The Buzz of Biodiversity
Posted on 03 Aug 2023
It is that range of biodiversity that we must care for - the whole thing - rather than just one or two stars. - Sir David Attenborough
Our planet’s vivid biodiversity is the result of 4.5 billion years of evolution, and appears in many forms - from genes and bacteria to entire ecosystems, including forests or coral reefs, and even bees. This variety of nature forms the bedrock of our global infrastructure, with food, water, medicine, climate, economic growth all being dependent on the interdependence of ecological systems. Collectively, the benefits of biodiversity are known as “ecosystem services”.
With over 1 billion people depending on forests for their livelihoods, and the land and oceans absorbing more than half of all carbon emissions, biodiversity can be seen to be vital not just for our everyday lives, but also our futures.
Deforestation, especially in Amazonian areas, is converting carbon sinks into carbon sources. Almost 85% of wetlands (salt marshes, mangrove swamps etc) which previously absorbed large amounts of carbon, have been destroyed.
Biodiversity loss is seen as being one of the three elements of the “the triple planetary crisis”, which also includes climate change and air pollution.
As species have evolved over many thousands, sometimes millions of years, a sudden change in their environment caused by human intervention and climate change can have a devastating impact on the natural biodiversity.
For example, as mentioned in this interesting blog post, we learn that birds are being increasingly affected by climate change, and the loss of their natural habitat. Food and nesting materials, vital to their survival may become scarce, and new species and parasites may create an imbalance in the ecosystem that they adapted to.Climate change also affects the migration patterns of birds, many who have already suffered changes in their population dynamics.
Despite the challenges that the global population faces with the loss of biodiversity, there are nevertheless some positive steps being made to protect our vulnerable natural environment. In this article we will look at a few being made by both individuals and governments…
This is the notion that human health and the environment are closely linked, and that different regions of the world face their own, unique challenges. For example, when a trend for exotic bush-meat in a city of a developed country causes an increase in hunting in a developing area, reducing the access of the local inhabitants to a critical source of protein and nutrients. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) works on bringing together leaders, health professionals and environmentalists to address the impact of climate change and the loss of biodiversity on health. Their Berlin Principles list ten elements that need to be addressed to safeguard both human, and animal health on a global scale. In addition, partially in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Chinese government imposed a national ban on the consumption of wildlife.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction
There are a number of recently discovered species that were thought to have been extinct, or only living in captivity. For example, the The New Guinea singing dog has been discovered through DNA analysis, living in the wild. Thought to be the rarest of wild dogs, there has now been a conservation programme set up to ensure their survival. This unique animal is so called due to its distinct voice, thought by many to be a cross between a wolf’s howl and whale song.
Others have been reintroduced into their natural habitat to address the imbalance in biodiversity. In the Chinese province of Hubei, local farmers were spending more and more on pesticides to protect their crops. Professor Fu Xinhua, a firefly expert from Huazhong Agriculture University, realized that fireflies were previously indigenous to the area, as well as being an excellent form of natural pest management. He embarked on a challenging project to re-introduce these unique insects into the area, which have now formed a population, and restored a natural balance to the biodiversity in the area.
New conservation areas created and financed
There are increasing numbers of areas being designated as protected areas, to either preserve the existing ecology, or to restore a previous balance. Some examples include:
In Myanmar, an area of 386,00 acres has been designated as a protected area to restore the populations of the critically endangered Myanmar snub-nosed monkey and the Red Panda.
In Nepal, 262,000 acres have been reserved for the conservation of a number of species, including the Indian pangolins, snow leopard, and Himalayan black bear.
The Ivory Coast has created a unique, 2,600-square-kilometer marine protected area, designed to protect endangered shark and turtle populations.
These are far from unique, with most countries implementing national level schemes to protect their unique natural habitats.
How OpenWeather technology can help
Understanding how to restore the delicate balance of an ecosystem requires a fundamental understanding of the environment, flora, fauna as well as the weather patterns, and how they have changed over time.
The OpenWeather History Bulk supplies detailed, hourly weather data spanning 15 different weather parameters, given any global location for over 40 years deep. This enables conservationists, scientists and the government to understand the subtle, yet important changes to the long-term weather over many decades of human activity. In addition, our varied Historical products collection gives a variety of products that have a wide range of uses.
OpenWeather provides weather data for any location on the globe using a proprietary hyperlocal forecasting model with a resolution from 500 m to 2 km, globally. More than 5,000,000 customers from logistics, agriculture, insurance, energy, retail, and many other sectors, are working with the company's weather products.
OpenWeather cooperates with global meteorological agencies such as MetOffice and NOAA, and enhances its model with data from radars, weather stations and satellites. The company provides great availability of service at 99.9% for enterprise-level products.
The products can be easily integrated into complex IT systems and are ideal for ML analytic systems. OpenWeather is a member of Royal Meteorological Society and an Achilles-certified supplier. OpenWeather ethical initiatives include support of educators and students, not-for-profit subscriptions for the general public to increase weather awareness, and recent Ukrainian donation programme, and donations to COVID researchers.
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