The island is comprised of many intricate and vital habitats which support a wide range of different species both marine and terrestrial. When all these components are grouped together to form a self-sustaining system, this is called an ecosystem. Ecosystems are the relationships between biotic (living organisms) and abiotic (non-living; chemical or physical interactions) and they only function fully when all components are properly balanced.
We as humans are heavily reliant on these systems to support ourselves especially in less developed countries where people rely on the land to provide food for families or for sale, to protect our land from erosion, to procure drugs and vaccinations for medicinal purposes, to pollinate our plants and spread their seeds. The earth provides $18 trillions per year (Millennium ecosystem project 2000) to its inhabitants through ecosystem services which we as humans do not pay for such as timber provisions, fish stocks among other things we take from the environment and what we receive from the environment through ecosystem processes such as the nitrogen cycles, hydrological cycles, the removal of toxins from water and many more. Each component of an ecosystem has a role and when we allow our habitats and species to diminish to the point the system begins to collapse we will lose the very foundations that our existence has been built upon for millions of years.
Here is a PDF of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment for Cambodia detailing the precious resources Cambodian residents receive every year.
Here is a list of the habitats that have sculpted the island into the beautiful paradise is it:
- Rivers, streams & waterfalls
- Rain forest / Jungle
- Dune grassland
- Beaches & headlands
- Sea grass beds
- Coral reefs
- Open ocean
So many tourists visit the island every year to see beautiful landscapes, to find fascinating creatures when they go snorkeling, diving or even just a walk in the forest. They can see Great Hornbills, Long-tailed macaques, flying lizards, Hawksbill turtles, 1m long groupers, Cobia (shark shaped fish ITS HARMLESS), Sea horses, places you can visit underwater and get a pedicure from a group of shrimp, they might event clean your teeth! Hey free dental!
Nature is a powerful being but she needs our help to keep her balanced. Because without knowledge or understanding mother nature will be unable to provide all these beautiful things people travel across the world to see and will also fail to support those who so heavily rely on her for survival.
Good words to know…..
ECOSYSTEM SERVICES – are service provided by our planet to its inhabitants for free:
- Provisioning the production of food and water
- Regulating such as the control of climate and disease
- Supporting such as nutrient cycles and crop pollination
- Cultural such as spiritual and recreational benefits.
ECOSYSTEM PROCESS – are the physical, chemical and biological actions or events that link organisms and their environment. Ecosystem processes include; water filtration, decomposition, production of compost, nutrient cycling, and fluxes of nutrients and energy.
NICHE – a niche is a term describing the relational position of a species or population in an ecosystem. Their morphology, behaviour and requirements influence where in the ecosystem they are best situated, but if the environment changes their niche may not be suitable for them to survive their anymore. The result of this could be relocation to another area, if they are generalists species (can tolerate a large change in the environment) they may be able to easily adapt to the changing environment. If they are specialist species (require specific environmental conditions to survive) the results could be death of the individual possibly ending in extinction of that population.
KEYSTONE SPECIES – A species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment relative to its abundance. This could be a predator (wolves), living food source (lemmings) even sea grass is keystone to all the species it supports.
ECOSYSTEM ENGINEERS – Their presence allows the existence of a whole other habitat/ ecosystem
INTER-SPECIFIC – Refers to interaction between different species
INTRA-SPECIFIC – Refers to interaction between the same species
This is a continual project so our website will be regularly updated with new information and species. If you have any pictures or information from or about the island please help us to improve our database by sending your information through to us via our contact page