Scientists laud human activity as the most significant factor affecting biodiversity across the world. Human development and technological changes are some of the main reasons that cause subsequent damage to the environment and other animal species. According to Lewis (2016), the world is losing indigenous plants and animal species at an alarming rate. More than fifty percent of the world’s land has lost about 10 percent of its natural species (Lewis, 2016). The rate of extinction among these species has surpassed the ‘safe mark’ where humans can live comfortably (Binbin et al., 2016). Crop pollination and waste decomposition are some of the primary ways that people depend on upon these ecosystems for survival (Lewis, 2016).
Newcastle University (2016) asserts that forest species such as amphibians and reptiles are under threat due to forest fragmentation that is done to pave way for the building of roads and farming systems. Forest fragmentation has an impact on reducing forest coverage as natural habitats grouped into smaller isolated patches. In the Brazilian Atlantic forest, the majority of the fragments are less than 50 hectares and half of the remaining forest is about 100m to the edge, which is less than the recommended 250m (Newcastle University, 2016). Fragmentation coupled with deforestation affects the biodiversity of any natural habitat.
Residents of South East Asia are also clearing natural forests to pave way for the cultivation of oil palm, rubber, and tree crops (Binbin et al., 2016). Most of the native species that were found to be at risk in the region were identified as endangered thus, highlighting the growing concerns. Furthermore, a significant part of the world’s rubber production (56 percent) and 39 percent of palm oil is produced in South East Asia, a large part of which stems from ancient natural forests (Binbin et al., 2016). Oxford University Press (2016) identifies alien plant invasion as a primary cause of plant extinction but argue that human activity is the leading cause. Destruction, however, occurs when plants wither and the remaining seeds lack the ability to sprout as new plants (Oxford University Press, 2016).
Environmental policies and strategies embraced by different countries are also a major reason for the extinction of individual species. Countries initiate pest-control programs to reduce the pests that compete with humans for survival. However, these species have a role in the ecological system despite various efforts to extinguish them. New Zealand’s government together with the private sector has initiated some programs to get rid of pests, rats and weasels in the country (Scharping, 2016). The extermination methods embraced by the government such as pouring the controversial poison 1080 have a large impact on the environment and eco-systems (Scharping, 2016). The finances necessary to exterminate the rodents in New Zealand is less than the amount of money that the government spends managing the pests.
Macaulay (2016) explicates that the successful integration of human activities with the ecosystem conservation methods reduces the adverse effects felt in the ecological system. The establishment of recreation activities on private land in the US have immense benefits to conservation efforts and economic returns (Macaulay, 2016). Furthermore, landowners who derive an economic benefit from the recreational use of their property follow policy requirements than their counterparts.
Biodiversity is an important factor in the ecological system since it is fundamental to the survival of humans, plants, and animal species. However, the activities that people carry out across the world leads to adverse effects on the ecological system. Destruction of forests across the world for development is the principal event that causes imbalances in the organic system. The integration of recreational activities and conservation efforts is a solution to reducing adverse effects in the organic system.
- Binbin, V. et al., (2016) Many more species at risk from Southeast Asia tree plantations, study finds PLOS ONE (2016). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0160566
- Lewis, T (2016), Report: Biodiversity Has Fallen Below “Safe” Levels, The Scientist, Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/46573/title/Report–Biodiversity-Has-Fallen-Below–Safe–Levels/
- Macaulay, L, (2016). The role of wildlife-associated recreation in private land use and conservation: Providing the missing baseline, Land Use Policy (2016). DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2016.06.024
- Newcastle University. (2016). Life on the Edge: How forest fragmentation is impacting on amphibian and reptile species. Science Daily. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160801093245.htm
- Oxford University Press. (2016). The six steps to extinction. Science Daily. Retrieved August 10, 2016, from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160809122125.htm
- Scharping, N, (2016), New Zealand Declares War on Rats, Weasels and Possums, Retrieved August 10, 2016, from http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2016/07/25/new-zealand-declares-war-on-rats-weasels-and-possums/