Our planet is facing an unprecedented crisis of biodiversity loss, with many key species on the brink of extinction. This loss has devastating effects on our ecosystems, which rely on these species to maintain balance and function properly. However, there is hope for restoration through the recovery of these key species. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of contemplating recovering key species for ecosystem restoration and how it can have a positive impact on the environment and our well-being.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species suggests that more than 8,400 species of wild flora & fauna are on the verge of extinction. Even surprisingly, more than 30k species are marked as endangered or vulnerable. Humans are responsible for this extinction and erasing of certain species off the face of the Earth. As cruel as it sounds, this is completely true, and the impact can be seen in habitats worldwide. The habitats and ecosystems of these species have put the ecology in a downward spiral which is affecting Humans and the earth as a whole. Therefore, the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) has set the theme “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration,” allowing it to shift the focus and work towards this goal in 2022.
Ecosystem Restoration is a practice that has been passed down for generations. However, despite restoration being an age-old method, modern restoration began in the early 19th Century when Aldo Leopold promoted the movement. Aldo Leopold was a prominent conservationist at that time. Large-scale projects like Mau Forest in Kenya, Louisiana Wetlands, and Everglades are prominent examples of current restoration projects. Ecosystem restoration is known to reverse the damage done to the environment. Many ongoing projects are examples of how shifting the focus on the environment can benefit Mother Earth and humanity.
What Does The UN Have To Say About This?
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime press release in Vienna on 3rd March 2022 highlighted key issues related to forest crimes, species endangerment, and crimes in fisheries which impact the world biodiversity, the climate, and the people. It contemplates the idea of ecological restoration, which reminds humans of the need to reset their relationship with nature. Furthermore, crimes against flora and fauna against illegal trades of exotics species have impacted the habitat, the ecosystem, and the landscape. Notable scientists like Dr. Silke Schweiger concluded that there is a need for ecology restoration, and projects need to be designated to restore the harmony of humanity with nature.
Current Projects on Restoring Ecosystem
Restoration of ecology has become a sensational topic among environmental activities and scientists. The government and trusts have sanctioned many ecology restoration projects and private bodies as the importance of restoring nature for the benefit of humanity has been known. For instance, the Green Wall initiative has brought positive tremors worldwide. The initiative will transform barren land into one of the world’s natural wonders. Apart from this, the project statistics indicate that it will help in the sequestration of 250 million tonnes of Carbon dioxide and boost a green economy in the region. Besides this, the maiden island reef project has made the environment favorable, where 5,000 new coral colonies have been reported with 30 new species. This has helped in the protection of coastlines.
The Green Belt Movement in 2006 in Kenya has driven projects to restore forest cover and watersheds and boost the economy and drinking water in the region. The restoration project had positive implications on the community and has also contributed to carbon sequestration; thereby, the initiative works toward climate change. With this movement, the Aberdares forest ecosystem has been restored, contributing to the health of the planet. Furthermore, the wetland restoration project in Delaware will help reduce floor erosions, mitigate the effects of flooding, promote carbon sequestration, and boost flora species.
What Is The Role of Key Species in Climate Change?
Besides shifting the focus to ecological restoration of the land by planting trees, re-establishing wetlands, and more, certain species have the potential to revitalize the harmony destroyed by human activity. Such species are termed keystone species. The Jaguar is a great example to explain the keystone and ecology restoration concept. The Jaguars are apex predators that feed on deer, capybaras, and other grass-eating animals. If the jaguars do not hunt these animals, it will affect vegetation growth. Hence, devastating effects can be observed on the vegetation of the region. Thus, the jaguar is responsible for a healthy ecosystem. Other examples of keystone species include ivory tree corals, beavers, elephants, sea otters, and more.
Underrated Species That Play A Vital Role On Earth
Cyanobacteria are one of the most underrated species that have not been given the credit they deserve. They are responsible for carbon sequestration and giving out oxygen, making them a key factor in climate change. However, the tides are turning, and Cyanobacteria is dwindling in the ocean, causing heating. This triggers storms and cyclones and affects marine biodiversity. Despite these microbes being tiny, they are capable of shaping the future of our planet and mitigating the effects of climate change. Apart from this, Cyanobacteria are involved in symbiotic relationships with marine organisms that directly and indirectly impact the environment. The importance of Cyanobacteria has come to light, and restoration projects have been carried out to help sustain Cyanobacteria, which prevents natural disasters by avoiding ocean heating.
Impact of Healing Our Planet
Ecosystem restoration has a significant impact on improving the health of our planet. One of the major advantages of ecology restoration is carbon sequestration, where a million tonnes of carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen. This reduces the greenhouse gasses in the environment, which directly impacts climate change and reduces the mean rise in global temperature. Working toward ecology restoration has also enabled the growth of species that were once endangered. Such projects have directly impacted the biodiversity on earth, and it has become evident that restoration of ecology is one of the aspects that can help fight climate change and mitigate its effects.
Ecological restoration projects need to be given priority as it plays a vital role in reversing the damage done on Earth by humans. It is high time to work on restoring our environment and biodiversity and creating harmonious relationships with Mother Nature. Therefore, it is time to contemplate the theme of “Recovering Key Species for Ecosystem Restoration” as it positively impacts our planet’s health.