The central argument for monitoring can be stated in a single sentence: You cannot recognize, understand, improve or maintain what you do not or cannot measure. The ability to measure is a necessity—an activity that we need to maintain our well-being and the quality of our lives. Also, this need places monitoring squarely in the context of achieving sustainability; it provides valuable tools that offer indicative measures of:
Ecological and Environmental Resources;
Economic Development and Growth; and
Social Structure and Dynamics.
Purposeful, scientifically-defensible and credible measurements and observations in each of these areas can provide powerful bases for decisions and management actions that are focused upon a variety of goals including those related to sustainability. Broad categories of measurements arise from the practice of a spectrum of disciplines, not only those arising from environmental issues, opportunities and concerns.
The etymology of the term 'monitoring' derives from the Latin monēre: to warn (that is, “something or someone that warns, an overseer). Originally, in English, the definition of the term monitoring was limited to characterizing “someone who gives a warning so that a mistake can be avoided”. Now, it also connotes the act of observing something (and sometimes keeping a record of that observation; or to: keep watch; keep track of; keep under surveillance; or, check usually for a special purpose). With ever-increasing technological capability, the term can be used to describe a device (usually electronic) used to record, regulate, or control a process or system. Its meaning extends to keeping track of systematically (that is, on a regular or ongoing basis) with a view to collecting information. For example, to monitor the plant or animal populations of an ecological system or drinking water for impurities, to measure the condition of a nation's economy, or to monitor a peoples' social, political or cultural views or habits.
Humankind is now in its third generation since the chemical revolution—circa 1940. The myriad dimensions and implications of this worldwide phenomenon and its actual and...
Scotia Sea Islands tundraLast Updated on 2014-04-10 14:44:11The Scotia Sea Islands ecoregion is a terrestrial area comprising several groups of islands in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, some continental and some of volcanic origin. Generally associated with Antarctica in terms of flora and fauna, these islands are partially or fully covered in permanent ice sheets and snow. The dominant vegetation is a tundra of mosses, lichens, and algae. While there are no native land mammals and only a handful of land-birds, the Scotia Sea Islands support very significant seal, seabird, and penguin rookeries. The cold, harsh climate of the region has deterred permanent human settlement of the islands, though the region’s seal populations were drastically reduced during an era of intense hunting in the 17th and 18th centuries. The current commercial fishing industry in the Scotia Sea now poses threats to seal and seabird populations.
The Scotia Sea... More »
Maudlandia Antarctic desertLast Updated on 2014-04-10 14:29:38Antarctica remains the only relatively unspoiled continent on our planet. Almost entirely covered in a permanent ice cap that reaches as much as 4776 meters in thickness, conditions for life are quite extreme—but, not impossible. Terrestrial vegetation is limited in Maudlandia, though the Dry Valleys region of continental Antarctica is a fascinating ecosystem of flora and fauna highly adapted to polar desert conditions. Colonies of seabirds, penguins, and seals abound around the coasts, obtaining their sustenance from the highly-productive Antarctic seas. While this continent has had relatively little direct interference from humans, it is activity elsewhere that may have the greatest effect on Antarctica. Production of certain gases has contributed to a serious depletion of ozone in the atmosphere over Antarctica, as well as contributing to global warming, which could potentially... More »
Antipodes Subantarctic Islands tundraLast Updated on 2014-04-10 14:22:39
This ecoregion consists of five island groups spread out across the Southern Ocean: Bounty Islands, Auckland Islands, Antipodes Islands, Campbell Island, and Macquarie Island. Their remote location means they are critically important as resting and breeding areas for thousands of marine mammals and millions of seabirds. Biological and geological values are outstanding, with the islands boasting a highly endemic plant flora and a range of endemic and endangered birds. All of the islands are Nature Reserves and listed as World Heritage Sites, but introduced animals, especially mammalian predators, are of serious concern.
Scattered throughout the Southern Ocean, these islands range from the cold temperate zone (Macquarie Island) to the cool temperate zone, where the rest of the islands lie. All the islands are situated between the Antarctic and Sub-tropical Convergences. Area,... More »
Vertical farmingLast Updated on 2014-04-02 15:58:12
The advent of agriculture ushered in an unprecedented increase in the human population and their domesticated animals. Farming catalyzed the transformation of hunter-gatherers into urban dwellers. Today, over 800 million hectares is committed to agriculture, or about 38% of the total landmass of the Earth. Farming has re-arranged the landscape in favor of cultivated fields and herds of cattle, and has occurred at the expense of natural ecozones, reducing most of them to fragmented, semi-functional units, while completely eliminating others. Undeniably, a reliable food supply has allowed for a healthier life style for most of the civilized world, while the very act of farming has created new health hazards.
For example, the transmission of numerous infectious disease agents - avian influenza, rabies, yellow fever, dengue fever, malaria, trypanosomiasis, hookworm, schistosomiasis... More »
What Is Aquaculture?Last Updated on 2014-04-02 15:37:09
The term aquaculture broadly refers to the cultivation of aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments for any commercial, recreational or public purpose. The breeding, rearing and harvesting of plants and animals takes place in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, the ocean, and man-made “closed” systems on land.
Aquaculture serves many purposes including:
Food production for human consumption;
Rebuilding of populations of threatened and endangered species;
Wild stock enhancement;
Production of baitfish; and
Fish culture for zoos and aquariums.
It is one of the fastest growing forms of food production in the world. Because harvest from many wild fisheries has peaked globally, aquaculture is widely recognized as an effective way to meet the seafood demands of a growing population.
Using aquaculture... More »
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