Most ancient civilizations began at the bank of a water body – be it river, lake or similar fresh water geographical regions.
Our ancestors understood the importance of water. With no complex technologies to extract natural resources at your fingertips like we have now, they were intensely aware of nature’s gifts and did not take it for granted.
In fact, most cultural knowledge from our human past reflect a deep understanding of the ecosystem as being a collection of various living elements linked across time and space. This signifies and highlights that every small problem will have continuous repercussions in different directions and in future time frames.
If we drive a certain species of flora or fauna into extinction, more than the simple absence of the extinct animal, the event births a new set of issues that will covertly bring about ecological imbalances like changed food patterns or violating co-dependent relationships between organisms.
Even a small change – good or bad – can have long lasting effects.
You can liken it to an earthquake whose seismic point is where the earthquake tremor waves originate from but whose effects can reach far and wide in ripples.
How are elements of Nature – both organic and inorganic things – ecologically linked across time and space?
- Across Time: Today’s seed ball is tomorrow’s tree!
The Future grows in the pregnant belly of the present.
When we think of ecological connections across time, we should understand that every small action will have an effect, no matter how negligible, in future. A small seed ball has the power to give birth to a tree which in turn will produce many fruits.
These fruits will affect the population of bird and animal species that depend on that specific fruit. It will also produce even more trees which rise from the pollinated and dispersed seeds.
- Across Space: What happens at the lake affects the sea’s business!
Lake: I am so far from you. What I do is none of your business.
Sea: But it is.
When we think of the hand of nature reaching across space and geography, we should understand how every action in our environment will affect many other relations.
For instance, the Mango and Jamun trees are commonly found near the river banks.
- The fruits that drop into the waters will make the water nutrient-rich for the aquatic creatures to feed upon.
- Underwater, we have aerobic and anaerobic bacteria converting the organic material like fallen fruits into biomass products for direct intake by aquatic life.
- The frog spawn and the small fish fry will urgently feed on the fructose and sucrose content from the fruits and develop swiftly into their grown selves.
- The water rich in organic matter will travel through underground channels to join the river and then the sea. The aquatic life depends on these routes also for enrichment.
The growth of trees on the river bank has the potential to affect marine life in terms of nourishment.
Here, the interlinking produces a domino effect.
In such situations, so many spaces – the terrestrial, wetland, riverine and marine ecosystems – are interconnected.
The land is linked to the oceans – this is the umbilical connection that needs to be preserved and fostered.
After all, life began in water.
So, in our current lake crisis that Bengaluru is facing, we have to remember that preserving our lakes is not an isolated act but that which has multiple consequences if we were to ignore it willfully.
Flora and Fauna work together to make things happen in the lake ecosystem. The water oxygenated by specific plants like the Water Lilies is taken in by fishes and other forms of underwater life alike. This also acts as a process of detoxification also.
Such complex work is carried out by plants and aquatic life with utmost meticulous care and dedication for the bigger purpose.
If they can, why shouldn’t we?
Let us do our bit by not hampering these ecological balances, maintaining harmony between Nature and humans and understanding the intricate web of life.
Join us on our journey Wake the Lake project as we set out to revive the dying lakes of Bengaluru.
This article was written with the insightful contribution of Dr. Yellappa Reddy, former Indian Forest Service officer and a Trustee at Bengaluru Environment Trust.