Monday, April 27, 2015

A Threat to Biodiversity: Habitat Destruction

          It is well-known throughout the world that as populations continue to grow, more land space is needed. Because of this, habitat destruction has caused a lot of concern for the amount (or lack of) biodiversity left on the planet. Biodiversity, by definition, is the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat/ecosystem. The reason why biodiversity is important is because it boosts an ecosystem’s productivity, and it shows that each organism in an environment is important and has its own role to play. So, for habitat destruction to be so prevalent today, it’s no wonder why there’s such a large concern about the biodiversity that is left.
          Habitat destruction- resulting in habitat loss- is one of the biggest threats to biodiversity; it’s actually the main reason why species so extinct (Schmoop). Habitat destruction can come in many forms. Some examples include clearing out rainforests for cultivated land, pollution in places like wetlands and marine environments, and even fragmentation of ecosystems that essentially divide an entire environment into smaller parts. In fact, about half of the original forests in the world have disappeared due to habitat destruction for cultivation and agriculture (WWF). Many of our coral reefs have been destroyed as well. Not only do the animals and organisms living in an area that’s being destroyed lose their habitat, but they also lose important life necessities like food, shelter, and sometimes even nesting/breeding grounds.
          The Giant Anteater and Maned Wolf in Argentina and Bolivia are dying off due to tropical forests being depleted in their area, while pitcher plants in Borneo are being uprooted from their land for people to create oil palm plantations (Schmoop). Another animal being affected by habitat destruction- also due to the production of Palm Oil- is the Orangutan (Ziegler). In the US, river turtles are losing their breeding grounds thanks to habitat destruction and pollution; they have gone down from 10,000 to just 600 in number, and have been listed as endangered in our country (Huffington). In Australia, the Swift Parrot has declined in numbers because of the habitat destruction that is happening in their ecosystems; the canopies that they rely on for food and breeding have disappeared over the years (Sydney Morning Herald).
          This is an important issue to focus on not only to rid the ignorance toward the animals that we live with, but to gain a better understanding that every individual organism on Earth has their own part to play in their ecosystems. It’s basic food chain knowledge that when something happens to one part of the chain, the chain itself is broken. With biodiversity being so heavily affected due to habitat destruction, we can expect the variety of organisms in our world to drastically decline if nothing is done about the problem and if people aren’t more aware of the consequences.

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