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Regional Habitat Restoration: Bringing our Earth Back in Balance - Part 1
RiverBlue documentary

In the last few years, with global climate change issues and theories taking a prominent place in the news, regional habitat restoration has been identified as one strategy for uplifting the state of the natural world.

Since humans started manipulating the world, there have been tremendous changes to Earth’s habitats. Stretching back to our ancient history, from clearing trees for agriculture and mining to the building of cities and roads, Nature has been intensely impacted. By disturbing soil, waterways, geology, and air, plants, animals, and humans have been negatively affected.

Amma says, "The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the home in which we sleep, the sun that gives us energy — we are indebted to Nature for all of these. Our life on this earth is possible only because of the combined effort of all its creatures. The rivers, trees, bees, butterflies and worms all play their part. If they did not exist, we would not exist. There would be no life. If we were to visualize Nature as one tree, then all the creatures would be its roots, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. The tree becomes whole only as a totality of its various parts. If one part is destroyed, the rest will also soon perish. Without Nature, humankind would not exist."

Many ask, how do we restore our habitats to their natural state, and can we really make a difference?

To begin with, let’s look at what a habitat is. According to the National Geographic Society, the definition of habitat is, “a place where an organism makes its home, meeting all of the environmental requirements for it to survive. This consists of shelter, water, food and space”. Around the world there are many different habitats you might encounter, including forests, deserts, mountain regions, grasslands, lowland swamps, and estuaries, just to name a few. These are further divided by regions which support these naturally occurring communities of living organisms, known as biomes. Plants, trees, animals, birds and insects live together in harmony in these biomes, creating a balanced environment.

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Habitat restoration crew

Large habitat restoration projects have been tackled by groups across the globe in many diverse locations to restore these biomes. With planning and funding, along with management plans to continue their health in our ever-changing climate, these projects are making a positive impact. One such large-scale project to restore habitat at an old mining site in the Appalachians was supported by many groups and governmental agencies. Check out the short but impressive video on One Tree Planted’s YouTube channel, which explains some of the steps involved in habitat restoration.

You might be surprised at the number of restoration projects you will find locally. A huge impact is made in many states by communities giving priority to the natural world around us. Check with your local city parks and recreation departments, state parks, and forest services, as they often accept volunteers if you are looking for a way to contribute. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do.

Though these huge projects feel like we are climbing large mountains, tackling a small backyard habitat restoration project can also have a desirable impact.

Many ask, “Can’t I just plant lots of trees and plants in my yard? Won’t that benefit nature?” Well actually, the answer is complex and varied.

There are numerous steps to turning your backyard into a diverse and functional native habitat. Planting trees and plants in a synergistic manner benefits all who live there. All components of a healthy habitat must be considered.

As Amma says, "The conservation of nature will be possible only when people fully recognize that they are a part of nature."

So go for a walk. Take a look around you and feel the part you play in your habitat.

Coming next-Part 2: Backyard Habitat Restoration

Paul and Anandadevi, Florida

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Read the Amma's answers to questions about Man and Nature >>

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