Habitat Destruction

Topics: Fish, Organism, Coral Pages: 5 (1597 words) Published: May 3, 2005
Habitat Destruction


In this new age of technology and advances in every possible field of study, many people forget about the environment. Some will just throw their trash all over the place with no concern for the possible consequences. Of course, there are many consequences, but only one comes to my mind. That is the demolition of species' homes or habitat destruction. Habitat destruction or habitat loss is the altering or elimination of the conditions that plants and animals need to survive. "The primary threat to the world's biodiversity is habitat destruction" (Okey p.1). Prairies have been greatly affected. The "loss of prairie habitat ranges from 20 to >99 percent depending on the region" (Benedict, Freeman, & Genoways, p.161). Habitat destruction can be caused by many things. These include: The introduction of alien (exotic) and domesticated species

Pest and Predator control
The collection of animals for pets and research
Ecological factors
Loss of keystone species
Limited distribution
Many of these causes could be prevented fairly easily. If people today would just follow some simple rules, none of these would be as big as they are now.

The Introduction of Alien (Exotic) and Domesticated Species
Introducing exotic species has been a highly debated issue. Why should we bring another animal or plant into a region to eradicate another species? That's the question that people have been asking for ages. Of course, there are positives to bringing in another species, but many times, there are just as many negatives. Also, these species can be introduced accidentally or intentionally. The new organism may cause no obvious problems and eventually, it will be considered "native" to the area. For example, corals are "perhaps the oldest animals on the planet, and these long-lived corals have evolved in one of the Earth's most stable environments" (Eichenberg, p.2). If a new type of fish were to be put into the ecosystem with the corals, the coral would be affected. First, the fish might eat the coral. Second, they could use the coral for shelter, and possibly damaging it that way. Third, the fish could bring predators that might also eat the coral. Introducing an exotic species has the "rippling affect" of dropping a stone into a pool of water. Everything outside the epicenter is affected. A study was done at Cornell University, and they estimated that $120 billion per year are spent fixing the problems caused by exotic species" (Chiras, p.219). Some specific examples of introduced species are the sparrow, barred owl, raccoons, several grasses, the punk tree, the zebra mussel, fishook water fleas, and the rosy wolf snail.

Pest and Predator Control
For many years, humans have tried to control the number of pests by spraying chemicals. One of most infamous of these chemicals is DDT or Dichloro-biphenyl-trichloroethane. This pesticide has had very harmful effects on many birds, like the peregrine falcon. DDT makes the eggs of the birds become more fragile and break very easily. The number of surviving offspring of these birds dropped significantly since the use of DDT has risen. A major effect of predator and pest control is when the prey populations exceed the carrying capacity of the ecosystem. Since I have done a lot of fishing, I've seen this happen firsthand. When the number of predatory fish plummets, the forage fish reproduce rapidly. Shad do this all the time and often will make a lake useless for fishing. In Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the number of cod has dropped causing many fisherman to find other jobs. Part of this is from the modernization of fishing.

In 1980, many fishers began switching from hooks that caught individual fish to nets that snared cod by the gills, whole schools at a time. At the same time, big trawlers began dragging rollers across the rocky seabed to force the bottom-dwelling fish upward into nets, capturing...
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