Corporate Overview

Ecosystem Management & Associates, Inc. (EM&A) is a woman-owned small business founded in January 1996. The firm is a Subchapter-S Virginia corporation with its main office located in Lusby, Maryland. EM&A has extensive experience in a wide range of environmental issues, including topics as diverse as coastal zone management, military range sustainability and encroachment mitigation, environmental impact statements and assessments (NEPA), natural resource damage assessments, pollution effects studies, oil spill planning and response, and ecological risk assessments.

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Let’s work together to save environment.

In addition, EM&A works closely with clients to develop project specific public involvement plans and communication brochures, and can provide environmental training and facilitation to address unique environmental problems. Whatever the mechanism, EM&A staff bring a wealth of environmental management experience to our clients. We are committed to helping our clients find acceptable solutions to environmental problems in a cooperative environment.

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3 Ways Humans Negatively Impact Earth

We all know that Earth is the only planet in our solar system that has all the necessary conditions to support life. Water, oxygen, food, temperature, ozone layer are some of the important ones. Over millions of years, many different species of plants and animals have evolved, lived and become extinct. From microscopic organisms to mammoths and dinosaurs, there has been a wide variety that has shown its presence on the face of the earth. None of these species destroyed the mother nature.

They coexisted peacefully along with many other animals. Then came the man. The man is the most intelligent and most developed organism ever to live here. But this intelligence has proved to be a bane for nature. Although there are innumerable ways in which man has created havoc, to highlight the main ones, here are 3 ways humans negatively impact earth.

  1. Destruction of the ozone layer– The atmosphere is the protective covering of air surrounding the earth. It is made up of various layers made up of different gases. Each layer has a unique role to play. The ozone layer is the protective layer which prevents the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from reaching the other.
    • The UV rays are carcinogenic. Excessive exposure to these leads to the development of skin cancers. The chemical responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer are CFCs which stands for Chloro Fluoro Carbons. These are released from various electrical equipment like refrigerators. With the widespread use of these devices, there has been a massive release of CFCs. There are many ozone holes now in the present in this layer. Something that took centuries to form has now been destroyed within a span of a few years.
  1. Global warming– We are all the victims as well the creators of this global crisis known as global warming. The rampant use of automobiles has released immeasurable quantities of greenhouse gases into the air. These include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide.
    • In a greenhouse, the heat gets trapped in due to a layer of glass which allows the heat to enter but prevents it from escaping. These gases have a similar effect like this glass. As a result, the temperature keeps rising.
    • The consequences of global warming are horrendous. Animals are dying; glaciers are melting, rivers are flooding, the incidence of spontaneous forest fires is on the rise and the heat has become intolerable in several parts of the world. Out of the 3 ways humans negatively impact earth, this is one which will have dire consequences in future.
  1. Ecological Imbalance– Everything in nature exists and functions in a disciplined fashion. Each animal and plant have a purpose to serve. As a result, there is abundance and balance. The predator keeps the population of prey in check, trees provide the oxygen to breathe, water cleanses and quenches the thirst, and several factors keep the temperature in check.
    • With an explosive rise in human population, the ecosystem is out of balance. Many species of animals have become extinct due to merciless slaughter. The humans have dug deep and exploited all the resources hidden safely by mother earth. Necessities like water and fresh air to breathe are now hard to get. We all have created a hell on this heavenly planet.

The evidence of this exploitation is now coming to light. The number of natural calamities has increased. It is a method by which mother nature is displaying her anger. The day is not far away when a man would be next in line to get extinct. There are not just three ways humans negatively impact earth; there are a million. There is no list to enumerate the positive effects of humanity. It is a matter of shame that the nature that as provided us with everything has got nothing but ill treatment from us.

However, there is a silver lining. Many people have now become aware of the current state of affairs. Improvements have now started and are in progress. Although the destruction is still out of proportion to the development, the chances are that one day all of us will join hands and vow to restore and protect this beautiful planet.

Northern Snakehead Effects On Ecosystem

The northern snakehead effects on ecosystem is a very discussed about topic these days and the article details on the same throughout. We will now discuss in this article about how the northern snakehead has affected the ecosystem. The officials in the fisheries said that it would be too early if the rashes of the northern snakeheads are caught in the Potomac River as there will be upset in the balance of the ecosystem. In the Potomac River, the sixth snakehead was discovered by the Maryland department of natural resources. The Fort Belvoir which is near the Virginia side of the river will be analyzed by the biologists of the Maryland Department.

A biologist named Bob Lunsford from DNR said that it is not very easy to determine how the fish can alter the ecosystem of the river. He said that the effects of thepopulation of any species are not visible. The effects will vary from the fish dominating in a tidal basin to someone who can find one or more of them in a year. It cannot be determined even if there is a stable population of the fish. We should find the number of year classes with the number of the specimen.

Snakeheads are nothing but the fishes from the family of Channidae. They have two genera which are channa and parachanna and they are nearly 21 species of snakeheads. There are 18 species from the genera channa which are natives to Asia and the remaining three species are from the genre parachanna which are found in tropical Africa. Some of the snakeheads may tolerate low salinity waters,but most of them are freshwater fish. The snakeheads breathe the atmospheric air through the use of simple labyrinth organ. They have palates and well-tooted jaws,and they resemble bowfin. They survive as habitats with low dissolved oxygen because they can breathe air.

We can describe the northern snakehead as the voracious predator fishes, amphibians and freshwater crustaceans. The popular sports fish like largemouth bass could be out competed due to their feeding style. The biologists are very much concerned that they can introduce diseases and parasites to harm the native species. The northern snakehead with reproducing population was discovered in a pond in Crofton, Maryland.

The federal Lacey act will prohibit the import and interstate transport. The northern snakeheads are also found in Arkansas, New York and Pennsylvania. The biologists and the political leaders have learnt from the introductions in Maryland that the snakeheads can start reproducing easily once if they are released into a body of water. The vital information helped to motivate the state, local and federal officials in Arkansas to pursue the aggressive efforts. These efforts are made to eradicate the northern snakeheads from the irrigation ditches and avoid the spread into the watershed of the Mississippi River. The snakeheads are prevented from colonizing the Hudson River with the control measures provided by the officials in New York.

Moving ahead with the northern snakehead effects on ecosystem, it is unfortunate to say that the northern snakeheads have been firmly established over 60 miles of the Potomac River. The impacts of the ecosystem can be assessed to conduct the research continues with the partners of the wildlife service and the U.S. Fish. The feeding habits and distribution can be determined with the electro fishing surveys which is included in the research conducted in the Potomac River. The seasonal and daily behavior can be assessed by the telemetry tagging.

The effects on the growth of snakehead population on the recreational fishing can be accessed by the angler surveys. Reward tags have been placed by the wildlife service and U.S. Fish to estimate the size of population of the snakeheads in the Potomac River. They learn more about its tributaries and the way they move in the river. Biologists can determine more efficient methods of control and removal if they learn more about the behavior and biology of fish.

As per the GLB (Great Lakes Basin) ecosystem of fisheries and fish the sport and commercial fishery on the great lakes are values nearly 4 billion dollars annually. Among the world, Canada is the 6thbiggest exporter of seafood and fish products. The natives of eastern Asia are not allowed into the Canadian waters because they feel that their ecosystem will be destroyed by the fish which they call as their home. The ecosystem of the great lakes basin is fragile and unique. It is one of the largest freshwater ecosystems in the world.

The largest ratio of watershed area to the surface area is present at Lake Ontario. The great lakes basin includes parts from the Lake Ontario and Credit River which connect to the Atlantic Ocean. The combination of the fish species in the St. Lawrence River and great lakes came from the Atlantic and Mississippi drainages. The St. Lawrence and GLB are one of the six Atlantic-Arctic sub-zones. The patterns of the fish community are considered as the significant key to the biological criteria.

The methodology includes examining the distribution patterns of the fish communities and families. The dominant fish that are usually found in the Ontario fishery include yellow perch, white bass, lake trout, lake herring, rainbow smelt, white perch and pickerel. The fishery comprises a blend of introduced and native species,and some of them are re-stocked regularly. The common catches will consist of salmon, whitefish, pickerel and lake trout. The fishery is under threat primarily on the following three fronts like over fishing, invasive species and pollution. Many fishing opportunities are offered by the region’s inland waters.

The task force will work closely with Canada to restore and protect the lakes. The problem associated with the albacore tuna is that it has high mercury content and also high in selenium. Selenium is considered as a trace mineral which is essential for good health but is required only in small amounts. It is incorporated into proteins to produce the seleno proteins. It also helps significantly to prevent the cellular damage from the free radicals around.

Emerald Ash Borer Impact On Ecosystem

Across the US Midwest, in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana, forests are dying out. Once abundant in varieties, they now look like they were defeated by forest fire yesterday. The cause of this shocked the experts. A small insect, an emerald ash borer, has caused damage that can be compared to a natural catastrophe. So, what is an emerald ash borer impact on the ecosystem?

It is a consequence of globalization, which, among other things, is characterized by an increase in the transport of people and goods, as well as the introduction and importation of invasive species, such as an emerald ash borer.

Perhaps the issue of forest degradation in the Midwest may seem unimportant, but this is just a spectacular example of what can happen tomorrow all around the world as well. The emerald ash borer on the American soil appeared at the end of the 1990s and had since expanded into huge environments, traveling well hidden in woodwork. Over the next ten years, it is estimated that the US economy will cost over $10 billion, or at least $ 1 billion a year!

Americans have been cutting diseasedtrees, but the forests continue to die. Pesticides, insecticides and other agents have proved ineffective, not to mention the negative environmental impact of such substances.

Biological invasions are gaining considerably less attention than natural disasters, but they can be far more damaging in economic terms, say biologists. Anthony Ricciardi of McGill University, with colleagues, has concluded that invasions of certain animal species are becoming more and more common throughout the world, mostly thanks to international trade (for example, insects and smaller animals from Asia can be stuck between commodities and reach Europe and America).

Although many ‘foreign’ species settle in some areas without greater damage, the worst biological invasion could cause multiple extinction of local species. When Nile Grasshopper or Mussel invaded African Lake Victoria, it contributed to the extinction of over 200 species of fish. Such invasions can have enormous economic effects – for example, the destruction of tree-beet pulpwood, the so-called ’emerald ash borer’ Agrilusplanipennis, the United States will stand for $ 10 billion in the next ten years.

Researchers say that damage reduction plans should include education, the development of new ways of preventing destruction and the methodology of rapid response and status assessment as well as information and coordination systems for relevant institutions. As an example, New Zealand has issued a law on management and monitoring threats to biodiversity and natural resources. So having answered the question: what is an emerald ash borer impact on ecosystem? , let’s discuss other species and insects that have an impact on ecosystems are:

  1. Aedesalbopictus, also known as tiger mosquito (Asian).

  1. Leptinotarsadecemlineata, also known as the Colorado potato beetle.

  1. Trachemysscriptaelegans, also known as the red-eared terrapin.

  1. The coypu (Myocastor coypus), also known as nutria.

  1. Signal crayfish (Pacifastacusleniusculus) is a species of crayfish.

  1. Herpestidae, also known as Mongoose.

  1. Cydalimaperspectalis, also known as the box tree moth.


Environmental Health Risks For Infants

With increasing population, environmental pollution has increased manifold in the last couple of decades. This affects human beings as well as other living things. But most vulnerable are infants and children. Environmental health risks for infants are more than adults because:

  1. Infants are exposed to more toxins in proportion to their weight as compared to adults. This is because they breathe more air, drink and eat more food per unit of their body weight.
  2. Infancy is just the very beginning of their life. So, the chances of the ill-effects of the toxin exposure manifesting themselves during adulthood are more.
  3. Infants at a stage where they crawl around the house and put things in their mouths are obviously more prone to exposure. This makes them more prone to exposure with pollutants that gather on the floor.
  4. Their immune system and digestive system has not yet matured. This puts them at a higher risk.
  5. Infants, being unaware of the risks, and unable to make the right choices to protect themselves are more vulnerable to the environmental health risks.

Sources: &

Key Environmental Risks For Infants

Below are some of the environmental risks that an infant can be exposed to, right inside the home or in the immediate outdoor surroundings:

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide, which is given out by household appliances like fireplaces, ovens or heaters. This gas is toxic in nature and carbon monoxide poisoning can be quite dangerous and even fatal. To avoid this, have all your appliances checked and serviced regularly by an authorized service provider. Watch this video for some easy carbon monoxide safety tips:

Cleaning Products

Many cleaning products give out harmful fumes. Also, they might leave behind residues to which an infant could easily be exposed. Use only those products that are mild and safe for babies.

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)

ETS is second-hand smoke. If someone smokes inside the house, it is extremely harmful for an infant. It heightens the risk of asthma in children and a range of other respiratory infections. Also, second hand smoke has a huge impact on the respiratory system of an infant when they grow up.

Outdoor pollutants

Pollutants due to burning of waste, emissions from exhausts of vehicles and power plants, etc. are quite harmful. These pollutants include compounds like nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide. Try to avoid places with high pollution when you are with an infant. See other ways humans are impacting the environment.


Molds can grow in the damp spaces inside a house. Staying in places with molds can result in allergies and even asthma in babies. To avoid this, keep all surfaces dry. Keep humidifiers and air conditioners serviced regularly.

Electronic waste

e-waste poses a health risk due to exposure to chemicals such as chromium, cadmium, and PCBs. Usually these chemicals are formed due to improper recycling methods. Potential health risks can be avoided by disposing of any electronic waster correctly.


Toxic chemicals used in pesticides get absorbed in the food chain and can affect anyone, but more so small babies who have just started eating food. Using natural alternatives and making the users aware of the harmful effects could help in unchecked use of pesticides.

All You Need To Know About Rain Forests!

Rain forests are those forests which experience a high amount of rainfall. They are important ecosystems which have a sustainable model for the biotin species in them. Nearly 40-70% of all species originate in the rain forests. Tropical rain forests are a natural treasure with more than 25% of herbal medicines found here. Rain forests are characterized by dense vegetation and through photosynthesis, they contribute to more than 28% of the total oxygen movement on earth. Today, with so much deforestation, only about 6% of the earth’s surface is covered with rain forests. However, they are inhabited by more than half of the known species of animals and plants in the world.

Types of rainforests

The rainforests on the earth can be classified as below:

Tropical rainforests – They are the most well-known type of rainforests. They can be told apart by the warm and wet climate they witness, with no real dry season. They are typically found around the equatorial belt. The average temperature is usually more than 64 degrees F all the year round. The rainfall is more than 168cm and can go up to 1000cm. Even though the Tropical forests are the most famous rainforests, some rainforests are found in the temperate and subtropical zones too.

Temperate rainforests – The temperate rainforests occur only in some parts of the world. They are in the ‘temperate zones’, i.e., places where the temperatures vary greatly during different seasons in a year. They are found in some parts of North America, Europe, Australia, East Asia, and South America.

Subtropical rainforests – Subtropical rainforests are forests in those regions which typically lie between the tropical regions and the temperate regions. The subtropical zones are characterized by warm summers and cool, mild winters.

The forest cover for Tropical rainforests according to regions is as below:

  • Americas (53%)
  • Africa (27%)
  • Asia and Oceania (20%)

Quick facts about rain forests

  • Tropical rainforests cover approximately 3% of the total surface area of the earth. This comes to about 8% of the total land surface on the earth.

  • Even though they cover only a small part of the earth, they are rich in the diversity of flora and fauna they hold. A tropical rainforest may have over 480 different species of trees per hectare.

  • The living component in a rainforest is dominated by trees.
  • Many of the things we use in our daily lives come from the rainforests, directly or indirectly.
  • With dense vegetation, rainforests help in fighting global warming
  • Deforestation is a major concern. The forest cover is rapidly diminishing due to urbanization, mining, agriculture, cattle grazing, timber cutting, etc.

Different rainforests around the world

Central American rainforests

Central America was once covered entirely with dense rainforests. However, over the years, a lot of deforestation has occurred on account of cattle grazing and sugarcane fields. These rainforests, like many others, are home to several species of plants and animals that are only found in these regions. It is well-known for its diversity in the bird species and has many different types of parrots. The Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve located in Central America is known for its lush cover of mosses, ferns, and flowers.

The Amazon rainforests

Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world. It’s variety in the flora and fauna is unparalleled with 20% of the birds and plants, and 10% of mammal species on the earth being found in the Amazon. However, deforestation has affected the Amazon jungles too with just 69% of the total forest cover remaining now.

African rainforests

Earth’s second largest rainforest is in Central Africa. To the southeast, is the Madagascar island which was densely forested once, but now it has lost more than 65% of its forest cover. The jungles have flooded areas, mangrove swamps, and high cloud forests.

Asian rainforests

The rainforests in these regions are distributed from India in the west to the Java and Sumatra islands in the east. They also cover parts of southeast Asia. The mainland Asia has a subtropical climate and torrential rains. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve in Sri Lanka is well-known for its thick vegetation. Elephants, leopards and other wild animals inhabit this forest. The Kinabalu National Park in Malaysia stretches over four different climate zones and is home to a wide variety of birds, mammals and insects.

Australian rainforests

These subtropical rainforests are characterized by dense undergrowth and multilayer canopies. The wet winds from the Pacific flow over the Australian rainforests. The Tamborine Mountains National Park, Border Ranges National Park, and the Lamington National Park are some of the forest reserves in this region.

Wildfire Impact On Ecosystems

Before we start understanding wildfire impact on ecosystems, let’s understand “wildfire.” Wildfire is an uncontrolled movement of fire inside forests and represents one of the most destructive natural forces. Annually, about 50,000 forest fires are registered in the world which takes an average of about 400,000 ha of forest.

The condition for the outbreak of a wildfire is to provide three basic elements(“Fire triangle”):

  1. Oxygen
  2. Thermal source
  3. Fuel material

With warmer days, people spend more and more their free time in nature. Ecologically aware, they try to keep the place where they were, in a better condition than the one they found. Unfortunately, more people behave irresponsibly in nature, forgetting that at high temperatures even a cigarette butt is enough to cause a fire of enormous proportions. The consequences of forest fires to the environment and ecosystems are unimaginable, and apart from trees, the most numerous victims of these disasters are wild animals.

The devastating effects of wildfires affect wildlife in many ways. In addition to directly threatening their life and health, wildfires permanently destroy their nest, natural habitats,and food sources. Excluding situations in which the fire occurred quite accidentally, due to extremely high temperatures, there is no doubt that the only culprit for such events is a man. Therefore, the question arises as to whether and under what conditions will a person be responsible for the forest fire and how are those who caused it, will be punished?

Wildfires are categorized into three types:

  1. Fires of the soil, where only a layer of humus burns, but not surface vegetation.
  2. Surface fires are burning bushes and fallen leaves.
  3. The third manifestation of wildfires categorizes the burning of whole trees. Very often two or three types co-occur in one space,and their causes can be different.

Most wildfires are the result of human negligence or pyromania. Lightning causes a smaller number. Weather conditions in many ways determine the vulnerability of one area to the fire. The most important factors influencing the occurrence of fire are temperature, humidity and amount of rainfall during the year. These factors affect the speed and percentage of drying of flammable materials and, consequently, the flammability of forests. The speed and direction of the wind change the rate of drying and spreading forest fires due to the higher inflow of oxygen. The level of fire hazard can be predicted by considering various climatic conditions and their elements and correlating with the observed flammability of branches and leaves on the ground; if the conditions are extreme, access to unauthorized persons in such forests is strictly prohibited.

Many countries have detailed forest fire protection programs, all of which are based on prevention, fire-fighting measures and the use of controlled fire to manage land and forests. Thus, although organizations involved in the fight against wildfires are activated in all cases, some fires need to be monitored only because they are a natural part of the ecosystem. The absolute absence of fire can cause unwanted changes in the distribution of some species of plants and trees, and increase the accumulation of leaves and branches on the ground, which can become a fuel for a catastrophic fire of enormous size that is difficult to control. Moreover, in some national parks where the absolute priority is the preservation of natural conditions without human interference, fires caused by electrical discharges do not go away but are only monitored.

Naturally occurring fires are not just an adverse event. After a catastrophic forest fever in 1988, the National Park of Houston in the United States saw the rise of some species of wood and herbaceous plants that adapted to fire. And not only that, fires have been found in some species of worms as a catalyst for reproduction.

One of the most critical aspects of wildfire protection is the fire location system before it is blown up in larger areas. The method of foresters and patrols in motor vehicles is already primarily replaced by airborne surveillance, which detects the first strands of smoke, map them and monitor the further development of the fire.

Wildfire impact on ecosystems is terrible for trees, animals and all sorts of life living in forests. It is essential to be aware how to behave inside a forest, and not to do anything that will jeopardize the ecosystem.

The Effects Of Water Pollution On Ecosystems

Water pollution is the contamination of water bodies like lake, sea, river etc. The pollutants discharged into the waterbodies enter without proper treatment. The sewage and the waste can produce algae content in the water which is massively destructive for various water bodies. The polluted water contains highly toxic substances which are harmful to a human who depends on the sources of the water bodies as well as for the aquatic life. So we would now focus on the causes as well as the effects of water pollution on ecosystems.


Industrial waste: The industries are the primary source of water pollution as the waste discharged into the waterbodies are harmful. The industries release waste like lead which is a non-biodegradable substance and so hard that it cannot break and can cause harm to the environment. Mercury which is metallic and is harmful to the marine life, sulphur a non-metallic substance which would destroy the marine life, asbestos when inhaled can cause illness and lung cancer etc. The pollutants are a health hazard and carcinogenic.

Medical waste: The medical waste is also a source of water pollution. The waste products consist of urine pouch, bandages, syringes, blood and other body fluids. The waste comes from the medical laboratories and research centres. Improper management of the medical instruments and they’re discharging into waterbodies can be harmful. Some of the infectious waste is like tissue culture, excreta and lab culture. There is also few radioactive waste content in the medical waste like the glassware and mercury content which creates havoc in the water bodies.

Domestic waste: Waste originated from the consumption of households. The municipal solid waste like garbages, trash and refuse and the regular waste that is dumped by the public. These residues are also not appropriately treated and directly discharged into the water bodies. Some of the scraps also include a solvent, paint, polythene bags, pesticides, batteries, automotive products as well as electronic items. Poor waste handling practices and inadequate provision of solid waste management facilities in cities can lead to a rise in domestic waste.


Human waste can increase the number of bacteria which can cause gastrointestinal disease and also waterborne diseases like diarrhoea and typhoid (learn about other ways humans are impacting the environment). Bioaccumulation and excessive concentration of chemicals result in buildup in the adipose tissue of trophic levels, zooplankton and large fishes. And consumption of these fishes means indirect consumption of mercury content. High levels of organic chemicals can make the water unfit for drinking purpose and harmful to marine organisms. Due to thermal pollution when hot water comes into the body it stops or changes the breeding cycle of aquatic life. Accidental oil spills from large ships can cause sizeable environmental damage, and it clogs the fish gills. Due to the medical waste when the fluorine content is excessive in the waterbodies it causes the drinking water harmful to health and also creates a dangerous disease that is “blue baby”. Not only the wastes are detrimental to aquatic life, but also it causes a disturbance in the food chain as the fishes die. Nutrient pollutants are excessively harmful as they produce algae in the water and these algae attack the fishes and other aquatic animals by reducing the oxygen content due to which the ecosystem is not maintained correctly. Recent news that has made the headline that a 16000 coastline in the United States has been affected by damage of oil spill due to which more than 8000 fishes and other aquatic animals like tortoise, starfish etc. were killed. Removal of the contamination from the water also costs high as the elimination of highly infectious waste is very costly.

Hence the water pollution has endangered many lives including human and aquatic, so we need to take some measures if not to eradicate but at least to reduce the water pollution. Like we can control the domestic waste and can make sure that the trash does not go into the river, lakes etc. Before discharging the industrial waste, it should be adequately treated so that it does not create much harm to the marine life. A little step towards eliminating water pollution can eradicate and thus reduce the effects of water pollution on ecosystems .

Effects Of Overfishing On The Marine Ecosystem

Billions of people depend on fish for their food requirement. Also, there are a lot of people for whom fishing is a source of income. With the growing population, the demand for fish is also going up. This means that on a daily basis, fish are being captured from their marine habitats. Fishing is already a multimillion-dollar industry and a thriving business for many. So, we have technology helping men dive deeper and catch more fish. But are we ‘Overfishing’? If yes, then what are the effects of overfishing?

What is Overfishing?

Human beings capture fish for food. But fish also reproduce. Simply put, overfishing occurs when the number of fish being caught is more than the number of fish being reproduced and it is one of the ways humans are effecting ecosystems. With the increase in demand, catching more fish to feed the demand seems obvious. However, we need to be aware of the impact it could have.

General Effects of Overfishing

For many years, human beings have considered oceans as a never-ending source of fish. But it wouldn’t do to ignore that fish, like every other resource on earth, are finite.

Economic impact

If the number of fish go down significantly, fishing as a viable option of livelihood is no longer possible or profitable. This could mean closing down of fisheries and loss of business for the stakeholders.

Risk of losing a food source

This is an obvious impact of overfishing. With the number of fish in the oceans dwindling, one day, there might be no fish left for human consumption. This is significant since many people east fish as their staple food.

Polluting the marine environment

With a lot of fishermen out in the ocean, oil spills and other pollutants cause damage to the marine life. Many fish die in the ocean as a result of this.

Ghost fishing

Sometimes, fishermen lose their nets inside the oceans. Fish inadvertently get caught in these nets and die inside the oceans. With such a large number of fishing activities being carried out, the number of fish dying due to ghost fishing could be significant.

Even though worrying, the above effects are only the tip of the iceberg. The effects of overfishing on the marine ecosystem are given below.

Effects of overfishing on the marine ecosystem

Scientists believe that the hazard to the marine ecosystem by overfishing is cause for more concern than other obvious threats like environmental pollution.

Risk to the marine biodiversity

Unsustainable and unchecked fishing practices have driven many fish stocks to the verge of collapse. Several species of fish with commercial value such as the Atlantic Tuna fish are now an endangered species on the verge of extinction. Extinction of any living species on the earth causes and imbalance and has a huge impact on the ecosystem.

The following list gives the names of some of the species of fish have been put under danger of extinction due to overfishing. There are many others, too.

  1. Orange roughy
  2. Atlantic sardines
  3. Rockfish
  4. Skipjack and Yellowfin tuna
  5. Atlantic and Pacific cod

Alteration of the food chain

Unchecked overfishing harms the physical environment in the oceans and breaks or distorts the food chain. This impacts all the living organisms in the food chain in some way or the other. The consequences of this disproportion could be widespread, and not good!

Effect on the well-being of coral reef

Coral reefs are an important element of the marine ecosystem. Damage to coral reefs has severe impacts on the ocean life and the effects are virtually irreversible.

Algae growth

Algae is a part of the marine life and is essential for the balance in the marine ecosystem since many fish and sea creatures feed on algae. However, with declining number of fish, there is a probability of disproportionate algae growth which can be harmful for the oceans.

The way ahead

The problem of overfishing is not easy. But the risks involved are too high to ignore the problem. Below are some of the solutions to check unregulated fishing. This is already being done, but the rules should be enforced strictly if we really want to see a change.

  • Obviously, efforts need to be taken to restore the marine life balance and to curb the effects of overfishing. All fishing should be appropriately regulated by the governments.
  • Where fishing is the only source of livelihood, alternate rehabilitation of the fishermen should be carried out.
  • Educating everyone involved can also go a long way in bringing down overfishing.
  • Protected areas should be setup in the ocean where fishing is prohibited.

Is The Amazon Rainforest an Ecosystem?

An ecosystem is identified by a set of different characteristics that connect the animal kingdom with the plant kingdom, a specific environment in which each entity needs the other to coexist. That is to say, its life process is linked directly, and in an evolutionary way,to the living organisms that make it a home.

An ecosystem is a home with specific properties, which houses inhabitants of different types, species, and sizes. It is equipped for these creatures’ daily lives: their birth, their growth, the fulfillment of their functions within the ecosystem, and finally, their death. Learn more about what makes an ecosystem.

The species of an ecosystem, including fungi, plants,bacteria, and animals, all depend on the other. The relationship between these living beings and the environment they live in results in a flow of energy and matter vital to the ecosystem. Although the vegetation can vary in a big geographical area, it will not limit the edges of an ecosystem so that it can accommodate a great variety of vegetation.

A rainforest is an ecosystem inhabited by a multitude of living beings, but it’s dominated by plant life, delivering the most structural and beautiful houses to many species. The very existence of planet Earth depends on the existence of rain-forests because they occupy a third part of the globe, performing vital functions that enable life on our planet.

Rain forests hold 70% of the world’s animal and plant species with more than 13 million of them.These feed the rivers and are essential to provide water to more than 50% of the cities in the world.They also play a tremendously important role in climate change, providing the oxygen we need while storing carbon dioxide.

When it comes to rain-forests, the first one that appears in our minds is The Amazon. There you can find the largest areas of virgin forest remaining on Earth, and more than 20% of animal and plant species live there. In addition to that, there are 330thousand people who live there, including known indigenous tribes and others that haven’t been contacted.

The Amazon is a source of life on Earth and represents the largest ecosystem in Latin America, encompassing Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname. This huge laboratory of life is the most sacred in biodiversity found in the area, and regardless, every day the deforestation is ending with it little by little.In one single hectare, more than 300 different species of trees have been identified, and in one single tree more than 650 species of insects. These facts make The Amazon the largest biological reserve on Earth.

The Amazon river makes The Amazon rain-forest an even better ecosystem, being the second longest river in the world and the most voluminous of all. It covers two-thirds of South America, making it the heart of the continent as it massively feeds the region and provides a colorful mosaic full of life.

Until now, more than 20% of the original extension of the Amazon has been destroyed, making The Amazon an extremely fragile ecosystem. And with deforestation continuing and growing stronger, the very existence of life on earth is in danger.

What Is An Ecosystem and Its Components

The Ecosystem can be thought of as a single unit containing living things and non-living things, and the living things interact with the non-living things and also with the environment, working as a system. The Ecosystem and its Components are thought of as entities in a limited, defined space – for e.g., a forest or an ocean. However, according to some scientists and ecologists, the entire planet is an ecosystem. Ecosystems are controlled by both internal and external factors. The external factors such as the climatic conditions define how the ecosystem works, but do not get affected by the ecosystem itself.

Characteristics of an ecosystem

  • Ecosystems are dynamic in nature. They are subject to periodic disturbances and are always in the process of either adapting to or recovering from a disturbance. Adapting to the conditions of the ecosystem is an important feature of the living components.
  • The complexity of the ecosystem depends on the diversity in its components. So, the more number of species in the ecosystem, the more complex it is.
  • The amount of energy required for the sustenance of the ecosystem is inversely proportional to its complexity. Highly complex ecosystems need less energy for their maintenance.
  • Simple ecosystems increase in complexity as they develop. This process is known as succession.
  • The basic functioning of an ecosystem depends on the energy cycles and material cycles.

Functions of an ecosystem

The Ecosystem and its components form a stable environment that is conducive for the sustenance of life. It can be said that in any ecosystem, there are the below functional components:

  • Inorganic components – water, air and soil
  • Organisms – Plants, animals, micro-organisms
  • Energy source – Sun

These three factors interact with each other to make the energy cycles and material cycles.

Components of an ecosystem

All ecosystems are made up of non-living (abiotic) and living (biotic) components.

  1. Abiotic Components

These are the non-living factors of an ecosystem. They could be resources or conditions. They can be broadly classified as Physical factors and Chemical factors.

Physical factors are as below:

  • Light: Sunlight is the primary source of energy for almost all of the ecosystems. Plants use this energy through photosynthesis. The amount of sunlight received depends on geographical and climatic factors. However, plants in low-sunlight zones too can carry out photosynthesis efficiently.
  • Water: On earth, life began in water. Water is extremely important for sustenance of life in any ecosystem.
  • Climate: The climatic conditions, especially temperature, is an important factor which determines which living organisms can inhabit the particular ecosystem.
  • Soil: The composition and characteristics of the soil influence what kind of vegetation can thrive. The vegetation in turn influences the species of animals that are found in the particular ecosystem.

Chemical factors are the organic compounds which lay the foundation of the living components. These include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, amino acids, etc. They are utilized by the biotic components.

  1. Biotic Components

Depending on their role in the energy cycle and material cycle, the biotic components can be classified into the following three types:

  • Autotrophic Components or Producers

These are constituted by mainly the green plants, algae, and photosynthetic bacteria. They are ‘self-nourishing’. They use energy from the sun and convert it into chemical energy. While doing this, they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen as a by-product of photosynthesis. Oxygen is then used by other biotic components in respiration. Hence, members of this component are known as Producers.

  • Heterotrophic Components or Consumers

The Consumers are dependent on others for their nourishment. They consume what the Producers provide. They are classified further as herbivores (eating plant-based food), carnivores (feeding on other animals), and omnivores (consume plants as well as animals). Herbivores are known as the Primary consumers whereas carnivores and omnivores are the Secondary consumers.

  • Decomposers and Transformers

The decomposers and transformers play a very crucial role in the maintenance of the ecosystem. All living organisms, whether plants or animals, have a certain lifespan after which they die. When living things die, their remains which are left behind contain nutrients in the form of complex compounds. Decomposers are bacteria that feed on the dead remains of plants and animals and break down complex compounds into simple compounds. The simple organic compounds are then changed into inorganic form by the Transformers. The transformers, too, are a kind of bacteria. The inorganic matter thus created is then utilized by the Producers.

Learn more in this video:

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