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Loss of Habitat

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Vishala Nirmalan

on 15 October 2012

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Transcript of Loss of Habitat

Loss of Habitat What is a Habitat? An environmental area that supports living things (i.e. plants, animals, fungi and microbes).
More simply put, habitats are places where these organisms live. What is happening? Habitat loss. Reduction (although not total loss) of taxonomic groups
About 60% of earth’s ecosystems are considered degraded or unsustainable Aral Sea has shrunk 40% in a decade Habitat destruction is currently ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide.
Numbers of threatened/endangered species:
5,188 vertebrates (9%)
1,992 invertebrates (0.17%)
8,321 plants (2.89%)
2 lichens (0.02%)

Since 1600, ~1000 species have gone extinct (probably many more)
Current rate of extinction- 1 species per hour Biodiversity hotspots - areas with a high concentration of endemic species, experiencing rapid habitat loss The process in which natural habitat is rendered functionally unable to support the species present.
In this process, the organisms that previously used the site are displaced or destroyed, reducing biodiversity.
There are 2 major causes of habitat loss Habitat Destruction The major cause of habitat loss via human activity. Why?
• Habitat destruction occurs mainly for the purpose of harvesting natural resources for industry production and urbanization. Clearing habitats for agriculture is the principal cause of habitat destruction. Other important causes of habitat destruction include mining, logging, trawling and urban sprawl.
• These impacts result in decreases in species diversity and ecological changes towards more opportunistic organisms. Deforestation Deforestation is clearing Earth's forests on a massive scale
It has many negative effects on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. 70% of the Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their habitats.
Tropical rainforests have received most of the attention concerning the destruction of habitat.
From approximately 16 million square kilometers of tropical rainforest habitat that originally existed worldwide, less than 9 million square kilometers remain today The Amazon Rainforest About a fifth of the Amazon’s 1.6million sq miles has been stripped.
1 acre lost per second











The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as “slash and burn” agriculture. Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut countless trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests—which leads to fragmentation.

Fragmentation is the disruption of extensive habitats into small isolated spaces. Effects of Deforestation Destroys structure of habitat
Removes organic material necessary for soil replenishment machinery disturbs soil
Water logged soil as a result of increased infiltration by rainwater
Replacement of diverse habitats with single species crops (loss of wildlife habitat)
Replacement of habitats with livestock which damage the soil (cannot plant trees in future.
Removing trees deprives the forest of portions of its canopy, which blocks the sun’s rays during the day and holds in heat at night. This disruption leads to more extreme temperatures swings that can be harmful to plants and animals. Golden Lion Tamarin Monkey They are the most endangered species in the world.
There are approximately 800 of these monkeys left in the wild
They are unable to survive due to rapid habitat loss caused by fragmentation.
Other species living in the Amazon that are also endangered include jaguars, Three-toed sloths, Hyacinth Macaws and Toucans. Loss of Hedgerows Since World War II, hedgerows have been removed at a much faster rate than they have been planted. In some parts of the country 50% of hedgerows have gone, while others are so badly managed that their value to wildlife is much reduced.
Reasons for hedge loss include changes in farming practices, development and damage caused by straw and stubble burning . Hedges support up to 80% of our woodland birds, 50% of our mammals and 30% of our butterflies. The loss of hedgerows has lead to several species being threatened. In fact Britain’s only native dormouse species, the hazel dormouse is now rare and vulnerable to extinction. There has been a 64% decline of dormouse occurrence in hedgerows since the late 1970s. Destruction of marine habitats Trawling Dredging Habitat destruction along the coast and in the ocean results from harmful fishing practices such as trawling, dredging and log booming.Destroyed habitats include sea grasses, marshes, corals and mangroves – all of which are habitats of marine and aquatic organisms. Type of fishing where weighted nets are dragged along the ocean floor. It can cause large-scale destruction on the ocean bottom, including coral shattering, damage to habitats, removal of seaweed and damage sessile organisms. Method of deepening and widening of rivers as a method of flood prevention in the UK
Results in:
Physical destruction of habitats & ecosystems
Smothering of bottom-dwelling organisms with displaced sediment resulting in death
Fewer plants can grow in reduced light; fish gills become clogged with sediment Draining of water Thanks for watching!
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