agriculture that provides habitat for wild plants and animals. We can improve soil fertility when we grow plants that fix nitrogen, that accumulate nutrients, that have extensive root systems that improve aeration and water penetration, that are known to attract insects and birds and animals, that improve water quality etc. When we support agricultural practices that include and/or allow plantings of native shrubs, trees, flowers and grasses, we support all the wildlife and soil organisms that are associated with these plants. When we support the plants that are specialized to our biomes, we are providing homes and food for the native wildlife, and preventing extinctions. We are saving the genetic heritage for our biome. Be enchancing the soil fertility and improving the water quality, we are creating a world that sustains our lives. What supports our wildlife, supports us too.
11/11/2014 10:14:56 pm
How true! And I found out recently that salmon need trees! They have found that the forests surrounding the streams where the salmon spawn contain a high percentage of nitrogen from marine-derived sources. It's amazing, isn't it?
11/11/2014 10:15:34 pm
Oops... I meant to say ... trees need salmon. :)
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Manitoba is where I was born and where I have spent most of the five and one half decades of my life. I lived on the outskirts of the town of Portage La Prairie at a time when tadpoles and frogs inhabited the ditches and ponds, when there were many Monarch butterflies each summer along with dragon flies and grasshoppers. Redwing blackbirds perched the cattails of the ditches. As children we picked dandelions for bouquets and made wishes before blowing dandelion seed heads. We searched clover for lucky four leaves and rolled on the grass…there was no concern of poisonous herbicides. The grass was thick. Wherever we dug…there were earthworms