Is there any place that is truly free of human impact? Or can we still refer to some remote regions as “Eden” because they are ample in biodiversity?
Scientists think our influence on the earth is so significant that it has ushered in a new epoch in geological history. Illegal hunting and illegal cutting are examples of human involvement that have irreversible effects on our natural environment. However, a few of our magnificent regions are more secured than others. Maybe it’s because of their remote location.
Consider Borneo if the word “Eden” evokes visions of lush, colorful sceneries. It’s the third biggest island, with one of the world’s ancient– and most varied – rainforests. There are 60,000 varieties of animals and plants that reside here. 6,000 varieties out of them are indigenous (not found anywhere else on the Planet).
Also, it has the tallest tropical tree in the world, standing at 100.8 meters (330.7 feet) height and weighing an estimated 81,500 pounds. That’s longer and taller than a football field and weighs a lot more than a Boeing 737-800’s max take-off weight!
The Luangwa River is one of Africa’s greatest wildlife-rich rivers. It is one of only a third of the world’s longest rivers that is still free-flowing. Crocodiles and hippos abound, while lions, leopards, elephants, and buffalo. Two indigenous subspecies: Thornicroft’s Giraffe and Cookson’s Wildebeest abound in the valley across which it runs.
Because of the river, the Luangwa Valley has remained mostly unspoiled by humanity. Floods make the region unreachable by road almost half of the year. The knee-deep stream turns into a furious torrent, overflowing across adjacent plains and into nearby forests.
The Namib desert, located in Africa, is the earth’s oldest desert, with an estimated age of 55 million years. Temperatures will fluctuate from below 0°C to above 50°C in the same area, with yearly precipitation as little as 2mm.
Even a harsh environment like this is similar to an Eden – and it’s all because of the heavy fog. It produces dew, which helps life to thrive, like the welwitschia. It’s a Jurassic-era plant that can survive to be 1,500 years of age. It has only had two leaves, each of which can reach up to 4m in length. Even though the dried riverbeds imply a dry terrain, water runs beneath the soil, forming “oases”. It enables the growth of trees like the Camelthorn. The roots of those trees may reach groundwater up to 50 meters below the surface.
There’s also a startling variety of wildlife, including rhinoceros, lions, as well as the black-faced impala, to mention a few. Elephants, for example, can survive 4 days without drinking water or make waterholes with their tusks. The gemsbok (a big antelope) manages to retain a cool head by quick respiration. Even though its internal temperature is beyond 40°C, this pushes blood via arteries around its nose that chill it down, making its brain cool.
The Galápagos Islands are located in the distant reaches of the equatorial Pacific, about 1,000 kilometers away from any place. It was here that Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution. They are among the most significant regions of biodiversity in the world. The greatest levels of endemism: 80% of terrestrial birds, 97 percent of reptiles and terrestrial mammals, and moreover 30% of plants are only discovered here. The Galapagos penguin, the one and only penguin variety in the Northern Hemisphere, and, of obviously, the enormous Galapagos tortoise are both indigenous to the islands.
Patagonia is renowned as the “end of the world” because it spans out from the high Andes to Antarctica. Woodlands, islands, fjords, and icefields are among the country’s diverse features, and most of the creatures are as large as the environment. The Andean condor, which possesses the world’s longest wingspan, and also the Puma, the 4th largest cat breed, are among them. It measures 2.7 meters (9 feet) from snout to tail, but the more cuter-looking Geoffroy’s Cat is a more little threatened feline that is approximately the size of a pet cat. The oceans were also alive with life, with four unique penguin breeds and also the Commerson’s Dolphin, also referred to as the “skunk” or “panda” dolphin because of its black and white coloration. They’re sociable creatures who enjoy hanging around in the ocean with tourists and fishermen.
There’s a thick ice Eden in Southeast Alaska. Its regarded so vital by Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the century that he designated 17 million acres as a secured reserve. The Tongass National Forest is the biggest in the country.
Temperate rainforests contain the most live plant population per square kilometer of any woodland on the planet. And in this case, more is better. Giant cedar, hemlock, and spruce trees may live for 1,000 years, reach heights of 60 meters (200 feet), and have a diameter of 3.6 meters (12 feet).
The salmon migration is responsible for some of the area’s natural richness. Arriving Pacific salmon bring with them nutritional reserves built up over years in the free seas. These nutrients are subsequently introduced into the ecosystem as fishy fertilizer once they die or even in the ocean or in the woods after just being carried there by predators.
In addition, the forest is critical in the combat against global warming. It’s a natural carbon sink, with roughly half of the carbon stocks in America’s national forests being stored there.
Are you looking for Paradise?
While the isolation of these six Edens helps to preserve them, they are not immune to the dangers of contemporary life.
Alaska has been endangered by deforestation, and during 1985 and 2001, 29,000 km2 (about the size of Belgium) of Borneo was lost to the wood. One-fifth of the world’s rainforests have been destroyed to make more room for oil palm plantations, which generate great profits but do not support the surviving species. According to Eden’s director and producer, Ingrid Kvale, “in the last two decades alone, 80 percent of orangutan habitat has been destroyed.” “Vast numbers of these apes are stranded in isolated jungle pockets.” Mongoose, otters, civets, and sun bears are among the predators that are disappearing from Borneo.
The absence of legislation safeguarding the river in the Luangwa Valley is a hazard. “Whatever man-made changes to it, either it ‘s damming to contemporary growth and agriculture, might have an influence on all of it,” adds Valeria Fabbri-Kennedy, Eden director and producer. “All of the magnificent creatures we see and the wonderful behaviors we observe would be impacted.”
Off-road riding within the Namib desert destroys lichen beds, which has long-term consequences as lichen grows very slow. Human usage of underground water sources, according to Eden series producer Steve Cole, is also an issue.
“It puts wild animals like elephants into very close interaction with humans”. The greatest danger is the possible confrontation with humans.”
Most of Patagonia’s natural species have already been relocated as a result of habitat degradation. Mostly owing to sheep and cattle ranching. “Farming has destroyed nearly 90% of the steppe (scrubland),” adds Eden producer and director Justine Allen. It has decreased the number of guanacos, forcing pumas to look for alternative sources of food. “As a result, there has been a surge in human-predator conflict among pumas and ranchers.”
Even the far-flung Galápagos Islands aren’t immune to the difficulties brought by people. Tortoise eggs, local iguana species, and penguins have all been threatened by dogs, while a new wasp species has reduced caterpillar larvae, a nutrition source for finches. Nature, on the other hand, maybe a problem in its own right. Darwin’s Arch, a renowned rock structure off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, fell in May 2021 due to natural weathering.
However, attempts are taken to safeguard these priceless Edens.
As up to 90% of deforestation in Borneo is done unlawfully, organizations engage with local communities to provide them with different kinds of viable livelihoods. Other projects include rehabilitating damaged rainforests, and we can all help by purchasing only goods manufactured from verified sustainable palm oil or avoiding it entirely.
Plans to develop a hydroelectric dam on Zambia’s crucial Luangwa River were shelved in favor of wind and solar energy. This helped maintain the area’s ecology, and a movement is currently underway to get the river officially preserved to protect it from future dangers.
A number of national parks have been successfully established to conserve the Namib, including the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which covers 49,768 square kilometers (19,215 square miles), and a portion of the coastal desert was declared as a World Heritage site in 2012 (The Namib Sand Sea). Native people are also involved in a WWF-supported conservation movement, which gives them ownership and responsibility for natural resources and animals. Any profits generated in the region are re-invested in the community.
On the Galápagos Islands, conservation projects are also underway. Much is being done to rehabilitate these islands, from bringing tortoises back to Pinta Island after a 40-year absence to clearing invasive goats that devastated natural vegetation.
Lastly, in October 2020, the Tongass National Forest lost its protected status, exposing 9.3 million acres to industrial development in Alaska. In July 2021, a new Sustainability Strategy was launched in partnership with different local parties to support the economy and protect natural resources, and this conclusion was overturned.
All of this demonstrates that, despite the fact that our world today has a population of almost 8 billion people, there are still locations on the earth that may be considered Eden. “They’re still habitat to a dazzling diversity of life,” Eden’s Executive Producer Mark Brownlow adds, “guarded by their isolation or their harsh surroundings.”
“These final Edens are priceless, and they must be celebrated, loved, and above all, conserved.”
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