Ecosystems and Economics
Ecosystem is the dynamic interaction between living and nonliving things in a self-controlled natural form. It involves an exchange of energies to maintain equilibrium state of conditions. Human society is the greatest factor that has affected ecosystems in terms of degradation and loss. Since the eighteenth century, industrialization has grown at a high rate calling for exploitation of space and usage of piping, fencing, and road construction. As a result, most ecosystems’ habitats have been destroyed and most species have been left to perish. Human activities such as shoreline armoring, bottom trawling, and vegetation removal have led to deterioration and loss of ecosystems in marine and shoreline habitat. In addition, agricultural practices such as sewage and employment of fertilizers, industrial and automobile pollution affect both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
Most people, especially poor in developing countries, depend at large on the wild nature for survival. Their daily activities include hunting, fishing, and settlement with efforts to provide for their food, shelter, clothing, and other necessities. It affects the fauna part of biodiversity at large. For example, a case of the giant redwoods along the California coast that originally was a good fishing ground now exist only in remnant patches because of overharvesting. Poor pasturing and cultivation methods, gathering, tree cutting to obtain forage, medicine, woods, and leaves to build a shelter affect the flora part of ecosystems. Moreover, fire outbreaks result from human carelessness. The Yellow Pine and the Biriya Forest fire outbreak in northern Israel is one of such examples (Ackerman & Heinzerling, 2004). All these occurrences end up creating disturbances to flows of ecosystem cycles. This sequential interference stimulates response change of an original ecosystem into other typical ecological equilibrium states. A good example of such interference due to ecological imbalances is a spread of the vibrio cholerae bacteria that caused cholera in the Gulf Coast region of Texas, Louisiana, and Florida, the Chesapeake Bay area, and the California coast (Rapport, 2002).
Government developers and local residents should contribute towards preservation and protection of natural habitats, while the primary goal is to determine their location. Modern satellite technology tracks wildlife-changing patterns, images and maps their habitats. This information is tabled and used to make reasonable decisions. The following actions are among the necessary measures that need to be undertaken.
Implementing reserve system strategies is essential to controlling ecosystems. The government should also formulate decrees to curb hunting poaching, gathering, tree cutting, and trade of endangered species products such as ivory. In addition, public awareness and education is an essential element to future biodiversity. Society should be enlightened about the importance of rehabilitation efforts such as tree planting, erosion, fire, pollution, and weed and pest control measures. Consequently, irregular disturbances causing a mildly fluctuating equilibrium state of an ecosystem is prevented.
Since the existence of human life, people have ripped unimaginable benefits of ecosystems over time. Some occur naturally, while others result from human activities. Ecosystems support human life by providing them with essentials like food and fuel. More importantly, for less developed economies in particular, ecosystem services support life by regulating essential processes. These naturally occurring services can be grouped into six broad categories in respect to their role economically and ecologically. They include: purification and detoxification of life supporting elements like air, water, and soils; life-fulfilling events like recreational educational research, regeneration, and production; habitat provision; regulation and stabilization of factors like rainfall and water supply; pest and disease control; and climate regulation.
To conclude, it should be noted that it pays to save (Daly & Farley, 2004). Along with logical and morally valued call for ecosystems, conservation incurs costs. A case study at University of Cambridge, U.K. has shown that a single year habitat conversion would cost about $250 billion that year and every year to come (Georgiadis & Balmford, 1992). At last, given that life has to be sustained equitably, Mother Nature has to be conserved.
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