The Importance of Ecosystem Services

If you are asking yourself why care about nature, then this blog post is for you!

Nature is keeping us alive! It is doing so by proving clean water, fertile soil to plant, and clean air for us to breath… all of these functions that nature does are called Ecosystem Services: the services and benefits that nature gives us; and the good news is that they are for free!

When talking about Beirut River we realize that historically, the river played an important role in providing ecological and social values. It belongs to a large, natural network where a succession of rich and vital fluvial ecosystems slowly merges into one another from mountain to valley; ecosystem, here, referring to a community of living organisms and non-living components such as air, water, soil and mineral.

  • In the natural section upstream, the watershed incorporates a functional ecosystem that provides benefits called “ecosystem services”. These include a number of points:
  • Provisioning Services:  provide freshwater in the area of Daychounieh for irrigation and potable water to the city through the roman aqueducts. Transport  sediments, organisms and nutrients.
  • Regulating Services:  treat, store water, as well as control erosion to mitigate the impact of floods and storms, and filtering waste through natural processes.
  • Supporting Services: offer food, shelter, and water to living organisms. The River acts as a vital migratory path for more than 70,000 soaring birds.
  • Cultural Services: provide a space for recreation and cultural activities for local communities such as, the renowned Armenian Water festival Vardavar, in which Armenians traditionally gathered around the river and drenched themselves in water.

Currently, the system is broken. The polluted water caused by raw sewage dumping, the concrete channel and the construction of the Daychounieh dam drastically altered its physical habitat structure, and the ecological functioning of its running waters, resulting in the loss of the beneficial ecosystem services. The river no longer provides clean water, a space for flood retention, habitat for biodiversity, and most importantly it prevented cultural amenity and social activities.

This is exactly why we would like to Bring Beirut River Back to Life!

If you are interested in helping us in bringing the river back, please get in touch with us on contact@theotherdada.com

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About tOD

Active since 2010, the architecture lab theOtherDada defends an alternative position towards the current practice of sustainability through exploration of the context and medium, invoking new relationships between climate, landscape, and inhabitants. Informed by our research into biomimicry, we aim to connect to the natural ecosystems of sites to understand and consequently devise new potential living habitats. theOtherDada works within a collaborative process between architects, scientists, botanists, artists, economists and craftsmen.

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