What Are The Environmental Pressures Of A Cactus

According to a global research, overharvesting and illegal trade in the plants have put about one-third of the world’s cactus species in danger.

Concern was expressed by environmentalists who said that the threat to cacti was far higher than previously believed.

Because they serve as a source of food and water for numerous species, plants are an essential part of dry environments.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s evaluation findings are published in the Nature Plants publication.

The study found that human activities, including illegal trade, cultivation, aquaculture, and changes in land use, was putting pressure on 31% of the world’s 1,480 cactus species.

Lead author and co-chair of the IUCN’s Cactus and Succulent Plant Specialist Group Barbara Goettsch remarked, “The results of this evaluation come as a shock to us.

“We did not anticipate that cactus would be so seriously challenged and that illegal trading would be such a significant factor in their deterioration.”

According to the study, 47 percent of vulnerable species were impacted by the illegal trafficking in live plants and seeds for the horticulture sector and private collections as well as their unsustainable harvesting.

With the exception of one species that is native to southern Africa and South Asia, these plants are native to North and South America. They have developed to survive the extreme conditions prevalent in dry regions.

Cacti have been intentionally or unintentionally introduced to these environments, despite the fact that they are common sights in other places like Europe and Australia.

For their beautiful flowers, several species are highly prized by collectors, and half of the species are utilized for food or medicine.

The cactus group is essential to maintaining arid ecosystems because it can thrive in environments with limited flora that can endure the extreme heat or drought.

Deer, coyotes, lizards, and tortoises are just a few of the species that use cactus as food and water sources. In exchange, the animals assist in dispersing the seeds of the plants.

The distribution range is typically relatively small since they tend to appear in very specific locations, she said.

Additionally, because of their slow growth, they are particularly prone to perturbation.

Extending protected area networks, according to Dr. Goettsch, would “certainly assist the species” because many threatened species are found outside of protected areas.

The unlawful traffic in cacti would be reduced, she continued, if international agreements like the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) were enforced at the national level.

“The entire cactus family is covered by Cites, so trading of the species is permitted but requires a permission. In some of the nations where the species is found, this needs to be enforced “She spoke.

“Since these plants are frequently not intended for worldwide markets, another thing that would greatly help them is to increase awareness of the value of sustainable harvesting. They are only used for local trade, thus it is important for many local people to know how to harvest them and whether they should harvest them at all.”

What are the effects of the environment?

Due to the insufficient “decoupling” of environmental demands from economic growth to date, the consumption and production of goods and services in Europe are currently unsustainable. Methods for measuring environmental pressures brought on by European consumer patterns and economic production sectors are described in a recent paper from the European Environment Agency (EEA). These techniques can assist in focusing decoupling actions.

Environmental pressures from European consumption and production demonstrate how economic and environmental data can be combined to analyze both the overall material efficiency and environmental performance of economies.

In order to lessen Europe’s global footprint, the policy makers can use the analyses in the study as a tool to focus economic incentives and communication campaigns that promote a change to more sustainable production and consumption practices. The report talks about two analytical methods.

The production-based approach takes into account the direct environmental pressures brought on by European businesses and service providers, such as resource extraction by the mining and quarrying industry, air pollution from power plants, greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and so forth.

The indirect environmental pressures brought on by European consumers are the main emphasis of the consumption-based approach. This method also accounts for pressures that are reflected in items imported into the EU and assigns the direct production-related pressures to large categories of products and services. Environmentally Extended Input Output Analysis (EE-IOA) can be used to calculate the environmental pressures that various product categories and overall European consumption will ultimately cause.

The report takes into account four different environmental pressures: the usage of raw materials, greenhouse gas emissions, emissions that cause air to become acidic, and air pollutants that cause dangerous ground-level ozone. The technique, however, has the ability to evaluate a wide range of other environmental pressures, such as land use, water consumption, waste creation, and energy use.

Data on environmental pressures can be immediately compared to economic expenditure because the system of national economic accounts and environmental accounts share the same conceptual framework. Thus, policymakers can determine which industries have done the best job of separating environmental challenges from increase in output. They can get an overview of the product categories that put the most strain on the environment, such as those that use the most emissions or resources for every euro spent. For example, whereas most services have modest environmental pressures per euro spent, electricity, basic metals, and agricultural items have substantial environmental pressures.

The tool also enables the breakdown of contributory components in the decoupling of pressures from GDP growth. It is possible to investigate decreases in environmental pressures and determine how much are attributable to production process improvements, such as energy savings, the replacement of fuels and other inputs, or the use of end-of-pipe technologies. This process is known as “de-composition analysis.” It is also feasible to show that a large portion of the reduction is caused by changes in the economy’s structure, including the kinds of goods that are produced and consumed. The paper comes to the conclusion that rather than changes in consumer habits, decoupling of environmental pressures in Europe has primarily been brought about by advancements in certain industries and production processes.

What is a cactus’ habitat like?

A cactus is a member of the plant family Cactaceae[a], which has about 127 genera and about 1750 recognized species. Cactaceae belongs to the order Caryophyllales.

[4] The Latin word “cactus” is derived from the Ancient Greek word “kktos,” which Theophrastus first used to refer to a spiky plant whose identify is currently unknown. [5] There are many different sizes and shapes of cacti. Most cactus reside in settings that experience at least some drought, despite the fact that some species can tolerate fairly humid situations. Many of them can even be found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, where they exist in extremely dry circumstances. Cacti have developed a variety of adaptations to conserve water as a result. As an illustration, nearly all cacti are succulents, which means that their swollen, fleshy sections are designed to store water. Unlike many other succulents, most cacti only have a stem where this crucial process occurs. The majority of cacti species no longer have actual leaves; instead, they only have spines, which are heavily modified leaves. Spines help limit water loss by slowing air movement around the cactus and offering some shade, in addition to protecting it from herbivores. Photosynthesis is performed by cacti’s expanded stems in the lack of real leaves. Except for Rhipsalis baccifera, which also grows in Africa and Sri Lanka, all of the Americas, from Patagonia in the south to sections of western Canada in the north, are home to cacti.

Areoles, a type of greatly shortened branch, are specialized structures that create cactus spines. Cacti can be identified by their areoles. Areoles also produce multipetalled, tubular blooms in addition to spines. Because many cacti have extended dormant periods and short growing seasons, they may respond fast to any rainfall. This is made possible by their large but shallow root systems, which swiftly absorb any water that reaches the ground surface. Because cactus stems are frequently ribbed or fluted, they can easily stretch and contract to quickly absorb water after rain and then hold onto it during protracted droughts. The majority of cacti use a unique process called “crassulacean acid metabolism” (CAM) as part of photosynthesis, similar to other succulent plants. Unlike photosynthesis, which occurs during the day, transpiration—during which carbon dioxide enters the plant and water escapes—occurs at night. The plant converts the carbon dioxide it absorbs into malic acid and stores it there until daybreak, when it is solely used for photosynthesis. The cooler, more humid nighttime hours are when transpiration occurs, which greatly reduces water loss.

The globe-shaped stems of many smaller cacti combine the maximum volume of water storage with the smallest surface area of transpiration loss. The largest[b] free-standing cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, which reaches a maximum height of 19.2 m (63 ft)[7], while Blossfeldia liliputiana has the lowest diameter at maturity, measuring just around 1 cm (0.4 in). [8] During a downpour, a mature saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) is believed to be capable of soaking up 200 US gallons (760 l; 170 imp gal) of water. [9] Only a few species look significantly like the rest of the family. Plants belonging to the genera Leuenbergeria, Rhodocactus, and Pereskia resemble nearby trees and bushes, at least on the surface. They have enduring leaves and, as they age, stems covered with bark. Despite their appearance, they are recognized as cacti by their areoles and have numerous water-saving adaptations. Leuenbergeria is thought to be very closely related to the original species from which all cacti descended. Other cacti develop as forest climbers and epiphytes in tropical areas (plants that grow on trees). Their stems often have fewer or even no spines and are flattened, almost leaf-like in appearance, like the well-known Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus (in the genus Schlumbergera).

Many types of cacti are produced as beautiful plants, while others are raised for fodder or forage, and yet others are utilized as food (particularly their fruit). An bug that lives on some cactus produces cochineal.

Many succulent plants, both in the Old and New Worlds, have spiky stems, including some members of the Euphorbiaceae (euphorbias), which is why they are frequently mistakenly called “cactus.”

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How Are Cactus Adapted To Survive In A Desert?

Cacti have unique adaptations in their stems, leaves, and roots that allow them to survive in desert conditions. Among these modifications are:

  • In order to minimize water loss through transpiration, leaves are reduced to spines.
  • Wide and deep roots can collect surface rains and access deep subsurface water.
  • To prevent water loss, stomata are recessed.
  • Stems with a waxy coating help to retain water and are fleshy and thick to store water and carry out photosynthesis.

Which four environmental pressures are there?

As soon as the lecture on selective pressure is over, aim for these objectives:

  • Describe how selective pressure can be used to cause evolution.
  • Cite and debate instances of selective pressure
  • In relation to reproduction, emphasize the significance of the timing of selective pressure.
  • Describe how modern human communities use natural selection.

What are the four main types of selection pressures?

Selective pressures within a population may be harmful or advantageous to specific phenotypes. The four primary categories of selection pressures include biological factors, such as disease and predator activity, resource availability, environmental conditions, and rivalry.

What are examples of selective pressures?

Antibiotic use to combat harmful germs is one example of a selective pressure, and certain bacteria have evolved the capacity to withstand antibiotics. Resources are another example of a selective pressure. There would be a selective pressure in favor of species that can retain water and stay hydrated in a dry location.

What are selective pressures in natural selection?

Selective pressures are elements that provide a particular phenotype of an organism a higher likelihood of surviving and procreating. Natural selection is the mechanism through which evolution is driven.