WHY THE OCEAN MATTERS?

The ocean is critically important to life on Earth accounting for 97% of the Earth’s water and playing an essential role in sustaining life on the planet.  The ocean covers approximately 70% of the Earth’s surface, and is home to a vast number of the Earth’s living creatures, not to mention that the ocean is a vital part of the water cycle that supplies rain to crops, forest and provides drinking water for our survival.

image environ solutions

But most importantly the ocean contributes 50-85% of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere that are generated from the tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton living near the water surface.  As we all know plants photosynthesize, meaning they use sunlight and carbon dioxide to make food.  Oxygen is a byproduct of photosynthesis and provides food and other vital resources in which humans depend upon.

Worth noting is that the role of the ocean is far reached, because it is so vast and deep the ocean absorbs much of the heat and light that comes from the sun.  The ocean’s average depth is 13,000 feet with a maximum depth of 36,198 feet. Continuously distributing heat, carbon, oxygen, nutrients and water throughout the planet through the process of absorption and retention, slowly releasing and redistributing heat, the ocean also acts as a sink that aids in mitigating global warming. The current in the ocean together with atmospheric forces are also constantly at work causing the warm and cold water to more in complex patterns that control how the heat from the sun gets redistributed around the planet. This redistribution of heat in the upper ocean causes large changes in the global atmospheric circulation, which causes changes in the weather. Basically the ocean is the support system of this planet and it is in danger as a result of human inconsiderate development.

  • Refer to previous post – Carbon Cycle to read about the Ocean acting as as sink in mitigating global warming as it removes carbon from the atmosphere and bury it deep in the ocean.

The overall health of the ocean according to National Geographic matters because water returns to the ocean for renewal and purification to support life on earth, it also means a beautiful coast and vibrant ocean wildlife, but more so it supplies clean air for us to breathe, the food we consume and water we drink, if the ocean is polluted and unhealthy so are we.

quotescover-JPG-26So why do we continue to pollute the ocean? This is in part the result of industrialization and rapid advancement but more so because we are of the view that the ocean resources are infinite, and that human beings are entitled to plunder and pollute the natural world in the name of our so call progress in recent years and all the years to come, it will become increasingly and abundantly clear that pollution, burning of fossil fuels, and over-fishing could potentially destroy the resources we depend on, and the complex web of life that sustains us.

Little do we know the ocean plays a significantly important role in the overall well-being of all living things. The ocean provides millions of jobs, did you know that ocean based transport account for 98% of our commerce between nations.

According to International Maritime Organization, over one million seafarers work on approximately 50,000 merchant ships which trade internationally, generating over US$380 billion in freight rates or about 5% of the world’s economy.

Cruise Lines International Association reported that the cruise line industry also reported passengers in 2008 spent $19 billion directly and $40 billion indirectly and hires 357,000 employees who earns $16 billion in salaries and wages and according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization there are 45 million fishers and fish farmers combined in the world with a production of 140 million tonnes annually this included 90 million of capture fisheries and 50 million tonnes in aquaculture.  Can I stress the importance of the ocean anymore?

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The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization expressed concerns that within the next couple of years the physiology of fish will be adversely impacted because of the rapidly increasing temperature oxygen  transport to their tissue will be hampered.  I am yet to mention the impact of marine species are experiencing a major decline in some cases of 90% loses and heading to extinction due mainly to human activities.

In closing there are potential for renewable energy power generation from ocean waves, current and thermal energy, tidal stream and river hydro-kinetic technologies, but are yet to be explored and proven. We must know that failing to protect the ocean and its resources will have adverse consequences, consequences that we are not prepared for even though our sustainability depends on the continuous equilibrium of the ocean and its species.

Recycling…. The Modern Day Self Regulation

The effects of landfills has caused increased challenges of Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) and made it one of the most pressing environmental issue at a local, national, regional and international level, MSWM is a very costly and complex process usually under the guidance of the local governments who may sometimes lack the expertise, tools and manpower necessary to meet targets and implement national strategies. T.V. Sivanandan of The Hindu states that effective MSWM requires an ongoing commitment from central government, adequate budget allowances and a highly motivated workforce.

solid waste

In the Caribbean and Latin America over the last decade a significant increase in landfills has been reported. Land filling is usually the main treatment for municipal solid waste (MSW), mainly because it’s cost effective and accommodates all types of waste, but is far more potent than any other method because of its adverse environmental impact, which includes methane gas emission, pollution of groundwater and surface waters and leachate that represents one of the main sources of environmental problems linked to land filling waste not to mention taking up valuable space.

The Ground Water Foundation claims that the waste generated in a country is closely linked to its economic activities, the wealthier an economy the more waste is produced.  Waste management have become a critical issue in the Caribbean because of limited land mass and decreasing resources along with a rapidly growing population and recent boosts in the tourism industry making MSWM an issue needing urgent attention in this region.

recycle

Trinidad and Tobago Solid Waste Management Company Limited studies have shown that 80% in Trinidad and 70% in Tobago of total waste generated are recyclable but currently land filled, the current and only method of final MSW disposal along with inappropriate dumping employed by residents to dispose of uncollected waste causing recurring floods countrywide as a result of blocked drains along with other adverse effects to the environment, with average waste generated per person in T&T is 4lbs per day,  resulting in 1000 tonnes of waste taken to landfills daily,  there are four landfills located in Trinidad and Tobago all of which was developed in the 1980’s and are either near or have exceed lifespan.

The main landfill is the Beetham Landfill reaching its capacity in a few years, the Government of the Republic of T&T now seeks an alternative methods or another landfill site for final disposal of MSW in this small twin island Republic, hence the increasing need for us to introduce recycling, there are still a great deal of waste that could be recycled ending up in landfill sites. Recycling is one of the best things we can personally do for the environment and is an excellent way of protecting our precious natural resources, cutting global warming and conserving the environment through water and energy conservation.  The fact is we cannot stop global warming, deforestation and all the other ills of the earth without each citizen taking an active step to implement the waste hierarchy of prevention, reuse, recycling and treatment of waste in our daily life.

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The Government of Trinidad and Tobago is now taking active steps to encourage and initiate reduce, reuse and recycle mechanism, this is pending the establishment of a Waste Recycling management Authority, which would facilitate Plastikeep’s transition into a large waste recovery and recycling programme to be instituted by the Environmental Management Authority (EMA), an Authority created in 1996 to provide a comprehensive and integrated framework for protecting, conserving and enhancing the environment of Trinidad and Tobago. This will alleviate the existing burden on landfills and revolutionize citizen’s approach to waste disposal as this arrangement would provide a efficient and cost effective implementation of an integrated system for recycling material such as waste tyres, construction, plastic, glass, paper, metal, electronic waste.

This initiative will begin the process of residents taking responsibility for the way waste is viewed in Trinidad and Tobago, in a modern manner.

Companion Gardening

You guys know I have been getting into gardening, well I am a huge fan of pepper, so  I thought that it would be a wonderful project to include a couple of other vegetables and or fruits in a little companion planting project.

Companion planting is considered the close planting of a diverse mix of plants that would enhance each other’s growth and protection. The benefits of a companion planting includes pest control through the encouragement of beneficial insects and parasites, efficient use of garden space, beneficial to soil and ecosystem, provides shade or wind barrier and beautifies your garden.

The vegetables you eventually choose must be selected after thorough research since incorporating the wrong species can lead to problems that can cause your plant to suffer for example cucumber can be planted with tomatoes but potatoes must be kept away since they are extremely toxic to cucumbers Mother Earth News have very in-dept list you can consult.

After careful consideration I have narrowed down the list of fruits and vegetables based on my hot climate that I would plant in my companion garden, to these five (5).

tomato-companions

Source: Modern Survival Blog – Companion Garden 

Peppers – Particular great at preventing root rot and other fusarium diseases. While tomatoes  and cucumber provide great protection, since peppers need a lot of shelter from the sun to keep them from drying out and provide more humidity.  Pepper teas are also a very effective insect spray.

Lettuce–  great to harvest in a small spaces, because of its lower growth habit, while also crowding out weeds.

Tomatoes- offer shade for the soil, and offer the smaller plants protection during the hottest parts of the day, it is advised by Tree Huggers against planting pepper with tomatoes in the same bed every year right after each other but they can definitely be grown together in the same garden bed.

Chive- improves the growth and flavor of tomatoes, and help to keep aphids, Japanese beetles and rust fly away from them and the other plants in the garden. They are also used in cucumber planting to prevent downy and powdery mildews.

Cucumber-  This vegetable like warmth, rich soil and plenty of moisture, it is said that cucumbers don’t do well planted next to tomatoes, but research showed that this is quite inconclusive since a number of top gardeners recommend planting these two in the same garden for good results.

According to Organic Authority plants have a social life they are a web of life extremely complex and not the solution to gardening problems but instead companion planting is the act of effective preventative measures.

The Environmental Consequences of Forest Fires

Over the pass two weeks I have witnessed an increased number of forest fires along the northern range in Trinidad and Tobago, Guardian Newspapers reported that Northern Division Fire Service which consist of 11 Fire Stations between Sangre Grande to Chaguaramas recorded 173 wildfires on Saturday 9th May, 2015 and are responding to an average of 100 wildfires per day, as Trinidad and Tobago experiences one of its worst dry season. Now the flames that have engulfed the large portions of the Northern Range forest may seem harmless to those living far away, but it is worth noting that forest fires have a greater impact on our environment and economy.

Fire in the hills in Maraval

Fire in the hills of Maraval

Source: http://www.trinidadandtobagonews.com/blog/?p=2815

A forest fire is defined as being an uncontrolled fire that occurs in the wilderness, forest fires usually occur in hot and dry climates during the hottest months of the year. Trinidad and Tobago forest fires (also referred to as bush fires or wild fires) claims NEMA are signature events of the dry season which normally extends from January to May, the number of fires and the extent of damages they cause, vary from year to year depending on the existing physical and environmental conditions of the land, and the severity of the dry season essentially the amount and distribution of rainfall, factors affecting its severity depends also on the size and frequency of the fires.

Damaged forest as a result of Forest Fire

Source: http://www.ttnaturelink.com/category/ttnaturetrips/page/2

Forest fires can occur from natural causes or human carelessness and accidents, spreading very quickly and clearing acres of land, natural forest fires play a key role in shaping the ecosystem by serving as an agent of renewal and change, but they can be very deadly damaging the ecosystem and many aquatic lives, destroying and damaging vegetation, animal and wildlife habitats, homes and threatening lives, and timber, also they pollute the air with emissions harmful to human health.

Forest fires also releases carbon dioxide (CO2) a key greenhouse gas into the atmosphere and their effects on the landscape may be long-lasting, the most severe consequences will be experienced in the rainy season during the months between June – December, months after the fires have actually burned the forests. This is realized in severe floods and landslides, which occurs when the rainfall directly impact upon the soil instead of a protective forest cover, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization states that the relationship between forest and climate change is intricate, since forest mitigates climate change by absorbing carbon, but they also contribute to climate change once they are degraded or destroyed.

House Destroyed by Wildfire in Belmont, Trinidad and Tobago 

Source: https://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-05-11/firefighters-feeling-heat

The only real way to curb the occurrences of  human induced forest fires are through education and awareness, Global Forest Watch, estimates that the economic value of Trinidad and Tobago’s forestry sector contributed US$86.9 million to the economy in 2011, which is approximately 0.4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, hence the importance of the forest to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. While, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service Association Leo Ramkissoon advised the public in a recent interview to be vigilant and report any fire immediately by calling the hotline 877-FIRE (3473), and that they should acquire a fire fighting devices such as fire extinguisher in their homes, in particular to avoid another occurrence of Saturday’s fire in Belmont destroying homes and displacing residents.

Bibliography 

Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, 2015. Fines for Forest Fires may rise – May 12, 2015. Source- http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2015-05-12/fines-forest-fires-may-rise.

FAO, 2015. The role of forest protected areas in adaptation to climate change. source- http://www.fao.org/docrep/011/i0670e/i0670e13.htm

National Emergency Management Agency, 2000. Forest Fires in Trinidad and Tobago. Source -http://wikieducator.org/images/temp/c/c6/20080722170356!Forest_Fire_In_TrinidadandTobago.pdf

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Emergency Preparedness Week – May 3-9th, 2015

So, I just returned from an o so important seminar on Emergency Preparedness and thought who better to share my new found information with than my friends. Emergency preparedness week being held from 3-9th May, 2015 and is a national awareness initiative with an overall goal of encouraging people to know their local risk, make plans in the event of it occurring and always have an emergency kit readily available to family members. This knowledge help to  make the community safer and better prepared to face a range of emergencies.

This event was well prepared like somewhat of a cottage meeting where a couple of companies came to display their products, while the local authorities organized the police and fire services to give lecturers, to local residents and all others in attendance.

Natural disasters may be beyond our control, but there are ways to reduce the risk and the impact of whatever emergency we might face, whether natural or human induced. This is capable by making proper preparation to cope on own own for some hours of an emergency the amount may vary based the type of disaster and number of residents affected. Some disasters may block access route to villages like the recent earthquake in Nepal.

Building Destroyed by Nepal Earthquake 

Source: http://qz.com/400088/nasa-technology-located-four-trapped-earthquake-victims-in-nepal-by-detecting-their-heartbeats/

It is absolutely essential that we deal with this issue as a matter of importance in three key paarts:

Know the risk: knowing the specific risk as it relates to our community and region can help us better prepare for instance in Trinidad and Tobago, we have two seasons wet and dry, hence when we are in our rainy season during the months of June-December we are prone to flash flooding,

Floods in North West Trinidad and Tobago 

Source: http://ttnewsflash.com/?p=1957

While during our dry months we experience a number of forest fires, this affect the hillsides and roadways, these hazards leave the population vulnerable to flooding.

Forest Fire 

Source: http://caribmove.blogspot.com/2011/05/professor-norman-girvan-on-existential.html

Make a plan – It will help us and our family know what to do since they may not be together, this is especially important when there are infants and elders in your family, they must be aware of what need to be done in the event of a disaster, this could mean life or death. This plan should include:

  •  out-of-town contact, such as a friend or relative, who family members can call to let them know they are safe.
  • ensure that family members how to text. since during an emergency it’s often easier to get a text message delivered rather than a phone call.
  • teach all your children how and when to call 911 for help.

Emergency kit – now this can either a DIY project follow instructions here for you or you can purchase an inexpensive one here or another but more costly, could be found here but this has enough supplies for a family of four, it will be based on your preference which you choose.

The key is to try to assemble your kit well in advance since disasters can happen at moments notice, this is necessary since you may need  to survive on your own after a emergency so ensure you have enough water, food and other supplies to last at least four (4) days.

Pointe – a- Pierre Wildfowl Trust – An Island Paradise

Indian Peacock

Source: http://aimtvgroup.com/rawtravelblog/?p=397

Pointe-a- Pierre wildfowl trust: a must see situated on oil refinery lands, this nonprofit trust covers 25 hectares and is a sanctuary for endangered birds (including the scarlet ibis), this trust was established by Richard. S. Deon in 1966. This trust is a national non-profit organization to protect endangered birds and waterfowl and breeds other birds for future return to the wild. There is also two lakes, trails, a learning centre with natural history displays and a small Amerindian museum, along with accommodation for overnight stay.

Biodiversity is the variety of different species living in a habitat. In its simplest term meaning the bigger and greater the range of species in one environment, the more diversity we consider this environment to have. While an ecosystem is a community of living organisms in conjunction with the non living components of their environment interacting as a system.

Sitting Area in Wild Fowl Trust

Source: http://www.freewebs.com/thenestsiparia/wildfowl%20trust1.jpg

The wild fowl trust, although it is not a natural wetland it is a good stimulation of natural wetland ecosystem because it consist of both abiotic and biotic factors. This man-made wetland ecosystem, is home for many types of birds also providing feed and a resting places for these birds on migration.

Ecosystems consist of life forms existing in a symbiotic relationship with their environment. Life forms in ecosystems compete with one another to become the most successful at reproducing and surviving in a given niche, or environment. Two main components exist in an ecosystem: abiotic and biotic. The abiotic components of any ecosystem are the properties of the environment; the biotic components are the life forms that occupy a given ecosystem.

Abiotic components of an ecosystem consist of the nonorganic aspects of the environment that determine what life forms can thrive for example temperature, average humidity, topography and natural disturbances water and wind.

The biotic components of an ecosystem are the life forms that inhabit it. The life forms of an ecosystem aid in the transfer and cycle of energy. They are grouped in terms of the means they use to get energy. Producers such as plants produce their own energy without consuming other life forms; plants gain their energy from conducting photosynthesis via sunlight. Consumers exist on the next level of the food chain. There are three main types of consumers: herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Herbivores feed on plants, carnivores get their food by eating other carnivores or herbivores, and omnivores can digest both plant and animal tissue, see more information in my previous post importance of the ecosystem here.

Black-Bellied Whistling Tree Duck

Source: https://hypertonicblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/

An ecosystem is a community of living organisms (such as plants, animals, and microbes) in conjunction with the non-living components of their environment (such as air, water, and minerals soil) interacting as a system.

“No man is an island,” this saying is also true for organisms in an ecosystem. No organism exists in isolation. Individual organisms live together in an ecosystem and depend on one another. In fact, they have many different types of interaction with each other and many of these interactions are critical for their survival.

¨The different ways organisms obtain their food and energy. Sun → producers → primary consumers → secondary consumers → tertiary consumers.

Symbiosis interaction such as:

  • Commensalism: is a relationship between two species in which one clearly benefits and the other is not harmed.
  • Parasitism: is when two different species, where one benefits and the other is harmed (host).
  • Mutualism: is when two organisms of different species “work together” each benefiting from the relationship.

Now a renewable resource is a resource which is replaced naturally and can be used again, for instance oxygen, fresh water, solar energy, timber and biomass. Renewable resources may also include goods commodities such as wood, paper and leather.

Mankind benefits in a multitude of ways from ecosystem collectively, these benefits are known as ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are regularly involved in the provisioning of clean drinking water and the decomposition of waste. Mankind benefits from the ecosystem service in ways like provisioning such as production of food and water, regulating such as the control of climate and disease, supporting such as nutrient cycle and crop pollination and cultural such as spiritual and recreational benefits.

Species of plants found in the wildfowl trust:

Fern, lotus, nyphia, queen of flowers, weed grass, calba tree, silk cotton, poui, mahogany, naked indain tree, calabash tree, paper bark tree, mango tree, bayleaf, Chinese tamarind, sahari leave.

Species of animals found in the wildfowl trust:

Tilapia, peacock, black belly whistling tree duck, wabine, dragon fly, turtle, macaw, scarlet ibis, Muscovy duck, jesus bird, gallinule, snake bird, pacu, white face whistling duck.

Special thanks to the student of College of Science, Technology & Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) who are responsible for the research in this post.  

Reference:

Ecosystem. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecosystem

Khan Academy. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/CAS-biodiversity/why-is-biodiversity-important-ca/biodiversity-and-ecosystem-funct/a/ecological-interactions

Natural resource. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_resource

Pointe a Pierre Wild Fowl Trust – An Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://www.papwildfowltrust.org/index.php/about-us/an-overview.html

The 2 Main Components of an Ecosystem | The Classroom | Synonym. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://classroom.synonym.com/2-main-components-ecosystem-2576.html

The 2 Main Components of an Ecosystem | The Classroom | Synonym. (n.d.). Retrieved May 4, 2015, from http://classroom.synonym.com/2-main-components-ecosystem-2576.html

Five effective ways to reduce plastic around you

To all of us plastic bags seem like the only mode of transporting things or as I like to call it (in my local Trinidad accent) “things”, from one location to another mostly because of its super utility function, but do we stop for a moment (I know I sometimes don’t, I’m being honest) to think about how damaging plastic is to the environment if disposed of inappropriately. Plastic is trans-boundary in nature, hence it does not only impact the environment at source but the entire planet.

Turtle consuming a piece of plastic 

Source: http://coastalcare.org/2009/11/plastic-pollution/

Fact: Thousands of marine animals especially turtles die from consuming plastic every year. Humans as usual inappropriately dispose of plastic waste any and everywhere and for some reason refuses to clean up after themselves, this is frequently done at the beaches. Now marine animals cannot differentiate between a piece of plastic and a jelly fish, also plastic takes a significant number of years to decompose this lingering effect causes land pollution.  It is also worth noting that only half of all plastic waste floats.

The rapidly increasing demand for the production of plastic products comes from every corner and aspect of modern societies, so how exactly can we stop the overall demand  for plastic, hereunder I would explore five options I have implemented and  utilize in my daily living and you can too.

1.   Only use recycle able bags when shopping, these at usually fabric bags available at most retailers although it may cost a buck more than the free plastic bags we love so much, you would get a fair amount of use for months and years to come. A point worth noting is that no amount of money is not saving our planet.

Reusable fabric bag

Source: http://multiwood.in/savetrees/reduce-reuse-and-recycle/

2.    Plastic is a grand aspect of our so call modern fast pace, driven society but by making a conscious decision to only use a metal bottle at school, work let’s just say every where you go can really reduce plastic waste. Think about it like this on average a human consumes 8-10 glades of water, right, which approximates to five 20oz bottles of water, do the maths so one person would use and dispose of one hundred and fifty 20oz bottles for the month. Personally I only use glass bottles to drink water, I would usually fill up at the water cooler.

Water bottles 

Source: http://www.bizenergy.ca/blog/plastic-water-bottles-and-the-environment-how-bad-is-bad/

3.   Recycle glass bottles by using them for storage at home and taking lunch to work. Rethink, reconsider and reuse make an effort to say no to single use plastic.

4.    As much as possible eat in at restaurants, by doing this you would  drastically reduce the packaging need to store your takeout food. Also styophone is the primary form of packaging foods at restaurants which is very bad for your health, especially when hot food are stored on them. Yes we understand that plastic is cheap and efficient, but its extremely harmful to the marine environment, this is worth continuously noting.

5.    Although plastic is light weight it does not compress, which result in it taking up a lot of space, try and purchase only large items or the refillable items, even it may seek impossible to stop using plastic, at least we can reduce its use.

Customer refilling a shampoo bottle 

Source: http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/green-life-column-shut-up-and-eat-your-dinner

Plastic has a big social cost attached to it but do you realize we the consumers are paying that bill year after year. The point is to make a product with as little product as possible. Clean environment depends on us, so let’s consume wisely please reduce and recycle.

DENY THE CONCEPT OF WASTE

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Three most common species of Mangroves

Mangroves are considered tropical plants that are adapted to loose, wet soils, salt water, periodically submerged by tides.  The four (4)  factors that limit the distribution of mangroves are climate, salt water, tidal fluctuation and soil type. Now there are over 100 species of mangroves but the three most common will be discussed here under.

1.  White Mangrove – This type of mangroves are trees grown on land and is found in tidal areas as well as around lagoons and ponds, these also produce a fruit with a sapling inside. The fruit is small, dry, leathery and ribbed like a prune.

White mangrove

Source: https://envirodiva.wordpress.com/tag/white-mangrove/

2.   Red Mangrove – These referred to the walking trees, mainly because of their special roots called prop roots, that are usually grwn from their branches down into the water, making the trees appear as if they are walking. The unique differences of the red mangroves are that the leaves are large and egg shaped with the top dark green and the bottom light green and waxy like a candle, this keeps the tree from losing its water.

Red mangrove

Source: http://www.naturefoundationsxm.org/education/mangroves/red_mangrove.htm

3.   Black Mangroves – These are grown in muddy or sandy soil further inland that the red. These type of mangroves has special parts that help theim to survive in the marsh land. Their roots stick up from the ground like straws; which helps to bring much needed oxygen to the trees. Oil pollution and water is very dangerous to this type of mangroves, since it hinders the trees from receiving oxygen. The leaves are narrow, with an egg shape and pointy ends, these are dark green or whitish in colour.

Black mangroves

Source: http://www.naturefoundationsxm.org/education/mangroves/black_mangroves.htm

Mangroves are very important to the environment, they are frequently neglected and taken for granted mostly because of its natural constituents of cleaning itself, but please not that there capacity to do this is rapidly diminishing due to increase pollution and a don’t care attitude of most citizens.

Importance of Eco System

aquatic ecosystems

Ecosystem

Source: http://iesa-fao.org/aquatic-ecosystems.html 

An ecosystem is generally a community of plants, animals or small organism that live, feed, reproduce and interact in the same area or environment, some can be very large while others may be physically small.

This environment supplies materials and energy, requirements and provides living conditions to organism communities. Now an organism community is considered a biological community living within the non-living environment given the term an ecosystem. An ecosystem can be natural or artificial, permanent or temporary which can be either coral reef, pond, grassland or a village.

While, the name given to the study of an ecosystem is called ecology, or how living things relate within their  environment and to one another. In order to truly appreciate the ecosystem we must understanding this relationship which is vitally important because living things and non-living things depend upon and impact on each other, specifically for survival.

The ecosystem is a dynamic system that includes, a biotic component and abiotic environment influencing the properties of each other and both necessary for maintenance of life. The two (2) main components of the ecosystem are:

Biotic means living, and biotic factors are the other, living parts of the ecosystem with which an organism must interact. The biotic factors with which an organism interacts depend on whether it is a producer, a consumer, or a decomposer, but nevertheless these include water, fish, plant and microorganism.

Environment of an ecosystem 

Source: http://www.mrconte.com/2013/abiotic-biotic-factors/

While, the abiotic factors are chemical and physical factors such as temperature, soil composition, and climate, along with the amount of sunlight, salinity, and pH. These includes air, carbon dioxide, oxygen, soil (nutrients), water and sunlight.

These two factors are connected to each other like how the river is connected to the ocean, however human behaviors may affect and modify natural ecosystem into man-made or anthropogenic ecosystems lets take for example a forest which is an important aspect of an ecosystem since it provides food and shelter for juvenile animals are being cut down and turned into tree planting and agricultural systems.

It is worth noting that there exits two overall categories of the ecosystem in nature terrestrial and aquatic, these two aspects of the ecosystem are very different and unique and are not very easy to compare or define because of the variety existing within, discussed here-under.

  • Terrestrial ecosystem – is a community of organisms and their environment that is found on land this type of ecosystem includes tundra, taiga, deciduous forest, grasslands, tropical rain-forest and deserts.

Terrestrial ecosystems are characterized by greater temperature fluctuations on both and seasonal basis than those occurring in an aquatic ecosystems in similar climates. The availability of light is greater in terrestrial ecosystems than in aquatic ecosystems because the atmosphere is more transparent in land than in water, also gases are more available in terrestrial ecosystems such as carbon dioxide this is critical for the processes of photosynthesis, which gases are obtained and where the physical energy of light is transformed into the organic energy of carbon-carbon bonds through the process of photosynthesis.

Terrestrial Ecosystem 

Source: http://belizeinfocenter.org/ecosystems/terrestrial-ecosystems/

  • Aquatic ecosystem – is an ecosystems in a body of water, these are divided into two main areas marine and freshwater ecosystems. Aquatic environment are very stable as compared to the terrestrial environment, with smaller fluctuations in temperature and other variables, light and oxygen are limiting factors in the aquatic ecosystem.

Water supply is closely related to the aquatic ecosystems and ecosystem sustainability in an overall sense. Nature has a well orchestrated system and a unique and powerful mechanism to perform its function in what we can refer to as a balancing act for the overall benefit of all living things, but in the aquatic ecosystem one of its most important roles is to act as a giant water filter and as a means of re-charging reserves of resources that are necessary for life.

Aquatic Ecosystem 

Source: http://www.wiser.eu/

In other words, if we protect existing natural habitats, we will help to maintain biodiversity, unfortunately, natural habitats and their ecosystems although so precious are more and more endangered because of the damaging environmental effects of growing human populations everywhere and all of our activities.

It is very important to understand and appreciate the way the ecosystem work, in order for us as citizens of this planet to develop knowledge about how to protect and preserve the ecosystem by developing and implementing the appropriate management structures.

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Mangroves and its unique importance

Today being Earth Day, I thought it would fitting to discuss an area of the environment that’s frequently ignored.

Mangroves are a very important and critical part of the coastal areas and since they are highly populated and production ecosystems that provides a number of goods and services to the marine environment and people. Hence the slightest ecological imbalance will take a heavy toll on the environment. Mangroves play a vital role in stabilizing, the area by transferring organic matter and energy from the land to the marine ecosystem.

Mangroves 

Source: http://www.asknature.org/strategy/f580efcadd6c8c19dadf3811bdd6222d 

Now it is worth noting that the mangroves truly acts as protective barrier for the shorelines and sea, and that should be enough to convince us that they are worth preserving, unfortunately it is not enough.

The goods and services provided by mangroves are estimated at  US$186 million these includes:

  • Fisheries – Mangroves are home to a large variety of fish, crap and shrimp species.  These fisheries provide an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities across the world, making mangroves vitally important to coral reefs and commercial fisheries. But more than that the young fish would usually stay in the mangrove where they would be fed and sheltered from predators.
  • Timber and plant products – Mangrove wood is very resistant to rot and insects making it extremely valuable, again many coastal and indigenous communities use this wood for construction and as fuel. These coastal communities also collect plants for medicinal purposes using the leaves as animal fodder.
  • Coastal protection – One of the most important benefits of mangroves roots is that they are so deep they trap sediments flowing down river and off the land. This helps to stabilize the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms, also protecting coral reefs and sea grass meadows from being smothered in sediment.

The shoreline around the world are facing a number of serious challenges of coastal erosion and threat of rising sea levels have increased the threat exceptionally to reduce global warming. Also to assist in the control of the potential destruction of the sea on land mother nature have provided us with Mangroves, a tropical marine ecosystem which is more dynamic than the sea itself.

image

<strong>Mangrove in the sea but close enough to protect the shore

Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Mangrove_auf_Cayo_Levisa,_Kuba.jpg

Now when I say specialized tropical marine ecosystem it means the group of plants growing in muddy, loose wet soil in tropical and sub-tropical areas, and although they are highly productive they are also extremely sensitive and fragile and worth saving. Think about this famous saying on this special day “Earth Day” you would never miss the water till the well runs dry. Have a wonderful day.

Polluted mangrove in Jakarta

Source: http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/photos-jakarta-the-sinking-megacity

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