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Transcript of Science Project
How might human activity affect or alter food chains/webs?
Human actions have always impacted food chains/webs in various ways. The effects on other species from pre-history to modern cilvilization have been both positive, and negative. In this presentation, we take a look at the future of food chains/webs.
By: Neil, Kacie, Talia, Nick and Rob.
Overpopulation occurs when a species exceeds a biological limit, and can no longer support themselves. The scenario may develop in humans or wildlife from: A rapid increase in births, decline in mortality rate (through maybe healthcare advancement), un-sustainable use of resources, excessive immigration, etc. Any species that reaches the overpopulation state cannot survive for a long period of time, and may also destabilize the ecosystem. For example, a substantial amount of one species could consume an entire food supply causing extinctions in others.
Urbanization is when an area (usually rural) is changed into an urban area for human occupation. Although urbanization does not directly affect how a food chain operates, it can have a major impact which is most likely negative. One problem with urbanization is that animal habitats are destroyed or polluted due to deforestation, and construction. This can disturb links in food chains. Urbanization also creates a lack of biodiversity. Once an animal's habitat is altered, certain animals cannot depend on the land like they usually would, and go extinct, a lack of variation among species. Even if a small area of land is affected the repercussions can lead to smaller population to possibly extinction of a species.
Hunting and poaching can be very dangerous for food chains, as it can exterminate a good portion of the population of a certain species existing in the food chain. Poaching is an illegal form of hunting in which hunters kill more animals than what the law could allow, and also hunt protected or endangered animals such as elephants or rhinos. Poaching is mainly done for the collection of materials such as ivory and pelts which can be sold by the poachers. Poaching can remove entire species from a food chain, as it can lower population drastically. Rhinoceri and elephants are hunted for ivory, and also other animals like tigers are hunted for their pelts and bones. 946 rhinos were poached in 2013 alone, with many more poached before that.
In the Food Chain
By: Neil, Talia, Nick, Kacie, Rob
Human Conservation Efforts
Industrialization is when an area is changed from an undeveloped region, into a region capable of producing goods and services. This includes factories being constructed and commodities being made. In the process of creating these, pollution is created because we usually use fossil fuels to do these tasks. Burning these fuels creates greenhouse gas, chemical irradiation, etc. This pollution is extremely bad for the environment, as it puts toxins in the air, water, and soil in surrounding areas, which will harm animals' environments. Many species can't live without a healthy habitat which causes major changes to a food chain.
In a more positive scenario, humans could colonize another world, effectively halving the risk of overpopulation on either planet, and reducing the effects on animal food chains.
Farming can also be dangerous as it leads to habitat loss through the destruction of forests to be later converted to land suitable for agricultural purposes. This is leading to the loss of forests across the globe, and the eventual unsustainability of farming in general. Farming has also lead to the genetic erosion of many different crops as they have been genetically modified. Now, they have a much less diverse gene pool, meaning crops will soon all share the same genes. Not only that, pesticides leech into the environment, damaging it further.
One of the most strictly protected lifeforms is this 5,000
year old tree in California's White Mountains. It is the oldest non-clonal tree in the world, and its exact location is kept secret by the U.S government for protection.
Food chains/webs are very delicate creations in nature. Human affects on them can be both negative and positive. Hopefully our future relationship with animals and the environment will be strides in the right direction.
A significantly increased human population, of say, 11 billion, could greatly impact wildlife food chains/webs. These impacts would most likely be negative because of an increase in our species’ needs.
- That population would require more housing, creating urbanization in animal habitats
- In order to sustain that population with the necessities, the exploitation of more animal habitats would be required.
Population concentration across the globe.
Of course, our effects on the other species of this planet haven't been entirely negative. We have saved many animals from extinction, through protective laws, and are continuing to provide support for many more. For example, one well known success story is of how we have restored bald eagle populations from near extinction to safely stable.