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Biodiversity: Bogs and banks, as well as bubble barriers: Five great projects to help protect nature| Biodiversity
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Biodiversity: Bogs and banks, as well as bubble barriers: Five great projects to help protect nature| Biodiversity

A black-eyed Susan flower grows in an open grassland area at the May Prairie State Natural Area in Manchester, Tennessee

1. Conserving grasslands

Although the names Porters goldenrod, cream tick-trefoil, and running glade clover may conjure up the vibrant colours of summer meadows in bloom, these plants are also kept in a conservation seed bank. This is where it is hoped that they will help ensure the future of North America’s grassland plant species.

Changes in land and water use are the main drivers of biodiversity loss around the globe. According to the International Association for the Conservation of Nature (IACN), grassland loss is the greatest conservation problem facing eastern North American biodiversity. The Southeastern Grasslands Initiative(SGI) at Austin Peay State University’s Center of Excellence for Field Biology. This university is committed to conserving and restoring this vital ecosystem.

It launched last year a Conservation seed bank(CSB), to protect vulnerable populations rare and declining grassland species. Cooper Breeden is the SGIs plant conservation director. He says that one of the reasons why we decided to pursue CSB is because the loss in rare plant populations outpaces efforts to conserve them in many instances. This is not for lack of trying. There is simply insufficient funding and capacity for conservation.

A black-eyed Susan flower grows in an open grassland area at the May Prairie State Natural Area in Manchester, Tennessee
Open grassland at Manchester’s May Prairie, Tennessee. According to the SGI, prairies once covered 7-10m acres in the southeastern US.Photograph by Mark Humphrey/AP

We sought to fill this gap by attempting to collect rare and declining grassland plants in the south-east. Our focus was on populations that are especially vulnerable and don’t receive much conservation attention.

Since August 2020, more than 35,000 seeds have been saved by the team in 66 collections that include 29 species.

SGIs do more than just bank seeds. Breeden states that the ultimate goal is to preserve the populations where they exist. These collections are designed to support wild populations.

Next is an interactive map which will allow users to see the species in the seed bank as well as where they came from. He says that the aim of making some data from our collection accessible to the public was to make it more useful for grasslands conservation partners in the region.

As our conservation community grows in capacity, there will be more opportunities to plant these seeds again.

2. Recycle wastewater

Sixty-five billion tonnesEach year, a large number of non-renewable and renewable resources are extracted worldwide. This makes direct exploitation of resources, along with the exploitation, the second largest driver of biodiversity loss. Global water demand is expected increase at the same rate as global consumption of water. Since the 1980s, water consumption has been increasing by around 1% per annum. UN World Water Development Report 2019.

Aerial view of a water treatment plant in Savannah, Georgia, the US. In 1998 the city of Savannah built and began operating a reclaimed water system (RWS). Reclaimed water is former wastewater (sewage) that has been treated and purified for reuse, rather than discharged into a body of water.
Aerial view of Savannah’s water treatment plant. The US city constructed a reclaimed water system in 1998 to treat wastewater.Photograph by Jason Hawkes/Getty Images

Desalination plants were the main focus of attention. However, as cities from California to Sydney struggle with drought and water scarcity, they are turning towards the likes Israel and Singapore to learn how to recycle their wastewater. Globally, Currently, 80% of wastewater flows back into the ecosystemRather than being reused or treated.

Israel has been investing heavily in the treatment and desalination of wastewater for decades. Recycling nearly 90%via sewage treatment plants, which redirect the treated waters to irrigation. The sludge byproduct can be used to fertilize and to produce biogas.

According to the, five NEWater plants in Singapore can recycle upto 40% of the country’s water needs. National water agency. NEWater will be able to meet up 55% of the demand by 2060. It measures 48 km long Deep tunnel sewerage system(DTSS) is a water superhighway that transports used water to reclamation plants. Reclaimed water can then be treated and purified or discharged into waterways. The second phase of the project is currently in progress and will see the removal of conventional water reclamation plants and pumping stations.

3. Protecting peatlands

Although they are not glamorous nor in the limelight, bogs or peatlands can be a key to resolving the climate crisis. Peatlands make up only 3% of the world’s land surface. They store almost 550bn tonnes carbonIt is twice as high as the average for all forests in the world.

Old Ralphs Cross and Peat Bog on Westerdale Moor, North York Moors National Park.
Peatlands in the North York Moors on Westerdale Moor, England. Peatland is found in approximately 10% of the UK.Photograph: Mike Kipling Photography/Alamy

About 10% of the UK’s surface is covered by peatland. However, much of this is in decline and estimates suggest that UK’s peatlands could be emitting equivalent to 23m tonnesA year of carbon dioxide. These emissions could be stopped by restoring degraded peatlands, which could provide biodiversity benefits for birds, insects, and plants.

The Great North Bog, which includes four national parks and three areas of outstanding natural beautification, and the South Pennines Park, represents approximately 92% of the English upland peat and is one the major UK restoration projects.

The North Pennines AONB Partnership, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, and the Moors for the Future Partnership are leading the project. They aim to restore almost 7,000 km of upland, which stores 400m tonnes of carbon. Peat that has been damaged in the Great North BogCurrently, the UK releases an estimated 4.4m tons of carbon each year. Project organizers hope that by joining forces with some of Europe’s most successful peatland restoration organizations, we can make a huge and urgent change in saving the majority English upland peatlands.

4. Combating plastic pollution

Scientists predict that the volume of plastic waste in the oceans will almost triple over the next 20 years, from around 8m tonnes per annum today to nearly 29m tonnes by 2040. There is no one solution to the plastic crisis. However, scientists, inventors, volunteers and others around the world are working on a multitude of solutions.

The Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, the US, is trying to collect all this information. Plastic pollution prevention and collection technology inventory. The 52 technologies currently included in this report include the Great Bubble Barrier,Tubes placed diagonally across the waterway’s bottom create a bubble barrier by pumping oxygen. This creates a current that brings debris up to the surface and guides them to a catchment system. The Holy Turtle is a floating unit measuring 1,000 feet. It is pulled by two vessels and captures floating waste. Don’t throw it!Youth-driven initiative that recycles tennis balls into fishing line recycling bins.

The Bubble Barrier was developed as a simple way to stop plastic pollution flowing from waterways into the ocean. An air compressor sends air through a perforated tube running diagonally across the bottom of the canal, creating a stream of bubbles that traps waste and guides it to a catchment system. It traps 86% of the trash that would otherwise flow to the River IJ and further on to the North Sea, according to the Dutch social enterprise behind the system.
The Bubble Barrier is one 52 technologies that prevent plastic pollution from being produced. This list was created by the Duke University team.Photograph: Courtesy The Great Bubble Barrier

Zoie Diana, a PhD student in the marine science conservation department at Duke University. One of the inventorsAccording to, they plan to add more than 40 technologies by the beginning of next year. We hope our inventory and study will help to prevent plastics from entering waterways. It will also collect existing pollution.

5. Handling invasive species

According to the International Bird Conservation Society, at least 107 species of highly endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles have been estimated to have benefited by invasive mammal eradication in islands. A 2016 study. Even though these cases are still rare and geographically localised, they show that it is possible to reduce the human-induced extinction rate. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (ISPBSP)IPBES global assessment noted.

A stoat trap by the Milford Track, a hiking route on the South Island, New Zealand
A stoat trap in New Zealand’s South Island. The traps and bait stations can be used to control pests, but not to harm others.Photograph by Murdo McLeod/The Guardian

New Zealand is leading this effort and has committed to eliminating rats, possums, and stoats by the middle century. Predator-Free 2050 planIt uses a combination of trapping, hunting and poison as well as technology. It is also testing other projects. A predator exclusion fence designed for protecting prime habitat of the endangered has been constructed. It covers 6,000 metres. Strong grasshopperThis habitat is believed to be the first ever fenced for an insect.

New Zealand’s Predator Free 202050 initiative aims to restore the voices of the birds, bats, reptiles, and insects back to the forests, farmsland, and cities. Currently, 74%, 84%, and 46% of the country’s vascular plant species, are at risk of extinction or threatened. According to the Department of Conservation. In the five-years since, 2050 Predator-Freewas launched, the numbers and species of birds such kea (kk, kkriki), the Antipodes Ssnipe and T have all increased according to a Progress report for five years.

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