How Nature Heals Itself: Letting Ecosystems Recover Naturally

Nature has an incredible ability to heal itself when given the chance. In many cases, damaged ecosystems can recover on their own without human intervention. Here are a few examples of how nature can bounce back when left to its own devices:

Letting Nature Take Its Course After Natural Disasters

After a devastating 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan in 1999, the local government decided to let nature heal the damaged ecosystems. Some badly damaged buildings were even left as memorials, and a museum was constructed as a center for research and education. By November 2001, areas with thick soil around the base of the hills were already covered in grass and bushes, with trees starting to appear and plants growing from crevices in the rocks.

Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake in China, the government recognized the need to not only rebuild homes but also repair the damaged ecosystems. They decided to let nature take its course, and the ecosystems began to recover through natural succession processes.

Abandoned Areas Reverting to Healthy Ecosystems

There are many other examples of damaged ecosystems healing naturally when left alone. In Hong Kong, a hillside farm abandoned 45 years ago is now a luxuriant forest, known as the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. In Shaanxi province, China, a town that was abandoned due to transportation problems is now part of the Foping Nature Reserve, where trees grow to half a meter in diameter and pandas feast on the abundant bamboo.

In Inner Mongolia, a 27-square-kilometer area of sandy grasslands that was damaged has now been restored to its condition from the 1960s. As the vegetation recovered, wild animals returned, and surrounding areas followed suit, with the sand dunes now covered in a healthy layer of vegetation.

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