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Detail of habitats and causes of habitat degradation

Detail of habitats and causes of habitat degradation. What is habitat. Description of habitat. Habitat and habitat degradation. Habitat fragmentation. Causes of  habitat degradation. 
Habitat refers to the range of resources that a species needs to maintain a viable population. Habitat fragmentation is the loss and subdivision of a habitat and the corresponding increase in other habitats in the landscape. 

Introduction

Habitat refers to the range of resources that a species needs to maintain a viable population including sufficient territory, necessary food and water, and required physical features such as tree cover, rocky hills or deep pools, as well as the organisms and ecosystem disturbances that must be present for it to complete its life cycle.

The major current cause of biodiversity loss is habitat loss and that is likely to remain true for the first third of the 21st century. Habitat is lost when land cover is changed, usually as a result of changing use by humans. Common examples are the conversion of near-natural vegetation to temporary or permanent croplands; the replacement of forest by pastures; the expansion of human settlements; and the alteration of river habitats by dams, pollution and removal of water for human use. Forests and woodland cover is declining at a rate more or less equivalent to the increase in cropland.

Habitat fragmentation – the division of continuous patches into smaller pieces which are partly or fully disconnected from one another by infrastructure, agricultural fields or human settlements – can have similar outcomes for biodiversity as outright habitat losses. First, the “edge effect” disrupts biodiversity for a considerable distance into the remnant patches. Second, the number of species that can be supported in the long term depends on habitat size.

Habitat fragmentation is the loss and subdivision of a habitat and the corresponding increase in other habitats in the landscape. Conversion of habitat represents the greatest threat to biodiversity all human activities cause alterations to the natural environment to a greater or lesser degree. Habitat fragmentation not only affects species, but also affects the processes that drive biodiversity.

Habitat fragmentation causes large populations to be broken into smaller populations which may be isolated from one another. These sub-populations may be too small to be viable or, if local extinction of species occurs, fragmentation cuts off the potential for re-population since there are no intact populations nearby. Habitat destruction is the single most important cause of the loss of biodiversity and is directly related to human population growth. Many species are widely distributed and thus, initially, habitat destruction may only reduce local population numbers. Species which are local, endemic, or which have specialized habitats are much more vulnerable to extinction, since once their particular habitat is degraded or converted for human activity, they will disappear. Most of the habitats being destroyed are those which contain the highest levels of biodiversity.

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