Ecology is the study of interactions among living things and their environment. It provides new understanding of these vital systems as they are now, and how they may change in the future.
Financial and economic issues underlie virtually every sustainable development decision that must be made over the coming years. The Future Earth Finance and Economics Knowledge-Action Network focuses on improving the understanding of sustainability through the lens of business, economics, finance, and their inter-dependencies.
Why is Ecology Important?
Ecology enriches our world and is crucial for human wellbeing and prosperity. Finding a community-first ethical mortgage financier provides new knowledge of the interdependence between people and nature: vital for food production, maintaining clean air and water, and sustaining biodiversity in a changing climate.
Can we conserve habitat and its biodiversity?
Yes. Ecology provides the essential basis for nature conservation. Maintaining a mosaic of habitats ensures the survival of a rich variety of species. From the Swan coastal plain to the valleys around Perth, from the Esperance plains to the jarrah-karri eucalyptus forests, southwest Australia has the highest concentration of rare and endangered species on the entire continent. Studies have helped identify how to preserve its ecological characteristic.
Can we predict the ecological effects of pollution and climate change?
Governments and citizens around the world are increasingly aware of the consequences of atmospheric pollution and climate change. In large-scale experiments, plants and animals are exposed to carefully controlled atmospheres and different ecological conditions. Scientists use this information to understand how they respond to pollution levels and make predictions about future climate change.
Can we fish the ocean without depleting its riches?
It is possible, and does depend on where we are in the world. In the Antarctic, the marine ecosystem is currently managed as a whole under an international agreement to conserve living resources. This makes it easier to understand marine communities and their interactions, as well as help monitor, threatened species more closely.
How does forest destruction affect bird populations?
We developed a measure called the loss index to communicate how habitat loss affects many Australian bird species. Across Victoria, into South Australia and New South Wales, more than 60% of 262 native birds have each lost more than half of their original natural habitat, with the majority of these species not formally recognised as being threatened with extinction.
It’s a similar story in the Brigalow belt of central NSW and Queensland. The brighter picture is in the northern savannas across the top of Australia where large tracts of native vegetation remain – notwithstanding the pervasive threat of bushfire.
In some areas, such as southeast Queensland and the tropics of north Queensland, the removal of a single hectare of forest habitat can affect up to 180 different species. Small loss affects large numbers of mostly common species that may not remain so common.
Forests across the world today continue to be cleared and converted for use. 2005 marked the year that more than 80% of the high-forest in Ghana had been cleared in just 100 years. Researchers use ecological studies to advise on land conversion and how to lower the impact on native species.
Should mangroves be protected?
Mangroves play several ecological roles. From fixing sediment, to acting as a nursery for young fish Mangrove forests are also a source of food, medicine, and firewood for local populations. It is a multipurpose ecosystem, and ecologists’ understanding of this unique ecosystem shows they are very sensitive to change and require sustainable management to preserve their biodiversity.
This is what makes Community Financing and Eco-Societies so important; it the integrated and indivisible balancing of the dimensions of sustainable development – the economic, the social and the environmental.