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close this bookBasic Concepts in Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources Management: An Information Kit (International Institute for Rural Reconstruction (IIRR))
close this folderEcological basics
View the documentEcosystem degradation
View the documentHabitat and niche
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View the documentPopulation and the environment

Ecosystem degradation


Wheel of interacting forces affecting any ecosystem

The above is an illustration of the different factors involved in ecosystems degradation. The biggest responsibility involves the policy planners and implementors at the national, regional, provincial and municipal levels. The community (townsfolks, students, public officials, media and private entities) should play an important roles in the local use of the resources within each ecosystem. The role each one should play could be policing, reporting, organizing and taking hands-on-action to abate further loss of a tree, orchid, medicinal plants, bird and other animal species in an ecosystem. All of these are part of our national heritage. The conservation of which can be as joyful as the successful captive breeding of the Philippine Eagle or as sad as the plight of the Tamaraw. Much of the future of Philippine ecosystems depends on how we develop the social system which affects the ecological system.

If left alone and not irreversibly damaged, an ecosystem has the capacity to regenerate itself.

Impact of human activities on different ecosystems

Ecosystem

Activities

Problems-Issues

1. Forest Ecosystem 6.7 million ha

Clear-cut logging

Continuous loss of forest cover


Mining

Rate of extraction at 100,000 ha/yr


Slash-and-burn activities

Loss of soil nutrient

Forest slopes soil exposed to onslaught of varying climatic conditions

Forest harvesting of wood/non wood products

Loss of soil fertility


Varied activities of forest dwellers

Loss of plant/animal resources

2. Grassland Ecosystem 10.6 million ha

Forest tires

Grassland areas further degrades


Kaingin practices

Soil erosion rate (an average


Harvesting of non-timber products

of 73 ha per year)


Mining activities

Increased surface run-off


Herbivore production

Loss of plant/animal resources


Human activities aggravating conditions of watershed areas


3. Freshwater Ecosystem 0.90 million ha

Mining

Loss of critical watersheds (19 out of 58)


Operations of mini-hydro power plants

Erosion


Establishment of swimming resorts using natural springs

Increased silt-load



sedimentation of freshwater


Ecotourism activities

bodies and adjoining zones


Domestic agro-residential industrial sites of water

Affects water quality


Aquaculture

Affects yield regulation service for diminishing water agro-industrial-domestic uses; power generation capability


Navigation

Loss of ecotourism value


Open fisheries

Encroachement of exotic species


Drainage and conversion to agriculture

Loss of native plants/animals



Eutrophication of lakes



Biologically dead rivers; drainage channels



High level of organic and other polluants

4. Rural-urban Ecosystems11.8 million ha

Rural-urban community activities

Affecting life support system


Domestic; agro-industrial production

Drought/floods/brown-outs


Recreation/leisure

Lack of quality water


Transportation

No water



Navigation traffic



Loss of lives, properties and industries



Decreased agricultural and industrial production

5. Mangrove Ecosystems

Mangrove harvesting

Affect mangrove productivity

Remnant 310,375 ha

Trading/commerce

Decreasing yield of fishery resources,


Land conversion for human settlement areas

Loss of habitat



Loss of nutrients


Conversion of mangrove areas into impoundments for fishy shrimp 210,456 ha

Loss of biodiversity


Conversion of 100,000 ha mangrove swamps into salt beds industrial and agricultural area for coconut and rice production

Erosion/sedimentation

6. Coral Reef Ecosystems Remnant 2,245 kms

Open fisheries

Affect coral reef productivity


Dynamite fishing

Depletion of economically important fishing grounds


Coral reef harvesting

Pollution


Muro-ami activities

Loss of biodiversity


Scuba diving



Sea-ranching