Balls of life revive ailing eco-systems

July 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Living & Lifestyle

Folk wisdom is giving Chumphon residents a novel way to help the environment, and increase the diversity of aquatic life in the rivers and sea

Ancient seafolk wisdom is being used to help restore the richness of Thai marine and river life. Balls the size of a human fist are thought to hold the secret to reviving the damaged eco-systems of both the rivers and the seas. Earlier this month, hundreds of people in Chumphon who live along the Phato River that empties into the sea came together to form the so-called “From Mountains to the Great Waters Network”. The network works on the preservation of the rivers and the sea through emulation of the ancient practice of feeding at the bottom of the food chain. .

In the old days, people would cut tree twigs, submerge them in the river and let them decay. The decayed twigs create humus which becomes food for microbes. Microbes, in turn, become a food source for the plankton in the sea. As plankton are regarded as the starting point of the food chain, the higher their concentration, the bigger contribution they can subsequently make to growth in the population of clams, oysters, sea cucumbers and fish which feed on them.

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