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

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Saint Lucia: The birds and the baby

The Caribbean island of St Lucia is home to some incredible bird life, including the stunning Saint Lucia Parrot. Discover how this bird helped me in a surprising way during my pregnancy.

The post Saint Lucia: The birds and the baby appeared first on Kate on Conservation.


The Caribbean island of St Lucia is home to some incredible bird life, including the stunning Saint Lucia Parrot. Discover how this bird helped me in a surprising way during my pregnancy.

The post Saint Lucia: The birds and the baby appeared first on Kate on Conservation.

The water trembles at the wriggle of my toes, sending a gentle ripple trundling outwards from the edge of my foot until it touches the invisible corners of the infinity pool and makes its escape by spilling over the edge. 

A slosh, as the water hits the hidden overflow channel and I look up from where I’m seated to see an Antillean Crested Hummingbird flit by and hover for a second at a bright pink flower, purposefully extracting its irresistible nectar. 

LESSER ANITLLEAN HUMMINGBIRD. Image credit: Anse Chastanet

The power of healing

Breath in. The Saint Lucia rainforest air drifts up from the trees below and fills my lungs with a new freshness. Exhale; and with it some of the heaviness of pregnancy seems to leave my swollen, aching body.

Bird-watching has become my solace as the weeks expand into months and the months turn into trimesters. At this stage I’m told I should be ‘glowing’, but before touching down and embracing the vibrant Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, I feel nothing but tormented.

Lesser Antillean Bullfinch

I have lost count of the number of times my sleepless nights have been shrugged off as “nothing; compared to what will come soon!”, and as medical appointments have bleed into medical appointments — all with the predictable diagnosis of “pregnancy: this is what you should expect for the next few months, and at least a few months following” — I’ve begun to accept that I’m slipping into a state of depression. 

Carrying a child should be blissful, beautiful, ‘earthy’. But the black dog walks beside me frequently and I can see him stand over me sometimes in sleep-deprived hallucinations. 

Saint Lucia’s bird life seems to be gradually chirping, twittering and pecking him away.

Birding for better mental health

Of the 157 bird species that live on the island, it’s the National bird; the Saint Lucian Parrot (Amazona versicolor), that I long to see.

SAINT LUCIA PARROT. Image credit: Anse Chastanet

The Saint Lucian Parrot is one of five native parrot species found in the Commonwealth country, and I make it my mission to spot at least one of them before my time here is up.

We have six days. 

On day two I have a proper appetite for the first time in weeks. 

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

Pregnancy has wreaked havoc with my immune system, and my thyroid levels and red blood cell count have plummeted below the acceptable line. 

I haven’t eaten meat for years now, but the local chef gives a convincing argument for Saint Lucians building an economy around sustainably fishing the invasive and ecologically damaging ‘lion fish’.

On his recommendation I sample this dish and try traditional Saint Lucian banana cake for dessert. My body thanks me. 

On day three I have the energy to swim in the sea. Respectfully gliding over coral and tropical fish. I snorkel, I dive down and touch the sand at the bottom and I remember what it feels like to not be bound by this new weight on my body.

Image credit: Anse Chastanet

Sleep.

By day four, I sleep. I dream. Real dreams of rainforests and tropical coral reefs and sighting a blue parrot. 

By day five I’ve walked, I’ve climbed, I’ve hiked. I’ve seen banana plantations and sunset mists roll through towering gum trees and encase fiddlehead ferns.

But I haven’t seen a parrot.

The power of the rainforest

On my final day I journey skyward through the Babonneau rainforest in a green gondola that gently rocks and climbs its way over 76 square kilometres of lush, protected rainforest.

The island’s aerial tram showcases the tropical rainforest, which is home to large wild boar; the unusual agouti; rodents; lizards and four different species of snake. 

I’m glad that the tram ride gives rest to my now fat, swollen feet.

At 430 metres above sea level we emerge from the treetops and are treated to incredible views of forest, clouds and distant ocean. 

We see hummingbirds; the Purple-throated Carib and the Green-throated Carib. We see magnolia shrubs and giant hibiscus flowers brought over from Jamaica. 

But I don’t see a parrot.

Perspective

On the way back down I realise it doesn’t matter. I feel alive again. I feel like some of the fog in my mind has lifted. I feel like my baby and I are going to be ok.

Drifting in and out of exhausted slumber as the taxi bumps and bounces its way towards the airport, our driver slows to a near halt. “Look!”, he exclaims, pointing excitedly, “over there you can see our national bird; the parrot!”

My heart races as I bolt upwards in my seat and reach the taxi cab window just in time to catch the slightest glimpse of colour pulling itself forwards through the humid afternoon air. I recognise the animal’s methodic figure-eight wing movements. 

At check-in a representative from Travel Saint Lucia hands me a blue linen bag with a smile; “For the baby”, she adds. 

I open it to find a cuddly toy parrot. 

Want to learn more about Saint Lucia? You can read my St Lucia Facts at NatGeoKids.com or find out about my visit to a St Lucian primary school here. With thanks to Anse Chastanet Resort and Bay Gardens Resort.

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