World Environment Day wrap: ecosystem restoration

The theme of World Environment Day this year is “Reimagine. Recreate. Restore.” Ecosystem loss is catastrophic for the planet at large, but there are many researchers, workers and volunteers around the globe thinking about the best ways to restore the environment.

Here are five perspectives on ecosystem restoration we’ve covered in Cosmos – in just the past six months.

Blueprint for a sustainable ocean

The ocean’s capacity to restore itself is a valuable thing. A study published in Nature earlier this year demonstrated that protecting and restoring very precise areas of the ocean could have immense benefits, for both the environment and for fisheries. For instance, protecting 3.6% of the oceans from bottom trawling would reduce carbon disturbance by 90%.

A river through a forest. The forest is green. The ocean is on the left. There are three forks in the river
River bends in the Daintree Rainforest in Queensland. Credit: Michael Cook – Altai World Photography / Getty Images.

Slow the flow: Rehabilitating Australian Rivers

We assume that the more water in our rivers, the better – but the speed of water matters as much as the volume. Adam Rose, a researcher in water ecology at Central Queensland University, shows us that Indigenous knowledge, slowing the speed of the water, and working with our naturally unpredictable climate are key to restoring Australia’s river systems.

Does nature have rights?

Legal battles on environmental conservation are nothing new, but they’re a valuable way of preserving ecosystems. Earlier this year, the Blue Mountains council became the first jurisdiction in Australia to recognise the legal rights of nature. Australian legal, environmental and Indigenous experts weigh in on the issue.

Orange bellied parrot credit adrian mann 2 small
Credit: Adrian Mann.

Orange-bellied parrots fly free

The critically endangered orange-bellied parrot has another lifeline, after 32 captive-born parrots were released on the Victorian coast last month. Chad Crittle, senior keeper at the Adelaide Zoo, where four of the birds were raised, tells us about the reintroduction process.

Rewilding isn’t just about the animals

Plants and animals are often the things we think of first when we consider rewilding. But an ecosystem has more parts than just flora and fauna. A team of Dutch researchers have urged ecologists to think about the “geodiversity” of an area as well – its geography and geology.

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