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The animal kingdom and the avian world are both essential parts of the ecosystem that we can’t live without. From bees and butterflies pollinating crops to birds eating insect pests, these species have a crucial role in maintaining life on Earth as we know it. Here are some of the ways in which animals and birds play a vital role in our ecosystem.
White Bird on Picking Food
Sea species, such as sharks, rays, whales, and dolphins play a crucial role in our ecosystem. These creatures help cycle nutrients between ocean organisms by transferring carbon to other sea life through consumption. The same goes for animals that live on the land—most importantly insects like birds. By eating fish, birds can recycle vital nitrogen from oceanic waters back into soils and land-based plant life. And since nature runs in cycles—land turns into the soil which turns into vegetation which turns into food for humans who turn that food back into the soil for plants... you get it—animals are an important part of making sure everything stays clean and healthy. Basically: our world would be a very bad place without animals! Develop a management program based on these requirements provided by your manager.
Freshwater habitats are home to a huge variety of birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The large volume and variety make freshwater systems more diverse than their marine counterparts. Since there is no obvious separation between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, species from both areas interact quite frequently. This means that freshwater animals can have a big impact on one another. Many species migrate from land to sea for reproduction or food; many sea creatures visit freshwater for reproduction or safety during harsh weather. Over time, these interactions drive natural selection to make each species better suited for its environment. Freshwater wildlife is critical to these evolutionary processes since their interactions bring about new ways for life to adapt—and new opportunities for human survival.
Photo of Elephants on Grass
From sea turtles to marine mammals, land wildlife can be essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Aside from humans, animals are perhaps one of Earth’s most effective machines for removing biomass (i.e., bodies) from a given area—and they are nature’s cleanup crew. Animals remove up to 20% of plants and animals via predation or other means by playing a critical role in shaping ecosystems. Without these life forms controlling populations of plants, insects, and small animals, we would not have an ecosystem at all; with too many predators eating up prey (or each other), there wouldn’t be enough prey for every predator to eat—causing them all to starve or migrate elsewhere for food. This concept is called a trophic cascade. Remove any part of it, and chaos quickly ensues. It may seem as though predatory species such as wolves only kill their prey species (the herbivores). In reality, however, large carnivores often play an important role in shifting prey species towards behaviors that help entire forests thrive. For example, without wolves—which keep herbivore numbers down through hunting while also reducing competition among those herbivores by killing off weak members—the vegetation around Yellowstone National Park would quickly become overrun with elk calves as their mothers sought extra resources needed to care for them.
All life on Earth is interrelated. And that means that birds—which make up 10 percent of all living things—are every bit as important to keep our planet healthy as trees, dolphins, kangaroos, or even humans. So how do birds help? One example: seabirds can keep sea species’ populations under control by eating their eggs and young. This is called predation; predators like seabirds keep prey species from growing too big for a habitat to support them all (this process is called stabilization). The oceans are home to more than 25 million tons of fish, but only about 4 million tons survive each year because of stabilizing predator populations. Seabirds also serve an important role in pollinating certain plants so they can grow and reproduce. Without birds, parts of an ecosystem will eventually break down due to too many animals and not enough food sources. In other words, it's an ecological law: everything is connected! When we work together we see nature's solutions firsthand -- especially when it comes to keeping these delicate natural systems working for us now...and for generations to come.
Panda Bear on Green Grass
Other Important Creatures
No matter where you live, chances are good that you share your ecosystem with some pretty fascinating (and sometimes annoying) animals. Of course, some animals are much more visible than others. Humans don’t necessarily have to deal with creatures like sea otters regularly; other sea species are completely out of sight, but still vital to maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Whales, for example, feed directly off sea plants and keep their populations in check. Without them and all their marine pals, nature would be a different place entirely—much less diverse! Protecting marine life may feel like something small compared to problems we face as humans every day (think climate change or pollution), but if we all pitch in together? We can make a huge difference. It might seem intimidating, but it doesn’t take a lot to protect these sea creatures; try getting involved with organizations like Sea Shepherd or Greenpeace! Whatever you do, keep an eye on what happens beneath the surface: when things get messy down there, they have ways of making their way back up again... and it won't always be pretty.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Ghulam Nabi Memon