Category Archives: biodiversity

Scientists Warn of Permanent drought for 25% of the Earth by 2050, If Paris Goals Are Not Reached


There are lots of research on climate change and these studies have stated the detrimental effects of man-made gases that are released into the atmosphere daily. However, a recent study on the ever-growing effects of global climate inaction has stated that almost every part of the earth could end up in a long-lasting state of drought if its temperature rises or warms up to 2ºC by 2050.

However, it is important to note that a top researcher in this study named Manoj Joshi has this to say, “The research envisages that desertification would increase about 20% or more on the land surface if the global temperature reaches 2ºC”. Nevertheless, this new study has been published in the journal, Nature.

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Today, climate change has been as a result of man-made activities, and researchers have linked and stated that the spread of extreme droughts has been as a result of human activities for many years. It has also been known that the only way to limit these effects is by avoiding the conditions that could result in climate change to a temperature of about 1.5ºC.

Furthermore, Dr. SU-Jong Jeong, a scientist in China’s University of Science and Technology has also concluded that “the temperature of the earth has warmed up by 1ºC but to keep global warming by 1.5ºC, is to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which may lead to the circumvention of aridification in many parts of the earth” this includes America, Africa, Australia, and Asia (which has almost 20% of the world’s population)

“It is important to know that aridification poses a serious risk to the earth because of its threat to vital areas such as biodiversity, farming, water quality, and so on”. Lead researcher and author at the Southern University and Technology in Shenzen, China, Chang-Eui Park, stated this in a recent news release. He has also indicated that aridification can also result in an increase in more droughts and wildfires in many parts of the world – related to those seen intense in California and its environs.

The recent research also concluded and showed that decreasing global warming to a 1.5ºC rise would prevent the spread of drought, and it is important to note that the rates of drought across the world today has already increased beyond human expectations. This is due to the fact that the temperature of the Earth has sporadically risen to 1ºC in global average temperature.

Scientists have taken a critical look at the probable occurrence of aridification for different levels of global warming, containing a 1.5ºC and 2ºC rise in the average temperature of the earth. Although, the Paris climate accord has been with lots of critics from environmentalists and scientists as not being adequate to the tasks of combating the problems associated with climate change which is already imposing lots of havoc across the world today. Nevertheless, the main objective of the Paris agreement is to decrease global warming to 2ºC by the end of the century. However, if we are to achieve this feat, “prompt measures” have to be taken to restrain the emergence of aridification.

The issue associated with the Paris agreement is that the U.S (which is the second largest emitter of carbon in the world) recently withdrew its support for the Paris accord under the governance of President Donald Trump. Meanwhile, President Trump has instead, moved to other directions stated by other scientists. Together with this, Trump has also increased his actions to gut adequate measures that have been put to place for environmental protection by the former administration during his first year in office, and it is vital to know that Trump is showing no signs of limiting his actions.

Furthermore, Trump has also stated last week of his enthusiasm of a warmer planet, when he tweeted that the United States “could use a little bit of that good old global warning” to fight the cold weather that is taking over other states in the east. In addition to this, he has shown that he is unaware of the discrepancy between weather and climate. Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S from the Paris climate accord has been criticized by lots of ecologists as “stupid and reckless”

The reckless decision has categorized Trump’s tactic to the environment, not only to the United States alone but also to the world – throughout his first year as the President of the United States. However, Trump’s tweet last week sparked lots of comments from environmentalists and analysts, but this is not the first tweet made by the American President on cold weather to suggest that the world should embrace climate crisis.

Moreover, David Sirota of the International Business Times has said that the president tweet should be preserved forever so that generations to come can know the reason why the American government didn’t take adequate measures to combat climate change.

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him. Follow him on Facebook here.

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25+ Spectacular Facts About the Amazon Rainforest


The Amazon Rainforest, also known as Amazonia, is located in South America and is the world’s largest tropical rainforest covering an area of 5,500,000 km2. Due to its large size, the Amazon forest covers a territory of nine nations with the biggest part of it in Brazil. The climate within the region is mainly tropical with hot, humid and very wet conditions.

The rainforest ecosystem is critically important for the well-being of the planet because it plays a highly significant role in stabilizing the world’s climate. The Amazon forest also provides home to many plants and animals and for this reason, it qualifies as a major tourist destination for the lovers of nature. These are just a few of the many facts about the Amazon Rainforest. Below are more than 25+ spectacular facts about the Amazon Rainforest.

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Fact 1: The Amazon rainforest covers over half of the world’s remaining rainforest. Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest. Only 6% of the earth’s surface is covered by the rainforest and out of this, the Amazon rainforest covers over half of the world’s remaining rainforests.

Fact 2: It is located in a territory of nine countries. Amazon is located in a territory of nine nations including Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. Brazil takes the largest share of the rainforest, about 60%, while roughly 13% of it is in Peru and 10% of it is in Colombia.

Fact 3: The Amazon has a rich ecosystem. The Amazon is virtually unrivalled in scale and complexity of animal and plant species. It houses at least 10% of the world’s known biodiversity and is the home ground of more than 16,000 different species of trees, 2.5 million insect species, 40,000 plant species, 2,200 fish species, 1,300 bird species, 427 mammals, 430 amphibian species and 380 reptile species which have been classified just within the region.

Fact 4: Interestingly, a European by the name Francisco de Orellana is named after the Amazon for navigating the entire Amazon River. He gained recognition as the first explorer to traverse the Amazon River within the Amazon rainforest.

Fact 5: Deforestation is extensive in the rainforest. On aerial view, the Amazon rainforest is depleting at an astonishing rate because of extensive deforestation. Experts postulate that in the next forty years, the rainforest will be completely lost especially if action is not taken to address the problem. The rainforest is disappearing at a rate of 1.5 acres every second. The main reason for deforestation in the area is to clear the forest for cattle grazing and crop production.

Fact 6: A quarter of the western medicine pharmaceuticals used today has rainforest based ingredients that originate from the Amazon rainforest. Currently, over 120 drugs come from plant-derived sources and 70% of the plants identified as active against cancer cells come from the rainforest. It is even believed that the cure of cancer may be found in the Amazon rainforest.

Fact 7: The Amazon trees and plants provide more than 20% of the world’s oxygen. Considering the large size of the rainforest, it generates more than 20% of the globe’s oxygen and perhaps the reason it is known as the “lungs of the planet”. The vegetation in the Amazon continuously draws in and recycles carbon dioxide into oxygen and releasing it into the atmosphere, acting as a giant air machine.

Fact 8: There are about 50 indigenous tribes with their own language and culture living in the Amazon rainforest. The more than 50 indigenous communities in the Amazon have also never made contact with anyone outside the rainforest. Brazil’s Amazon is said to host the majority of the indigenous tribes. Most of the tribes are not settled in a specific location but rather move from one location to another often. They are nomadic hunters and gatherers.

Fact 9: The rainforest is home to very many dangerous animals. From poisonous reptiles to predatory creatures, the Amazon rainforest hosts numerous dangerous creatures. In fact, some the creatures, like the poison dart frog has enough venom that can kill up to 10 humans. The eight most dangerous Amazonian rainforest animals are the Green Anaconda, Poison dart frog, Brazilian wandering spider, the Jaguar, Electric Eel, South American Rattlesnake, Bullet Ant and the Red Bellied piranhas.

Fact 10: There are hundreds of endangered and threatened species of Amazon wildlife. About 137 species of the plants, animals and insects become extinct everyday through forces of destruction such as logging and cattle ranching, which have contributed to the loss of many acres of the rainforest. In the present day, anthropogenic activities in the Amazon rainforest threaten numerous species that at the verge of extinction.

Fact 11: The Amazon suffered a drought in the years 2005 and 2010. In 2005 and 2010, the Amazon rainforest experienced a significant drop in rainfall causing the Rio Negro Tributary to fall to its lowest level on record and the release of greenhouse gases from dead wood. The drought also resulted in very low stream flows and increased frequency of forest fires.

Fact 12: The Amazon River is the world’s largest river by volume. The Amazon rainforest hosts the Amazon River, which is the largest by volume and the second longest in length globally. The river has 17 tributaries draining 55 million gallons of water per second into the Atlantic Ocean, making it the largest in the quantity of water that it transports.

Fact 13: The floor of the Amazon forest is completely dark. The broad-leafy canopies of the Amazon trees block most of the sunlight. Only 1% of the light makes it to the floor. The broad-leaf canopies also slow down rainwater, making it take up to ten minutes to reach the ground.

Fact 14: One in five of all bird and fish species live in the Amazon. 10% of the world’s species live in the Amazon and 20% of the world’s known birds live in the Amazon. The Amazon is thus home to more species of plants and animals than any other terrestrial ecosystem on the planet. It is believed that the ants found in a single bush within the Amazon can be more than the entire British Isles.

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Fact 15: Agricultural activities are not sustainable in the rainforest. The region most has infertile soils that cannot support crops for a long period of time. It is the reason those living in the rainforest have to move often. The soils are notoriously thin and poor in nutrients. Surprisingly, rich rainforests grow on the soils even though they are low in mineral content.

Fact 16: The Amazon River once flowed West ward. A long time ago, the river once flowed east-to-west, but due to the continental drift, it created a raised highland along the east coast of South America, which tilted the Amazon flow, sending water and sediments rushing towards the center of the continent.

Fact 17: The toucan is the loudest creature in the Amazon. It is a brilliantly colored arboreal fruit-eating bird, which aids to give it camouflage in the tropical rainforest.

Fact 18: A three degrees rise in temperature will destroy 75% of the Amazon rainforest. Climate change experts warn that global temperature increases will kill the rainforest within 100 years. The impacts of the temperature rise cannot be seen now but it will surely affect the rainforests in years to come.

Fact 19: The Amazon depends on a continuous supply of dust containing phosphorous for fertilization. The phosphorus dust is blown from the Sahara Desert over the Atlantic Ocean by wind. Strong winds sweeping across the Sahara help in the process. Phosphorous is an essential nutrient that acts like a fertilizer which the Amazon depends on to flourish.

Fact 20: Martin Strel holds the Guinness World Record for swimming the entire length of 5,268 m of the Amazon River for 66 days. He was the first man to swim the entire length of the Amazon River from headwaters in Peru to the Brazilian port city of Belem.

Fact 21: Efforts to curb deforestation in the Amazon have been difficult. Actions to address the deforestation problem have been difficult over the years until recently when laws and stricter policies were put in place to protect the forest from deforestation. Conservation policies, improved law enforcement and new protected areas have played a significant role.

Fact 22: In the past years, the Amazon has suffered a loss of approximately 20% of its size due to the cutting down of trees. All of it started with the controversial Trans-Amazonian Highway, which created room logging and more destructive actions such as illegal hunting of wildlife and clearing of interior forest areas for farming and settling squatters.

Fact 23: The Kapok tree is the tallest in the Amazon. The tree can grow to lengths of 200 ft towering over the other rainforest vegetation.

Fact 24: More than 80% of the types of food the globe consumes have its origin in the Amazon rainforest. More than 3000 fruit types that grow in the rainforest are edible. They include avocados, coconuts, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, pineapples, and mangoes. A variety of vegetables and spices were also originally found in the rainforest.

Fact 25: The biodiversity of plant species in the Amazon is the greatest in the world. Every one hectare (2.47acres) contains 750 types of tree species and 1500 types of plant species.

Fact 26: The Amazon rainforest acts as a carbon sink. Because of its vastness, the Amazon rainforest absorbs and stores carbon dioxide. The rainforest therefore plays a crucial role in maintaining the global carbon levels.

Image credit: skitter , pixabay

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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Types, Importance and Examples of Ecology?


Ecology is a branch of biology concerned with understanding how organisms relate with each other and their environment. This branch of biology mainly deals with the relationships between the organisms, their relationships among each other, their relationships towards the shared resources, their relationships with the space they share, and even their relationships with the non-living aspects in the environment.

In understanding the given relationship, ecology encompasses aspects such as population growth, competition, symbiotic ecologic relationships (mutualism), trophic relations (energy transfer from one section of the food chain to the next), biodiversity, migration and physical environment interactions. Because ecology includes all the living organisms on earth and their physical as well as chemical surroundings, it is divided into several categories which bring about different types of ecology as discussed below:

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Types of Ecology

1. Microbial Ecology

Microbial ecology looks at the smallest fundamental levels of life, that is, the cellular level. It involves mainly the first two life kingdoms which are; Kingdom Monera and Kingdom Protista. Here, the connections are made between microbes and their relationships with each other and their environments.

Microbial ecology is particularly important in the analysis of evolutionary connections and events leading to existence (known as phylogeny). These connections help us understand the relationships shared among organisms. It is particularly interested in DNA and RNA structures as they carry most of the information passed along from organisms to their progeny, providing the data ecologists need.

2. Organism/Behavioural Ecology

This is the study of the organism at its fundamental levels and can encompass microbial ecology. In this type of ecology, the main goal is to understand the organism’s behaviours, adaptations for such behaviours, reason for those behaviours as explained through the lens of evolution, and the way all these aspects mesh together.

In this case, the main concern is the individual organism and all its different nuances, especially in trying to understand how it all ties together to enhance the survival of the organism or any beneficial adaptations.

3. Population Ecology

Population ecology is the next rank on the ecological ladder. Population ecology focuses on the population, defined as a group of organisms of the same species living in the same area at the same time. Here, attention is given to things such as population size, its density, the structure of the population, migration patterns, and the interaction between organisms of the same population.

It tries to explain the different changes in each of the dynamics of the population such as why numbers would increase and whether this affects any other aspects of the population such as its density.

4. Community Ecology

Community ecology takes a look at the community, defined as all the populations that live in a given area. This includes all the different species populations. The focus here is usually on the interactions between the different species and how their numbers and sizes all mesh together and how change in one population change the dynamic of the whole community.

The animal populations here are exposed to more complex interactions given their increased species numbers which give rise to dynamics such as trophic relationships (who eats who), space dynamics, migration patterns and the most important ecological driving force when it comes to inter/intra species interaction.

5. Ecosystem Ecology

Ecosystem ecology makes a unique contribution to understanding ecology by adding abiotic (non-living) factors to the items analysed, alongside the biotic (living) factors involved. This interaction therefore involves all aspects of the environment and how they interact.

It includes understanding how things like climate and soil composition affect the behaviours and interactions of populations from different species. It also includes a wide range of factors to better understand the whole aspect of interaction between the living things and their environments/habitats.

6. Global Ecology (Biosphere)

The global ecology is principally important in understanding all the ecosystems affecting the entire globe. This includes all the different biomes, with considerations of aspects such as climate and other environmental geography.

It means, global ecology takes into account the whole world’s biosphere while considering all living organisms from the microscopic to higher lifeforms, the environments they leave in, the interactions that they have with each other, the influences that their environments have on these interactions and vice versa, and finally, how they are all interconnected under the common ground that they all share a single planet – the Earth.

Importance of Ecology

The study of ecology is important in ensuring people understand the impact of their actions on the life of the planet as well as on each other. Here are the reasons why ecology is important:

1. It helps in environmental conservation

Ecology allows us to understand the effects our actions have on our environment. With this information, it helps guide conservation efforts by first showing the primary means by which the problems we experience within our environment begin and by following this identification process, it shows us where our efforts would have the biggest effect.

Ecology also shows individuals the extent of the damage we cause to the environment and provides predictive models on how bad the damage can get. These indicators instil a sense of urgency among the population, pushing people to actively take part in conservation efforts and ensure the longevity of the planet.

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2. Ensures proper resource allocation

Ecology equally allows us to see the purpose of each organism in the web of connectivity that makes up the ecosystem. With this knowledge, we are able to ascertain which resources are essential for the survival of the different organisms. This is very fundamental when it comes to assessing the needs of human beings who have the biggest effect on the ecosystem.

An example is human dependency on fossil fuels that has led to the increase of carbon footprint in the ecosystem. It is ecology that allows humans to see these problems which then calls for the need to make informed decisions on how to adjust our resource demands to ensure that we do not burden the environment with demands that are unsustainable.

3. Enhances energy conservation

Energy conservation and ecology is connected in that, it aids in understanding the demands different energy sources have on the environment. Consequently, it is good for decision making in terms of deciding resources for use as well as how to efficiently convert them into energy.

Without proper understanding of energy facts through ecology, humans can be wasteful in their use of allotted resources such as indiscriminate burning of fuels or the excessive cutting down of trees. Staying informed about the ecological costs allows people to be more frugal with their energy demands and adopt practices that promote conservation such as switching of lights during the day and investing in renewable energy.

4. Promotes eco-friendliness

With all the information and research obtained from ecology, it ultimately promotes eco-friendliness. It makes people aware of their environment and encourages the adoption of a lifestyle that protects the ecology of life owing to the understanding they have about it.

This means that in the long-term, people tend to live less selfishly and make strides towards protecting the interest of all living things with the realization that survival and quality life depends on environment sustainability. Hence, it fosters a harmonious lifestyle and assures longevity for all organisms.

5. Aids in disease and pest control

A great number of diseases are spread by vectors. The study of ecology offers the world novel ways of understanding how pests and vectors behave thereby equipping humans with knowledge and techniques on how to manage pests and diseases.

For example, malaria which is one of the leading killer diseases is spread by the female Anopheles mosquito. In a bid to control malaria, humans must first understand how the insect interacts with its environment in terms of competition, sex, and breeding preferences. The same applies to other diseases and pests. By understanding the life cycles and preferred methods of propagation of different organisms in the ecosystem, it has created impressive ways to device controls measures.

Examples of Ecology

Examples of ecology are simply aspects that seek to study how the various types of ecology come about. For instance, the study of humans and their relationship with the environment gives us human ecology. Alternatively, studying a food chain in a wetland area gives wetland ecology while the study of how termites or other small organisms interact with their habitat brings about niche construction ecology. Here are two basic examples to elaborate examples of ecology in details.

1. Human ecology

This aspect of ecology looks at the relationship between humans and the ecosystem as a whole. It is centred on human beings, studying their behaviour and hypothesises the evolutionary reasons why we might have taken up some traits.

Emphasis is placed on this due to the impact human beings have on the environment and it also gives us knowledge about the shortcomings of the entire human population and how to better ourselves for our own sake and that of the environment.

2. Niche construction

Niche construction is an example of ecology dealing with the study of how organisms are able to alter their environment for their benefit and also for the benefit of other living things. It is of particular interest to ecologists who desire to understand how some organisms overcome the challenges presented to them.

A prime example is how termites are well organized and equipped to erect mound that stand over 6 feet tall while at the same time protecting and feeding their entire population. In going about their niche, ants also recycle nutrients for plants. This presents a good example of ecology because it is all about evolution and other several aspects regarding population, community and ecosystem ecology.

Image credit: pixabay , pexels

Rinkesh

Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.

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