5TH JUNE 2021 – THEME “ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION”
Author: Sinéad Courtney-Staszak, Manager of the Waste Enforcement Units
On World Environment Day for 2021 we focus on Ecosystem Restoration. So, what exactly does this fancy statement mean? Ecosystem Restoration means assisting in the recovery of ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed as well as working to preserve ecosystems which are still intact. Even intact Ecosystem are affected by how we live and work.
How do we as humans benefit from Ecosystems?
Our ecosystem provides us with our living essentials such as Air and Water and Plants as well as many others. We as humans have become so far removed from our natural ecosystems that we have forgotten how much we benefit from it
How do we begin to restore our Ecosystem?
Ecological Restoration & Rehabilitation can include the reintroduction of native species, replanting in disturbed areas, removal of non-native plants and weeds which can negatively affect the natural ecosystem, reforestation and maintaining our natural habitats such as estuaries, peat bogs, and sand dunes.
What Ecological Programs are happening around the world?
The Great Green Wall – It is an African led initiative to grow 8,000km of natural world across Africa 15% of this target has already been achieved.
Pakistan’s Tree Tsunami – A billion trees were planted by the government by 2017. Over 350,000 hectares of trees were planted. It was so successful that the government launched another plan to plant an additional 10 million trees by 2023.
Peruvian Amazon – The Peruvian government have been training farmers how to grow sustainably. This has resulted in hundreds of new jobs and hundreds of hectares of forestry being regenerated.
Belize Barrier Reef System – Belize government instituted a moratorium on offshore oil drilling and exploration, banned single use plastics and Styrofoam and established no take fishing zones to protect the Barrier Reef System.
Maiden Island Reef – Restoration of the Reef using Reef Balls has resulted in 5,000 new corals colonies consisting of more than 30 species.
Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge – 4,000 acres of wetlands have been restored in Delaware reducing flooding and erosion naturally.
Mexico’s National Forestry Commission – 1 million hectares of forest land has been restored and the planting continues.
Aberdare’s Rehabilitation Project – this project in Kenya has been working to restore the degraded areas of the Aberdare’s Forest. 4.1 Million trees have been planted on 2,000 hectares of forest ad 1,900 hectares of public site or community areas.
What can I as an individual do to maintain and restore my local Ecosystem?
Reduce your energy consumption – turn off the lights, reduce your carbon footprint.
Don’t use chemical pesticides in your garden – chemical pesticides not only kill insects etc in your garden, but they also kill other wildlife either through direct consumption or through the natural food chain.
Use peat free composts
Avoid using chemical cleaning products – once washed down your drain they enter our ecosystem and can cause damage to our natural wildlife
Buy only timber products that are certified as being from well managed forests such as the Forest Stewardship Council.
Only buy fish that has been certified as sustainable. 88% of European fish stocks are being harvested beyond Maximum Sustainable Yields.
Protect our Bees – Albert Einstein said, “if bees disappeared of the surface of the globe man would only have four years of life left”. Bees pollinate most fruits and vegetables including carrots and onions. We are losing most of our bees through agricultural intensification.
Plant some trees. Fruit trees are best as they provide a food source for human and wildlife. Trees maintain soil fertility. Trees purify the air, give us oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide which contributes to climate change.
We can all do our part to lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle. When will you start yours? Happy World Environment Day!