Increase and exploit biodiversity globally

In the forest lingonberry
In the forest cowberry

Veikko J. Pyhtilä, 29.3.2019, updated 11.3.2020

Impoverishment of biota should be prevented by examining how plants cultivation, rearing and conservation measures could contribute to their viability. I am not in favor of clear cutting in forests, but indeed thinning, where the undergrowth is recovering and absorbing more carbon and preventing the soil from possibly releasing as much carbon as the clear cutting areas. Thinned forest gives more cowberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc. to vegetation, hardly any dense old forest at all. Fungi also grow better when the forests are not cut open so much. There are cowberries around the old tree stumps even in the drier summers and blueberries in the wet swamps. In the frosty years, cloudberries are better in the edge than in the open swamp. Old trees will get plant diseases when warm winters are more often as the climate changes and it will increase also pests. Forestry machines should be articulated so that tracks and tires do not spoil the forest. Some wild forests may be nature reserves. It should be possible to regulate the water flow in forest ditches by dams so that, in dry summers, sufficient moisture can be maintained in Finnish forests and in other forests for the growth of berries and mushrooms and to control the release of greenhouse gases from the soil. However, trees need to grow well to provide materials for wood construction and furniture, clothing and other purposes that will bind carbon for a long period of time. Thinning young forest below and seed trees produce more twigs and needles as a soil conditioner that binds carbon than old forest alone. When harvesting trees, the branches can also be utilized. These issues should be studied more closely for different types of forests and habitats, to be sure of the right proportions. Studies should not be skewed according to people’s opinions and different interest groups.

Skilled farming can significantly improve carbon sequestration and thus reduce environmental problems and the world hunger problem. The multitude of arable land rich in mold has decreased globally. When soil is planted with undergrowths, crops and crop rotations that increase carbon sequestration, root growth and depth, microbial activity, earthworms increase, water retention and the earth’s productivity is growing. In thick topsoil, mold will grow nutrient-rich, higher-quality food and artificial fertilizers and plant protection pesticides in a healthy agricultural earth are not needed hardly at all. There are many unemployed and pensioners in good health in the world who could contribute to make the earth a fertile garden and improve the wild environment. Similarly, cultivation methods can be further improved through education and research.

The cultivated areas could have reservoirs of ponds that could be used for watering in dry times and storing rainwater in wet seasons. There are many plants in the nature that could be used more for health promotion. The target should be that every adult should have half a cubic meter of frozen packed with both the forest and garden berries. Berries should be usually eaten fresh at least a glass a day. There are also a huge number of other plants that have a very diverse health-protecting and promoting effect. However, there are also poisonous plants. So there should be education, research and experience how to use the gifts of nature with best possible ways. This would have the effect of keeping people’s good ability to work, study, self-help and other well-being for a long time, saving costs on society and generating income from natural products, including their export abroad. Moving around in nature also increases fitness and mental well-being. Long-term study, research and experience are needed and have been accumulated over thousands of years how to make the best use of various combinations of nature commodities. Plants are rich in similar compounds, so you may not have to eat all the different plants in the world, but they should be well-known for finding the right combinations for a variety of health problems and their prevention.

Natural plants also provide materials, useful chemicals either as they are or as processed. The entire planet should revive in the abundance of organisms. The abundance of flora and fauna of all regions, wasteland and deserts should be increased. Microbes also play an important role in all of nature and can be of great benefit to industry, decontamination, etc. So there could be more microbial breeding sites, bioprocessing facilities as synthetic biology and other research progresses.

Finland and many other countries have a relatively short growing season, so whether greenhouse, housing and balcony cultivation should be increased. We could also test and study the cultivation and benefits of exotic plants. However, the harmfulness of alien species in nature should ensure that they are not spread. Plant diseases and pests must be controlled by organic methods. Biodiversity and crop diversity also help to adapt to climate change and extreme weather events. Are greenhouses to be produced that can produce all food production as protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, trace elements and other useful biochemicals, in addition to those growing wild at northern latitude. Fish farming, mushroom production, game and livestock are also needed. More people should move to the country and stop congestion in cities. Ecovillage communities should be established in the countryside and in the neighborhoods of small towns with children, young and old. As the telecommunications and miniature industry develops well in the countryside, good services can be secured. When people stay healthier for longer, there is not much need for health and care services. Village communities can be optimized for both human and natural well-being. By keeping cities smaller, they can also become healthier places for people and nature. All this requires people’s enthusiasm, funding, cooperation and active participation. This could also be done partly through hobby and volunteering as a larger community bringing together smaller communities through interactive sharing of experience, resources and ideas. There is also a need for leaders from society and active actors to launch development projects.

Today, there is a lot of gene modification going on, but there is no long-term experience of how they affect the ecosystem and man. It is safer to learn how to utilize existing plants and other organisms that are well adapted to nature and have thousands of years of experience. The safest, most abundant and best available organisms are filtered into human food. Toxic and harmful have been left out of the diet, even though they can be used in small amounts for medicinal purposes.

Diverse plant compounds interact with health, better than isolating and using some of the active ingredients. It feels better in one’s body when one has eaten fresh berries, fruits, different herbs, roots, leaves. Phytotherapy must be studied and tried. There would be a need for places to research, sample different natural products, and experience how they affect, both in the short and long term, according to gene genome and epigenetics, how genome and diet determine whether genes are on or off. Based on research and experience, one should be able to formulate what should be eaten, how much, what combinations, what kind of time rhythm individually. It should be used to gather experience that could be deepened with artificial intelligence and to find new but true correlations. They can now be studied more and more closely at the cellular level and their biochemistry. In this way one can learn to control people’s condition more precisely and better with natural products.

The Nutrition Optimization Program provides a comprehensive search for the effects of plants and normal foods on human health. It can record experiences and dosages. I wish I had a cottage on land where I could experiment and study different plants. There are plants that are naturally occurring, cultivated and imported into Finland. Nowadays, there is quite a diverse selection of vegetarian food available also from abroad. But Finnish nature also offers plants whose full effects are not known. Imports from abroad and those growing in the vicinity of the city may contain more environmental toxins than those produced in remote rural areas. There are many diverse effects on plants which, according to thousands of years of experience and research, are beneficial or detrimental to human health and well-being. Knowledge is already available very much, but utilizing it is difficult. How to use herbs in appropriate combinations and harmlessly needs modelling and research.

Veikko J. Pyhtilä, 29.3.2019