Monday 1 June, 2020

International Day for Biodiversity: Protect nature in the Caribbean

{Image by Javier Salguero/Pixabay]

{Image by Javier Salguero/Pixabay]

The Caribbean region is a hotspot for biodiversity which simply means it is home to a variety of life which includes flora and fauna.  

Biodiversity is important for every country as people depend on nature for food, medicine, employment and even tourism.  

This reliance however also means many species are under threat from poaching, deforestation and even climate change.  

This year the theme for International Day for Biological Diversity is “Our solutions are in nature.” 

We take a look at some homes to biodiversity in the Caribbean which we should continue to protect.  

 

Coral Reefs 

[Image by Marcelo Kato from Pixabay]

When you think about life under the sea, coral reefs are a hotbed for biodiversity.  

All manner of fish, crabs, turtles and the list can go on, depend on coral reefs for their source of food and as a home.  

Coral reefs also attract tourism, helping economies.  

However rising temperatures due to climate change, pollution, overfishing, coastal development, and mining continues to put pressure on the existence of coral reefs.  

Recently the Dutch government allocated 7.2 million Euros for nature protection for the islands of Saba, St Eustatius and Bonaire where coral reefs are threatened by soil erosion and water contamination.  

Efforts to bring back Jamaica’s coral reef were also highlighted last year.  

 

Mangroves 

[Image by Freddie01 from Pixabay]

An important buffer between the land and sea, mangroves in the Caribbean are very essential and should continue to be protected.  

Mangroves serve an eco-system for life. It’s where fishes spawn in a nursery type habitat and where fishermen can catch crab.  

It also serves as a buffer against one of this region’s worst enemies-hurricanes.  

Unfortunately, in the quest for land development, the importance of mangroves is often overlooked.  

Trees are cut down and chemicals that seep into the ocean causes damage.  

Of late more Caribbean countries have actively taken steps to preserve mangroves.  

 

Forests 

[Image  by IIomyli from Pixabay] 

Hopefully if you look around you there are forests in the distant mountains or maybe closer to home.  

Forests definitely serve as homes to a variety of animals, insects and plants. 

Just as flora and fauna depend on forests for survival people need it too to support their livelihoods, to prevent soil erosion, floods and for cleaner air.  

In the Caribbean there are protected forest reserves that serve as a refuge for threatened species and to guard against deforestation for land development purposes.  

 

You can do your part too to help biodiversity.  

  • Plant a tree or flowers in your yard and watch nature blossom right in front of you.  

  • Reduce the amount of agrichemicals sprayed on plants let life grow.  

  • Help keep the rivers and oceans clean by disposing of your garbage and chemicals in a safe manner.  

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