More than anything else, the appearance of COVID-19 reminded humanity about the significance of predicting and planning for and, as necessary, guiding the path of events that may follow in the upcoming years. After all, pre-plan has never failed anyone!

Cambridge University conservation biologist William Sutherland and his crew of 24 fellow conservation researchers and academics from across the globe have released the 2021 Horizon Scan of Emerging Global Biological Conservation Issues in the scientific journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution. 

The publication found 97 trends that could have significant conservation and biodiversity implications to our surroundings.

Below you will find ten biodiversity conservation trends for 2022, deemed the most strategic and do-able by climate and biodiversity experts worldwide.

1. Ocean Iron Fertilization

Rock formation on beaches
Rock formation on beaches | Image Credit – Rachel Claire

Sea Coasts are rich in wildlife habitats. And, those in the arctic regions are increasing in volume daily due to the glacial and drifting ice containing comparatively significant levels of iron melts due to climate change. These high amounts of iron in the ocean stimulate rapid plant development.

It multiplies the food source for other life forms in the vicinity while also increasing the capacity of coral reefs to absorb surface-warming carbon dioxide from the air. 

However, if the pattern holds, it will disrupt ecosystems, environment structure, and dynamics along arctic regions in immeasurable ways. 

Today numerous ecological initiatives revolve around ocean iron fertilization while finding ways to minimize the disruption of the marine ecosystem.

2. Exposure to endocrine disruptors

By disrupting physiological hormone levels crucial for growth, cognition, and reproduction, endocrine disruptors can provoke harmful health impacts in numerous species, including humankind. 

Fish subjected to tiny amounts of pollutants routinely found in rivers and oceans can affect subsequent generations who were not directly involved.

Bifenthrin and synthesized progesterone, estrogen, androgens, utilized in many commodities, reach rivers and oceans via sewer lines. And these are a few examples of disruptors known to have inter-generational consequences. 

Even though preclinical tests have only verified intergenerational impacts in a few species of aquatic animals, there is deep suspicion that long-tail phenomenon detection in plenty of other animals. Hence, another conversation trend to watch out for is managing sewage waste.

3. Seabirds to regulate illegal fishing

Illegal, unlicensed, and unmanaged fishing
Illegal, unlicensed, and unmanaged fishing | Image Credit – Maël BALLAND

Scientists are experimenting with the use of marked seabirds to track down fishing fleets to improve overall monitoring of illegal, unlicensed, and unmanaged fishing, which impacts marine ecosystems due to overfishing and inappropriate fish harvesting. 

Albatrosses and other shorebirds have implanted devices that can identify, collect, and report the whereabouts of radio waves broadcast by fishing boats in real-time. 

Birds can track fishing vessels or watercraft, enabling the detection of ships that often go undetected. The method was proven in early tests done in the Indian Ocean. 

Once the strategy is implemented, it will be critical to determine whether marked shorebirds are intentionally targeted by fraudulently operating watercraft.

4. Afforestation might not always be beneficial

Why It Is Not Enough to Simply Plant Millions of Trees | Video Credit – Terra Mater

Reforestation is viewed as a means of assisting in cooling the planet by removing excess carbon from the environment. 

However, it is not always that straightforward. Trees can appear in otherwise treeless regions in a variety of ways. 

They can be planted anywhere by anyone in the name of afforestation. Native trees can spontaneously expand, or non-native trees can infiltrate and spread quickly as tree invasion. 

And, surprisingly there are pieces of evidence that trees can do more damage than good for the regional climate system and the biosphere as a whole in all the scenarios mentioned above. 

Steadily increasing vegetation canopy in freezing and temperate zones can also contribute to net temperature rise through changing reflectivity, such as preventing the solar radiation from bouncing off the Earth’s crust. 

The reflective property of ice, for example, cools the globe at higher elevations in Canada and Russia. As a result of tree presence in these locations, the snow is covered, making the terrain darker and hotter.

Trees and vegetations that are improperly placed, for instance, may wind up displacing biodiversity. 

Wildfires have become more destructive in Florida due to the introduction of broadleaved paperbark trees into marshes. 

Similarly, intrusions of pine trees in South America’s Patagonian steppe have increased the intensity of flames by providing more fuel and interconnectivity. Hence, we might see a change in how experts promote afforestation in the upcoming times.

5. Complete coverage for sustainable farming practices in the Indian States

People Harvesting in organic and sustainble way
People Harvesting in organic and sustainble way | Image Credit – Quang Nguyen Vinh

As a component of a growing revolution in India, the majority of the farmers have discarded harsh chemicals and pesticides in preference of natural alternative treatments. 

Non-pesticide administration is a long-term pest management strategy based on the idea that an outbreak of one pest species signifies an environmental perturbation. 

Sustainable and organic agriculture has become a central strategy in the Indian state of Sikkim. Correspondingly, the state of Andhra Pradesh has set a goal for its 6 million farmers to adopt organic farming by 2025.

At present, 250 000 producers have benefited from a state-led strategy of coaching, promotion, and social capital formation. 

And, many of the farmers have migrated from high-input, post-green movement approaches. As more breakthroughs emerge, the projects may trigger a domino effect, encouraging other nations and producers to jump on board.

6. Bitcoin mining and threats to the environment

Banking institutions and transaction businesses in China have already been prohibited from offering services linked to bitcoin payments. How so? 

Bitcoin mining, a resource-intensive mechanism that ensures legitimate exchanges, has emerged as a prospective alternative to money transfer. 

Bitcoin mining can be done at any hour and in any location. Thus it might be a low-paying but better-than-nothing application for the energy resources.

Those seeking to fight biodiversity-depletion climate-changing activities are concerned that using Bitcoin may reduce the usage-capacity disparity and increase fossil fuel consumption. 

But there is also hope that it will help make renewable technologies more commercially appealing. 

In this age of cryptocurrency, experts are finding ways to make the process more ethical and climate-friendly.

7. Low earth satellite intervention

Low earth orbiting satellites affects animals
Low earth orbiting satellites affects animals | Image Credit – Pixabay

At this point, there appear to be 2,600 artificial satellites encircling the globe, and the count is increasing exponentially. 

These observatories are low-earth orbiting satellites because they hover roughly 1,000 kilometers above the planet. 

And as a matter of fact, conventional satellites orbit at a much higher distance of roughly 35,000 kilometers.

Creatures that depend on astronomical signs for orientation and locomotion amid migrations are causing concern among experts. 

Wildlife that use the constellations to travel depends on a concept known as the center of rotation, which aids them in identifying star arrangements linked with the prime meridian. Disorientation and perplexity can be caused by satellites that emit light back to the ground.

This condition suggests that they navigate and maneuver using the sun, moon, or stars. From the tiniest dung beetle to the largest harbor seal and other fauna that use it, we can find astronomical signals all through the planet. 

Migratory birds, such as the indigo bunting, navigate by using the stars as their orientation center. 

Hence, changes in the way we throw artificial satellites up into space, probably at higher distances, can make the life of these creatures much simpler. 

8. All-natural building materials

Chemical compounds, resins, and microbes have been identified as potential ingredients in developing biological, self-healing construction material. 

The frequent deployment of self-healing construction products would reduce limestone consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and minimize the disruption of rock formations presently exploited for cement manufacturing companies. 

With emerging large infrastructure initiatives like China’s Belt and Road Initiative, self-healing composites could reduce stress on urban and local ecosystems that produce building materials while also cutting operating costs and carbon dioxide output in remote locations.

In between the Baltic and Black Seas, a large-infrastructure project intends to build a 2000-kilometer navigational channel

The proposed E40 Waterway would interconnect the Baltic and Black Seas, traveling through Belarus, within the Port of Gdansk in Poland to the Port of Kherson in Ukraine. 

Sedimentation and the construction of other waterways, gates, and bridges are all design phases. Its supporters argue that it will have many environmental, societal, and financial advantages, including enhanced trade and shipping flows across the territory.

Nevertheless, the waterway’s proposed path crosses Polesia, one of Europe’s most fabulous undisturbed nature reserves and home to significant populations of megafauna as well as transit for enormous flocks of shorebirds. 

The waterway could impact 70 wildlife reserves and several internationally recognized conservation areas. 

Researchers are now exploring ways to reduce the risk of species diversity being harmed due to altered ecosystem and hydrology, followed by increased dissemination of non-native invasive species.

9. Social media updates as an investigation tool

Social media updates as an investigation tool
Social media updates as an investigation tool | Image Credit – Jeremy Levin

Contamination or other intrusions impair ecological integrity in many parts of the world due to inadequate surveillance, diagnosis, mitigation, and rehabilitation. 

However, owing to technological advancement, this could evolve. Authorities can now use social media drilling and other insightful and ballistics instruments. 

It will enable them to access and gather records, authenticate the data’s integrity, verify the incident’s spatial or temporal aspects, as well as provide actionable evidence for media coverage, public involvement, and multinational and multicultural civil proceedings. 

The application of high-quality open-source analytics to research environmental hazards might become progressively crucial as cellphones and internet services become more widely adopted.

10. Responding to fire hazards

As the regularity, magnitude, and ferocity of woodland arson increases worldwide, government initiatives emphasize the idea that removing trees could minimize the extent of these flames, lowering civilian fatalities and monetary losses. 

Furthermore, given the mounting public pressure to address this expanding concern, governments are willing to turn to strategic tree clearance as a means of preventing wildfires.

To Wrap Up

If you have been tracking this year’s prognosis headlines, you know they do not present a good image, especially when it comes to our ecosystem and planet as a whole. 

Climate-related catastrophes are becoming more common; the sea is losing life and accumulating trash, industrial pollution is at an all-time maximum, drinkable water is running out, the planet’s wild cats are on the brink of dying, and coral reefs could be next.

As a result, environmental protection and conservation are taking a more prominent place on the globalist agenda worldwide. 

It is becoming abundantly apparent that states cannot separate ecological adaptation strategies from the global development agenda. Therefore, solving both will necessitate a significant rethinking and resizing our responses.

Shradha Bhatta holds a Bachelors’s Degree in Social Work along with a Post-graduate degree in Project Management from Georgian College in Canada. Shradha enjoys writing on a variety of topics and takes pleasure in discovering new ideas. She likes traveling and spending time with nature. She is a very people-person who loves talking about climate change and alerting people to go green!