Biodiversity supports our natural systems to function by providing important services. They provide soil nutrient recycling, pollution absorption and biological resources. It’s the water we drink, the air we breathe and the food we eat. In short: human survival depends upon these vital ‘ecosystem services’. People aren’t trying to harm biodiversity because they want to. What happens is that we are unable to see the connections between what we do and the downstream effects.
Land use change threatens global biodiversity. It may reshape the tree of life by favouring some lineages over others. Land use change happens with the transition from natural to agricultural lands. It is a primary driver of biodiversity loss worldwide.
Moreover, it threatens even those organisms that deliver essential ecosystem services to agriculture. Insects are responsible for pollinating most of our valuable and nutritious crops.
Diverse bee communities ensure high and stable delivery of pollination services. Habitat loss and agricultural intensification has a direct connection to recent bee declines. Pollination is a key element in agriculture. Other key elements include pest control, water and fertiliser management . Many fruits and vegetables need insect pollination for crop production. For this reason many agricultural practices go hand in hand with pollination strategies.
What we could do to help increase the number of pollinators:
Make your city Green
All kinds of plants give food sources and safe habitat to pollinators. It will increase their numbers and the urban environment will be more alive. Entomophilous plants (flowers, trees and shrubs) are especially beneficial in urban green spaces.
Avoid soil tillage
Many bee species nest or hibernate underground. Soil management can affect their survival. Their growth depends on soil texture, ground cover and other soil abiotic conditions. Those factors can limit the population growth of soil nesting bees.
Reduce – Reuse – Recycle
Reducing the demand of new resources will contribute to save natural habitats. Habitats get destroyed so we can get these resources. or the energy to make the products and the waste rejection into landfills.
Composting the organic leftovers
We reduce waste and we increase the content of soil nutrients by returning organics back to the soil. Soil biota is important to grow healthy plants. Organic waste is the largest group of rubbish in an average household. Next time you clean out your fridge don’t throw away those mouldy leftovers. Remember that you can feed your plants and through them, give food to the valuable bees.
Support organic products and local farmers
Avoid pesticides and chemical fertilisers, so that we can reduce contamination. In that way we preserve aquatic biodiversity of adjacent waters. Besides improving quality of subterranean waters and we preserve the nearby beneficial insects.
Ecological restoration where we live
Groups of active citizens spend their free time in ecological restoration activities. Reforestation, garbage picking and many different activities, protect and restore natural ecosystems. By reestablishing biodiversity and strengthening habitat communities, we eradicate invasive exotic species (weeds). We can also help with reintroducing native species.
Regeneration is more than a tool to seclude carbon. It’s the path to honouring indigenous wisdom and practices that will build resiliency. It will preserve the environment for future generations.
Article written by Maria Tzannetou, March 2021
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