Habitat destruction


Map of the world's biodiversity hot spots, all of which are heavily threatened by habitat loss and degradation

Habitat destruction (also termed habitat loss and habitat reduction) is the process by which a natural habitat becomes incapable of supporting its native species. The organisms that previously inhabited the site are displaced or dead, thereby reducing biodiversity and species abundance.[1][2] Habitat destruction is the leading cause of biodiversity loss.[3] Fragmentation and loss of habitat have become one of the most important topics of research in ecology as they are major threats to the survival of endangered species.[4]

Activities such as harvesting natural resources, industrial production and urbanization are human contributions to habitat destruction. Pressure from agriculture is the principal human cause. Some others include mining, logging, trawling, and urban sprawl. Habitat destruction is currently considered the primary cause of species extinction worldwide.[5] Environmental factors can contribute to habitat destruction more indirectly. Geological processes, climate change,[2] introduction of invasive species, ecosystem nutrient depletion, water and noise pollution are some examples. Loss of habitat can be preceded by an initial habitat fragmentation.

Attempts to address habitat destruction are in international policy commitments embodied by Sustainable Development Goal 15 "Life on Land" and Sustainable Development Goal 14 "Life Below Water". However, the United Nations Environment Programme report on "Making Peace with Nature" released in 2021 found that most of these efforts had failed to meet their internationally agreed upon goals.[6]

  1. ^ Calizza, Edoardo; Costantini, Maria Letizia; Careddu, Giulio; Rossi, Loreto (17 June 2017). "Effect of habitat degradation on competition, carrying capacity, and species assemblage stability". Ecology and Evolution. Wiley. 7 (15): 5784–5796. doi:10.1002/ece3.2977. ISSN 2045-7758. PMC 5552933. PMID 28811883.
  2. ^ a b Sahney, S; Benton, Michael J.; Falcon-Lang, Howard J. (1 December 2010). "Rainforest collapse triggered Pennsylvanian tetrapod diversification in Euramerica" (PDF). Geology. 38 (12): 1079–1082. Bibcode:2010Geo....38.1079S. doi:10.1130/G31182.1. Archived from the original on 11 October 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2010 – via GeoScienceWorld.
  3. ^ Marvier, Michelle; Kareiva, Peter; Neubert, Michael G. (2004). "Habitat Destruction, Fragmentation, and Disturbance Promote Invasion by Habitat Generalists in a Multispecies Metapopulation". Risk Analysis. 24 (4): 869–878. doi:10.1111/j.0272-4332.2004.00485.x. ISSN 0272-4332. PMID 15357806. S2CID 44809930. Archived from the original on 23 July 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  4. ^ WIEGAND, THORSTEN; REVILLA, ELOY; MOLONEY, KIRK A. (February 2005). "Effects of Habitat Loss and Fragmentation on Population Dynamics". Conservation Biology. 19 (1): 108–121. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2005.00208.x. ISSN 0888-8892. S2CID 33258495.
  5. ^ Pimm & Raven, 2000, pp. 843–845.
  6. ^ United Nations Environment Programme (2021). Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies. Nairobi. https://www.unep.org/resources/making-peace-nature Archived 2021-03-23 at the Wayback Machine

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