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At Balance with Nature: Mangrove Aquaculture Project

GENERAL - An EU funded project is underway in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, which will explore the link between mangrove ecosystems and associated social systems of selected localities

According to Mala D. Amarasinghe and Stuart S. Bunting of the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia Pacific (NACA), the project has a view to develop participatory strategies to reconcile multiple resource demands that will restore ecosystem health and thus sustainability of multiple ecosystem services.

NACA say that perceiving the environment as a system does not have a long history in the west, nevertheless in oriental philosophy not only all animate and inanimate elements on planet Earth but also those that are in the wider cosmos are perceived to be organically connected to each other and therefore parts of one mega-system. A change in one of its components is believed to be “felt” by all others, the sole reason for astrology to take a stronger foothold in the oriental world view.

NACA say: "Viewing the environment as a system or a machine which is essentially a group of independent but interrelated elements comprising a unified whole that performs functions, driven by energy of the sun, assists one to appreciate the significance of interconnectedness of its components, the plants, animals, microbes, humans as well as air, soils and water, just as much one appreciates the tiniest part of a machine without which it ceases to work."

How are components of the environment interconnected? All living beings in the environment obtain their energy and material requirements, the fundamental needs of life, from other components of the ecosystem, for instance, plants that trap energy directly from sun and nutrients from soil and water to produce food for themselves and for other organisms while humans obtain theirs (food) from plants and animals.

They also take water and air from the environment to make use of the energy in food to sustain their lives. Depletion of nutrients in soil or pollution of water affects plant life and in turn the lives of humans. Besides, all the waste these living organisms produce during their lives are disposed in to the environment and will be broken down to nutrients and harmless elements by the work of microorganisms.