Considering the threats facing ecosystems, we can begin to appreciate the importance of policy, rules and regulation in human activity towards ecosystems. Here are a few ways we can ensure the health and smooth functioning of ecosystems.
Economic activity should be managed and made sustainable. Tree cutting, for example, must be regulated and best practices enforced.
In many of the tragedies that ecosystems have faced with the introduction of alien species, humans have caused that. It is crucial that proper inspection, regulation, research and monitoring systems are in place to protect weaker native species in ecosystems if new species are to be introduced.
One big cause of eutrophication is the runoff of surface chemicals and fertilizers applied to plants during farming. Whiles we need food to survive, it is important that we encourage organic planting as against the heavy use of chemicals. Sewage also needs to be inspected and monitored such that when the wastewater is deposited into water bodies, it is properly filtered and treated to reduce the organic nutrient content.
Air and land pollution together have effects on water bodies too. Acid rains and chemical runoff all affect life forms in the water. Oils that are discharged into water bodies can have a devastating effect. “In aquatic ecosystems, air pollution acidifies surface waters, reducing their ability to sustain native fish. In estuaries and coastal waters, it contributes to nutrient over-enrichment, producing algal blooms, foul smells and low oxygen levels. It also causes mercury to accumulate in aquatic food webs, threatening the health of both people and wild animals2”
Ozone is a secondary pollutant. It is the result of the formation of precursors nitrogen oxides and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC). Biomass burning produces this. It is known that forest cover act as a net sink of ozone. It is therefore important that we preserve natural vegetative covers on earth and invest in energy forms that reduce the emissions of VOCs.
2. The Nature Conservancy and the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Threats from above., Gary M. Lovett, Ph.D, Timothy H. Tear, Ph.D