What happens when wildlife habitats are protected through Dots.eco?

wildlife habitats

We’ve all heard it before, protecting wildlife habitats is crucial for preserving biodiversity, sustaining ecosystems, and supporting human life and well-being. But, do we know what that actually means in the current climate crisis? What does protection accomplish? And, do we really need to safeguard spaces full of insects?

The first two questions are a bit more complicated to answer in one sentence. But we can definitely tell you the answer to the third right off the bat. Yes, we do need to safeguard those green (and blue!) spaces that might be full of insects and other weird animals, and there are very good reasons why!

What is the role of wildlife habitats for our planet?

Our planet is a vast, interconnected living system, made up of countless habitats and ecosystems that play different roles in ensuring Earth can sustain life as we know it. Tropical rainforests are a prime example of one of these components. They cover a small fraction of the Earth’s surface but absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, helping reduce the greenhouse effect. Their dense vegetation captures water from the soil and releases water vapor through transpiration, influencing global precipitation and weather patterns.

Other habitats around the world play a critical role in regulating the Earth’s climate and ensuring environmental stability. Some regulate temperatures through processes like plant transpiration, or the albedo effect in the poles! That’s where the ice and snow in the poles reflect sunlight back into space, avoiding extra heat absorption and ensuring lower global temperatures. Coastal habitats, such as mangroves and coral reefs protect shorelines from erosion and storm impacts. Altogether, these natural habitats are fundamental in maintaining the climate balance, making their protection and restoration critical.

What actually happens when we protect a wildlife habitat?

Just like Earth, habitats are living systems, but on a much smaller scale. Think of them like the cells in Earth’s body. Each cell is alive and has its whole thing going on inside of it (shout-out to the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell). The systems inside each cell need to work for the cells to be able to do what it’s supposed to do for the body.

When we protect a habitat, we safeguard the intricate web of life that exists within it, ensuring the survival of the diverse species that call it home, and ensuring that “the cell” is pulling its weight to keep our planet going. The species within a habitat interact with each other and the habitat in a myriad of ways. The end results are the functions and services that the ecosystem provides for Earth’s body. Ok, enough with the metaphor already!

Protecting a forest habitat means protecting the plants that act as carbon sinks, regulating air temperatures, and regulating precipitation regimes. It also means protecting the animals that will assist those plants in pollination and seed dispersal so that the plants can survive, the animals that enrich the soil with their… err uhm… waste, so that the soil is always healthy and able to sustain plants, fungi, and a lot of other organisms.

Even insects play crucial roles inside that forest habitat! Despite their reputation, insects are great! They act as pollinators, serve as food for many animal species (including fish, amphibians, and birds), and ensure no one species over-populates the habitat by being vectors for diseases that do population control. Ok, that last one is not so great, but this ecological function is still needed to ensure the habitat is healthy and able to provide the services needed so that our planet can house us all.

How does Dots.eco approach wildlife habitat protection?

We actually have a few approaches to wildlife habitat protection because different habitats have different needs.

Let’s start with terrestrial habitats, shall we? Our two impact categories “buying land for nature reserves” and “protecting wildlife habitats” pretty much cover the part of our business that focuses on protecting land habitats. Through those, we support projects that aim to create more protected habitats by buying the land those habitats are in and designating them legally protected areas, or projects that purchase land easements to avoid destruction in the name of development. We also support projects that actively protect wildlife habitats with activities such as patrolling, fencing off poachers, and wildlife monitoring.

Our approach to protecting aquatic habitats is reflected in our “protecting marine areas” impact category. With the funds from that category, we enable efforts to maintain operations inside Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with activities such as boat patrols, border control via satellite tracking, fisheries monitoring and management, wildlife monitoring with scuba divers, and public education to raise awareness on how to treat our Ocean better. Did you know that our Ocean also acts as a very important carbon sink? Tell you what. We’ll get to the Ocean’s carbon pump on another day. Don’t forget to check our blog regularly to catch that one!

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