Nature @ Your Service

“Bee Urban”

What a great initiative! Aiming to spread awareness, knowledge about pollination and bees, and their impact globally and locally, Bee Urban offers sponsorship of beehives to companies and organisations in the urban environment in Stockholm. Pollination by bees and other organisms is essential for our food production and is an ecosystem service in decline. In China and the US, among others, this is a service that increasing numbers of farmers have to pay for. To enhance our ability to produce food locally, even in the cities, this project is a great way of making bee-keeping every man’s business.

I want to know more about Bee Urban!
UNEP about polllination (pdf)


Tags: , ,

Biomimicry

Monday, November 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

One ecosystem services is when nature is used for education. The best way of understanding ecology is to explore it outdoors. To have a personal relation to nature is essential to environment friendly behavior. Biomimicry is another angel of nature education, where nature is used as a source of solutions to human problems. The idea is to look how the same problem is solved in nature and try to mimic that by using technology. One classic example is how airplanes are designed similar to birds. More recently biomimicry has moved to a smaller scale, investigating molecules and microscopic surface structures that could be used to create water resistant paints.

Check out more examples at the Biomimicry Institute

Tropical butterfly

Tropical butterfly

Tags: , , , ,

Invaluable nature

Friday, October 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

How much are you prepared to pay for the park in your neighborhood? What is a viable bee population that pollinates crops worth to food production? Can a scenic view be given a monetary value? These are questions dealt with in ecological economics, a growing field of research. Our dependence on healthy ecosystem needs to be integrated into all kinds of decision making and economic estimation is one strategy. Still, some argue that it is wrong and impossible to put price-tags on nature.

Check out The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, TEEB

Tags: ,

Essential mushrooms

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

The mushrooms that we see in the woods are just a small part of the world of fungis. Mushrooms are hard working species in all kinds of environments. Together with microorganisms they decompose all leaves, needles and other organic material into nutrients that keeps the soil fertile. Up to 90 per cent of all plants are dependent on fungi roots, mykorrhiza. In one gram of soil in a Swedish forest 6 miles of mushroom roots. These microscopic roots help the plants to get nutrients and also protect it from toxins. In exchange the mushrooms get sugar from the plants photosynthesis. Without these species our forest would soon drown in its own waste and die from malnutrition. This relationship has been discovered to be very important for tree growth and hence in forestry. Modern forestry has just started to find methods that are “mykorrhiza-friendly”.

Chantarelles, image courtesy Sara Borgström

Chantarelles, image courtesy Sara Borgström

Remember the green water

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

You need approximately 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of water per day to drink and for hygiene. For this you use blue water that is found in lakes, rivers and ground water aquifers. But this is not the whole story. To produce the food you eat during one single day you need another 3500 liters (925 gallons) of water. This water is necessary for plants to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates, meaning the oxygen we breathe and the sugar we and our cattle live on. Today 70 per cent of the blue water that we use is needed for irrigation, causing water stress for both humans and nature. At the same time increasing numbers of people will need this water for their basic needs. Meanwhile there is an untapped potential of green water. This green water is rainwater that is absorbed by herbs, grasses, shrubs, trees and crops. The resource provided by green water is seldom recognized when water issues are discussed. Its potential can be tapped by using less water intensive crops and by sheltering plant roots during dry periods. Including green water in both water management systems as well as in agriculture is one main approach to hunger alleviation and adapting for the future.

Tags: , ,

The nature of your breakfast

Sunday, August 16th, 2009 | Nature @ Your Service | No Comments

The concept of ecosystem services communicates our inevitable dependence on nature despite the havens of urban culture, virtual worlds and space exploration. What sort of nature was needed to produce the content of your breakfast?

Breakfast

Check out the well-being of the Earths’ ecosystems at the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Check out research on Ecosystem Services and Ecosystem Management at Albaeco.

Recommended reading: Daily, G.C. Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems, Island Press, 1997.

Check out the wellbeing of the Earths’ ecosystems at the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Check out research on Ecosystem Services and Ecosystem Management at Albaeco.

Recommended reading

Daily, G.C. Nature’s services: societal dependence on natural ecosystems, Island Press, 1997.

Tags: