Ecosystem services

Ecosystem services are the numerous and diverse benefits that people openly benefit from the natural surroundings and also from properly-functioning ecosystems. Such ecosystems contain, by way of instance, agroecosystems, forest ecosystems, grassland ecosystems and aquatic ecosystems. These ecosystems working properly supplies such matters such as agricultural produce, lumber, and aquatic organisms including fishes and fishes. Together, these advantages have become called'ecosystem services', and are frequently essential to the provisioning of fresh drinking water, the decomposition of wastes, as well as also the natural pollination of plants and other crops. Supporting services comprise services like nutrient cycling, primary production, soil formation, habitat supply and pollination.

Habitat Conservation

Habitat conservation for wild species is among the most crucial problems facing the environment today - both in the sea and on land. As human populations increase, land usage grows, and wild species have smaller distances to call house. Over fifty percent of all Earth's terrestrial surface was changed because of human activity, leading to extreme deforestation, erosion and loss of topsoil, biodiversity loss, and even extinction. Species can't survive out their normal habitat with no human intervention, like the habitats within a zoo or aquarium, such as. Maintaining habitats is vital to maintaining biodiversity. Migratory species are especially vulnerable to habitat destruction since they have a tendency to occupy more than a natural habitat. Changing a natural habitat slightly may bring about a domino effect that hurts the whole ecosystem.

Supporting services

While scientists and environmentalists have discussed ecosystem solutions implicitly for a long time, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) from the early 2000s popularized this idea. Additionally, ecosystem services are grouped into four broad classes:
Supporting services
Provisioning

like the creation of water and food

Supporting services
Regulating

like the control of disease and climate

Supporting services
Encouraging

including nutrient cycles and oxygen generation

Supporting services
Ethnic

such as recreational and spiritual advantages

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A blog about ecology and wildlife conservation

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Analyses and comments on the science and practice of ecosystem services and biodiversity

World's diverse ecosystems

PFAS: A Primer on “Forever Chemicals” and their Ecological Impact

by Amber Sparks Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) represent a complex class of chemical compounds that have been used in the manufacturing of household and commercial products since the 1960s. At the time, PFAS were revolutionary — a compound that could resist heat and chemical reactions, while also repelling oil, stains, grease, and water. The military, […]

by Amber Sparks Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) represent a complex class of chemical compounds that have been used in the manufacturing of household and commercial products since the 1960s. At the time, PFAS were revolutionary — a compound that could resist heat and chemical reactions, while also repelling oil, stains, grease, and water. The military, […]

by Amber Sparks

Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) represent a complex class of chemical compounds that have been used in the manufacturing of household and commercial products since the 1960s. At the time, PFAS were revolutionary — a compound that could resist heat and chemical reactions, while also repelling oil, stains, grease, and water. The military, firefighting, aerospace, automotive, construction, and electronic industries were all on board. Before long PFAS were incorporated into a variety of products ranging from firefighting foam to commonly used items such as Teflon cookware, fast-food packaging, clothing, carpets, furniture, and cosmetics.

Although once a ground-breaking innovation, today we understand that PFAS are deleterious to human health and the environment, and the longer-chain sub-compound PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are even more toxic, subject to bioaccumulation and persistence in the environment. Even at low levels, PFAS have been linked to cancer of the kidneys and testicles, thyroid and liver disease, decreased fertility, harm to developing fetuses and young children, and overall weakened immune systems.

While the scientific community had begun to identify these impacts years ago, it wasn’t until 2016 when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a PFAS health advisory for drinking water that the PFAS compounds truly emerged as a contaminant of serious concern at both federal and state-levels. The 2016 health advisory set the combined exposure level for both PFOS and PFOA at 70 parts per trillion. While the EPA deemed this recommendation sufficient to protect human health, in 2018 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) published a study that found exposure to drinking water contaminated with PFOS and PFOA could be harmful at levels up to 10 times lower than previously estimated by the EPA.

With the release of the ATSDR study, concerns surrounding PFAS contamination quickly elevated making headlines in the New York Times, Fox News, and many others. Yet despite public response for more stringent regulations, there continues to be many overarching challenges regarding PFAS contamination management. First and foremost, because PFAS have become ubiquitous in the environment, it is extremely difficult to identify sources, pathways, exposed populations, and levels of exposure and it’s likely that other unknown and undiscovered PFAS exist within the environment as impurities or byproducts of chemical production. Additionally, while health and occurrence data and validated analytical methods are available for certain PFAS (i.e. PFOA and PFOS), there are potentially hundreds of other PFAS with limited or no toxicity information.

In response to these data gaps, the EPA has positioned to take serious action on PFAS (see 2018 National Leadership Summit and EPA’s 2019 PFAS Action Plan), and several states have begun implementing measures of their own. While these new developments will hopefully prevent the spread of PFAS contamination, they may also create potential liabilities and consequences for industries that previously or currently manufacture, use, or sell PFAS or PFAS-containing products. At this juncture, where environment and industry intersect, Great Ecology steps up to the plate, with an understanding of the cutting-edge issues and regulations, providing ecologically focused solutions for areas that have been subject to PFAS contamination.

Great Ecology offers services in natural resource management, including NRD assessments and reporting, expert witness testimony, habitat restoration planning and cost estimation, and litigation strategy, all while maintaining strict confidentiality. The scale of our NRD work has ranged from confined sites with PFAS specific injuries, to regional projects encompassing hundreds of square miles and thousands of groundwater, surface water, soil and sediment samples. We bring rigorous scientific studies and extensive knowledge to substantiate injury to natural resource and reductions in the ecosystem services they provide, which can stand up in a court of law – to protect critical natural resources while maintaining the interests of our clients.


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