Posts tagged: ecosystem

If The Bee Disappears From The Surface Of The Earth…

If The Bee Disappears From The Surface Of The Earth
Image © fotolia.com (under license)

The Importance Of Bees:

Pollination Work Of Bees: Bees are vital for the preservation of the ecosystem as they help keep ecological balance and biodiversity in nature. They provide one of the most important ecological services: Pollination, which makes food production possible. [1] Bees make excellent pollinators as they collect pollen, a source of protein that they feed to their offspring. Bees collect pollen from the flowers through electrostatic force and attach to the hair on their bodies and transfer to another flower. Bees account for 90-95 % of all insect pollination. [2] By pollination, they perform a vital function which allows the ecosystem and plant species to propagate. They also contribute to the genetic and biotic diversity of plant species.

Wildlife Habitats: Many people forget that forest trees require pollination in order for fertile seeds to be produced. Bees, in their role as pollinators, thus play a vital role in forest growth – including both tropical and temperate forests. Many tree species – for example willows and poplars – depend on bees for pollination. Not only wild environments but backyard gardens, which serve as the home for many birds and insects, require the pollination of plants for their survival.

Biodiversity: Bees make an essential contribution to biodiversity, due to their work as pollinators. [3] Pollination enables the propagation of trees and diverse other plant species. Plants in turn then function as habitats for animal life. The contribution bees make to complex ecosystems is enormous and without them it is likely that very many other species might become extinct.

Food Source: Bees produce honey to feed their colonies during cold winter. Humans as well as raccoons, opossums, and other insects also use it as a food source.

Here’s something you CAN do to help… plant bee-friendly plants!

Top 10 Plants To Encourage Bees To Your Garden: http://off-grid.info/blog/top-10-plants-to-encourage-bees-to-your-garden/

16 oz Of Honey Requires 1152 Bees To Travel 112,000 Miles: http://herbshealthhappiness.com/16-oz-of-honey-requires-1152-bees-to-travel-112000-miles/

References:

[1] Delaplane, K.S., D.R. Mayer, and D.F. Mayer, Crop pollination by bees. 2000: Cabi. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=ZHGZkXa7xE4C&oi=fnd&pg=PR12

[2] Majewski, J., Economic Value of Pollination of Major Crops in Poland. Economic Science for Rural Development, 2014. 34: p. 14-21. https://llufb.llu.lv/conference/economic_science_rural/2014/…/.pdf

[3] Abrol, D.P., Pollination biology: biodiversity conservation and agricultural production. 2011: Springer Science & Business Media. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=clwm8CSIIdIC&oi=fnd&pg=PR3

Raking Your Leaves Destroys Ecosystems

Raking Your Leaves Destroys Ecosystems
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

According to environmentalists, there is more to this statement that just resentment for chores. Raking, bagging, and disposing of your fallen leaves may be destroying mini-ecosystems in your backyard. Read on to learn why you should put down your rake immediately.

Reasons Against Raking

⦁ According to the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), “The leaf layer is its own mini-ecosystem…Many wildlife species live in or rely on the leaf layer to find food and other habitat.” [1] The fallen leaves that cover your ground during fall are vital for several animal species such as worms, shrews, toads, box turtles, chipmunks, salamanders, moths, and butterflies. So, are you willing to destroy the seasonal habitat of these adorable species?

⦁ Aside from sustaining eco-systems, fallen leaves offer several benefits to your gardening efforts. For example, they naturally fertilize the soil, removing the need for costly commercial fertilizers that might be harmful. Fallen leaves also suppress weeds by forming a natural mulch.

Takeaway: Put the Rake Away

Avoiding the back-breaking work of raking seems like a win-win situation. Improve the fertility of your garden, protect the eco-systems that support adorable critters, and bask in the beauty of the autumn afternoons. In a nutshell, put the rake away, take a seat, and enjoy nature.

References:

[1] What to do With Fallen Leaves https://blog.nwf.org/2014/11/what-to-do-with-fallen-leaves/.

It Takes 17 Million Barrels Of Oil Each Year To Make Water Bottles

It Takes 17 Million Barrels
Graphic: © herbs-info.com. Image source – Pixabay (PD).

The popularity of bottled water has increased tremendously in the last few years. In fact, statistics show that the sale of bottled water in American rose three times faster than the market average in 2015. [1] The country seems to have an insatiable appetite for the beverage – but at what cost?

While most of us are aware of the negative impact on non-biodegradable bottles on eco-systems, you’d be surprised to learn of the amount of energy used to produce bottled water. According to a study conducted by researchers from the Pacific Institute in California, “it took approximately 17 million barrels of oil equivalent to produce plastic for bottled water consumed by Americans in 2006—enough energy to fuel more than 1 million American cars and light trucks for a year.” [2]

Implications of the Findings
To gain a clear picture of the environmental impact of bottled water, we have to consider all the different phases of energy consumption before the beverage touches the lips of thirsty consumers around the globe. This includes the following:

⦁ Amount of energy it takes to manufacture water bottles: Plastic bottles are mainly made from pellets of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Turning PET into a plastic bottle consumed the largest share of energy in the cycle.

⦁ The energy needed to treat/process the water: Although the amount of energy used is substantially less, its percentage depends on the number of treatments used.

⦁ Filling and capping the water bottles

⦁ Transporting bottled water to consumers: This depends on the transportation method and distance – with air cargo being the costliest.

References:

[1] Fishman, C. 2016. If Bottled Water Is So Bad, Why Are Sales Hitting Records? https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/04/160420-bottled-water-sales-record-high-despite-environmental-opposition/.

[2]The Pacific Institute. (2007). Integrity of Science: Bottled Water and Energy Factsheet: Getting to 17 Million Barrels https://pacinst.org/publication/bottled-water-fact-sheet/.