Written by Hannah Mohler, ESLLC 2017-2018
Countries and fishermen continue to disregard their negative effects on wildlife and biodiversity. Sustainable forest management is often overlooked because the number of policies preventing forest degradation and deforestation are insufficient. Forest conversion, which is especially dangerous considering the threat of irreversibility, causes water quality degradation and a reduction in biodiversity. Studies have shown that more biodiversity equates to more productivity within an ecosystem. Interfering with the habitats of terrestrial and aquatic species can affect an ecosystem’s ability to provide clean air and water. Ecosystems are interdependent and, therefore, the disruption of keystone species can alter a whole ecosystem. For example, wetlands, trees, and soil filter pollutants from the air, so when a wetland is destroyed or trees and soil are removed, that ecosystem’s ability to produce clean air diminishes.
Inadequate policies also exist regarding sustainable fishing practices, which has led to fisheries exploiting marine ecosystems. Unsustainable fishing practices, such as dynamite fishing, electrofishing, and gillnetting have contributed to the destruction of coral reefs, the depletion of key reef species, and the lack of marine biodiversity. When coral reefs are destroyed, a domino effect takes place. The dynamic of ecosystems is altered when marine life can no longer depend on the damaged coral reefs. The marine life that relies on the coral-dependent marine life is adversely affected and the surrounding communities where fishing is a primary source of food and income suffer as well.
Similar to the interconnected species in an ecosystem, the environment, economy, and society depend on each other in order to maintain sustainable forest management and sustainable fishing practices. Unsustainable forest management and unsustainable fishing practices affect social and economic sustainability. Fishing is considering a principal source of food and income among many. Forests are a source of income for those who rely on the manufacturing of forest products and energy. Forests are also utilized for recreation. The population is increasing and the demand for food and space is consequently increasing. Sooner or later, we have to find a way to work sustainably and conserve our limited resources. We need to prioritize food security in order to meet the needs of present and future generations.
Picture of deforestation
Picture of the effect of dynamite fishing