Ecosystems at risk: why?
Man has always thought he would be able to alter the environment in which he lives to fulfil his own needs. Often though, he has not considered the consequences of this behaviour, and actually man has acted to obtain a certain effect, achieving instead the absolute opposite. A typical example may be the destruction of very productive ecosystems, such as estuaries and swamps, for the sake of reclaiming farmlands that are assumed to be “more” productive. But the special function of estuaries and swamps was not taken into consideration. In these areas, the plentiful production of vegetal species is not directly used as food, but these are however the places in which numerous species of birds and water animals, that have a high nourishing value, prefer to live and grow. The destruction of these areas (and their use in farming or industrial activities) is unfailingly followed by the disappearance of these species and the loss of the associated feeding values.
Another clear contradiction is the destruction of the tropical forest to make room for farming. In these areas, the land is fertile because the vegetation brings nourishment to it all the time. The products of the decomposition of the vegetal tissues are trapped and then used by an extremely thick network of roots. The destruction of the tropical forests and therefore of this wide and extremely important network of root apparatuses leaves lands that soon lose their fertility and in which productions can continue only by using huge amounts of fertilisers. Hence the need to burn more and more portions of forests to have fertile land available for just a few years of farming.