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      Oysters transform coastal seas

      Writer: Matteo Convertino  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2023-11-02

      Bio terraformation is the process of preparing extraterrestrial planets for life by creating habitats and a suitable atmosphere. Similar efforts can be carried out on Earth to restore lost habitats or enhance existing ones.

      生物地球改造是通過創造棲息地和合適的大氣層為生命準備地外行星的過程。我們可以在地球上用類似的方式來恢復失去的棲息地或增強現有的棲息地。

      Pak Nai natural oyster reefs. Courtesy of The Nature Conservancy in Hong Kong

      白泥自然牡蠣礁。

      Oysters are particularly useful in this regard due to their collective behavior, which stabilizes sediments, filters water, and increases biodiversity in coastal marine ecosystems. A single oyster can filter 7 liters of water per hour, and the carbon sequestered in the shells of oysters harvested annually is roughly 10% of the total blue carbon stored in coastal wetlands per year. Restoring oyster reefs is crucial for reversing global ecosystem declines and preserving marine ecosystem functions, not to mention the economic benefits. However, uncertainties in the dollar value of oyster reefs and certain conditions required of restoration sites hinder the potential for global-scale restoration.

      牡蠣非常適合用于此類目的,因為它們的集體行為可以固定沉積物、過濾水體并提高沿海海洋生態系統的生物多樣性。一只牡蠣每小時可以過濾7升水,每年收獲的牡蠣殼中固存的碳大約是沿海濕地每年儲存的藍碳總量的10%。修復牡蠣礁對于扭轉全球生態系統的衰退和保護海洋生態系統的功能至關重要,更不用說經濟效益了。然而,牡蠣礁的美元價值的不確定性和恢復地點所需的特定條件阻礙了全球范圍內恢復的潛力。

      Over the past 50 years, there has been a shift from natural reefs to rapid and massive aquaculture farming of oysters. As a result, many oyster reefs in areas such as Shenzhen and other parts of the Greater Bay Area have disappeared, leading to the loss of ecological value and the local supply chain, as well as the disruption of coastal diversity corridors. It is imperative to predict the potential distribution of oyster reefs, quantify their ecosystem benefits and economic value, and consider local hydro-climatic risks that oysters can mitigate.  

      在過去的50年里,牡蠣的養殖方式已經從天然珊瑚礁轉變為快速和大規模的水產養殖。因此,深圳和大灣區其他地區的許多牡蠣礁已經消失,導致了生態價值和當地供應鏈的損失,以及沿海多樣性走廊的破壞。當務之急是預測牡蠣礁的潛在分布,量化其生態系統效益和經濟價值,并考慮牡蠣可以緩解的當地水文氣候風險。

      A man prepares oyster in Shekou , Shenzhen. Most of the oysters come from elsewhere other than Shenzhen (typically from Hong Kong). Matteo Convertino

      一位商販在蛇口海鮮市場清理牡蠣。深圳的大部分牡蠣來自其他地區,特別是香港。

      Light at the sea bottom and primary productivity are the dominant environmental variables governing the global distribution of oyster reefs. Only about 13.8% of high-suitability areas in eight hotspot countries are incorporated into marine protected areas, highlighting the need for protection. China is the 7th oyster restoration hotspot in the world in terms of total benefits, despite being the largest producer and consumer of globally farmed oysters.

      海底光照和初級生產力是決定全球牡蠣礁分布的主要環境變量。在8個熱點國家中,只有約13.8%的高適宜性區域被納入海洋保護區,突出了保護的必要性。盡管中國是全球養殖牡蠣的最大生產國和消費國,但就總效益而言,中國是世界上第七個牡蠣修復熱點。

      Several hotspots in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, including Shenzhen Bay, Yantian port, Nan'ao, old Dapeng Town, and Hong Kong are deemed oyster habitats due to the presence of tidal flats, mangroves, and seagrass that facilitate oyster aggregation. However, questions remain about water quality, restoration of hydrological corridors, climate stress, and stakeholder desirability for restoring oyster reefs in these areas.

      粵港澳大灣區的幾個熱點地區,包括深圳灣、鹽田港、南澳和香港,由于存在有利于牡蠣聚集的潮灘、紅樹林和海草,被視為重要的牡蠣棲息地。然而,關于水質、水文走廊的恢復、氣候壓力以及利益相關者是否愿意在這些地區恢復牡蠣礁的問題仍然存在。

      Restoring oyster reefs through habitat rewiring or rewilding is crucial for climate engineering and habitat improvement. Oysters can play a role in rewiring coastal ecological corridors, which has global and local positive effects on carbon sequestration in addition to other benefits. Oyster shells can be used for concrete by developers.

      通過棲息地重構或野化來恢復牡蠣礁,對氣候工程和生境改善至關重要。牡蠣可以在重建沿海生態走廊方面發揮作用,這對碳封存以及其他好處有全球和地方的積極影響。牡蠣殼甚至可以被開發商用來做混凝土。 

      Many estuarine areas in the Greater Bay Area have the potential as oyster reef restoration sites, and effort is worthwhile for governments to consider this nature-based solution to improve the marine ecology.

      大灣區的許多河口地區有潛力成為牡蠣礁的恢復地,政府可以考慮這種基于自然的解決方案來改善海洋生態環境。

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