Oyster Shells: Creating New Colonies

Day 246 – I have never eaten an oyster, but plenty of people enjoy the salty, slippery mollusk. However, they do so much more than offer a food source.

They play a vital role in habitat restoration with the growing understanding that oyster reefs purify the waters in which they live and create preferred habitats for commercial and recreational fish species. Oyster reefs help stabilize shorelines and mitigate some of the impacts of sea level rise while acting as a carbon sink in part by improving the water’s capacity to absorb excess atmospheric CO2.” – Oyster Recovery

So, it makes perfect sense that making sure these habitats are healthy and thriving would be a major priority. One of the ways this is being done is through discarded shells. The shells discarded by diners are being collected, cleaned and dumped into waterways around the country and the world, where they form the basis of new oyster colonies. Not only is this process benefitting ecological restoration, but it has kept 65 tons of shells out of landfills.

The oyster colonies also are being planted along coastlines as a shore stabilization and storm mitigation strategy: the bumpy underwater colonies can act as speed bumps for destructive waves headed for the shoreline, dissipating some of their energy.” – ABC News

Currently the oyster restoration and and shell recycling program are only offered in states located along the ocean shoreline. Hopefully, the program will expand across the country, where oyster shells continue finding their way to landfills.

Tomorrow, celebrating National Wildlife Day.

Wildland Farming: Ecological Restoration

Day 163 – A farm in the UK has gone wild and it has people wondering if this could be the solution to our over farming problems. For 16 years the Knepp Wildland Project (West Sussex) has been home to grazing animals that are helping to boost biodiversity while also providing sustainable, high-quality meat.

“Not only are herds of animals roaming free, the project has brought solutions to some of the natural world’s most pressing problems: from soil restoration and flood mitigation to water and air purification, pollinating insects and carbon sequestration. Wildland farming can be an effective, low-cost method of ecological restoration. Rare species like turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons and purple emperor butterflies are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of more common species are rocketing. Only the surplus of animals that the land cannot sustain are harvested, there’s no soil degradation from intensive farming practices and the amount of carbon locked in the soil is increasing. Knepp could be used as a prototype for rewilding abandoned and over-farmed land.”weforum.org

Even though many current farming techniques are using less pesticides and finding ways to maintain nutrient soil, it seems like allowing nature to take over at least some of our lands could be very beneficial. We could also learn a great deal from ancient farming techniques.

Eliminating hunger is one of the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, but with 690 million people still going hungry, our agricultural heritage has plenty to teach us about how to feed our growing population without destroying the planet.

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) are outstanding landscapes of aesthetic beauty that combine agricultural biodiversity, resilient ecosystems and a valuable cultural heritage. Located in specific sites around the world, they sustainably provide multiple goods and services, food and livelihood security for millions of small-scale farmers. These ancestral agricultural systems constitute the foundation for contemporary and future agricultural innovations and technologies. Their cultural, ecological and agricultural diversity is still evident in many parts of the world, maintained as unique systems of agriculture.”Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Until we can entrust our farming to nature and the techniques created by our ancestors, we run the real risk of depleting our farmlands of the rich nutrients they need to survive. The current way is no longer working, we need to look to the past in order to ensure a successful future.

  • To learn more about the Knepp Wildland Project, click HERE.

Tomorrow, cases that protect your phone and the planet.