How Do Roads Impact Wildlife? As landscapes become increasingly fragmented by busy roads, housing developments, commercial areas , and other human activities, wildlife habitat is divided into ever-smaller pieces of land for animals to accomplish everything they require; find food and water, establish territory, reproduce, and meet the rest of the specific living requirements.
Roads and highways are excellent for connecting people to their destinations, but they can disconnect many wildlife species from essential habitats. Roads affect populations in numerous ways, from habitat loss and fragmentation, to barriers to animal movement, and wildlife mortality. The impact of roads on wildlife populations is a significant and growing problem worldwide.
Research Ties Human Acts to Harmful Rates of Species Evolution. The Impact of Wildlife Extinction and the Importance of Biodiversity. Associated Content (Sarah Ganly) Biodiversity is all of the different varieties of species that inhabit the planet.
Genetic differences within a species can mean differences in shape, size, smell, and color. Diversity of populations are “measured in both the number of individuals within a local group–the size of the loon population in northern Wisconsin–and the distribution of a species’ geographic range–the presence of loon populations from Alaska to Maine” (How Do Scientists Define Biodiversity).
The variety of species within a natural community means all the various species in a particular habitat. “A wide array of natural communities and ecosystems throughout the world, from tropical rainforests to tall grass prairies to boreal forests” make up the biodiversity of the world. Humans play a tremendous role in wildlife extinction. The impact of deforestation on wildlife extinction is severe. Wildlife extinction has a large impact on our world that most people are not aware of. Human Activity is Causing Wildlife to Shrink. Photo: puuikibeach / cc In a world increasingly dominated by humans, it seems there's less and less room for just about everything else -- so to cope, animals and plants across the globe are gradually getting smaller.
For centuries, human activities such as hunting and encroachment have made life difficult for the largest species, from mammals and fish to insects and trees, leading to an evolutionary trend towards the miniature. And researchers suggest that unless countermeasures are taken to ensure 'big' makes a comeback -- we may be heading towards a world of tinier and tinier creatures.
While research into the diminution of non-human life on Earth has been steeped in academic study, the logic behind the phenomena is actually quite simple. The largest animal specimens, like deer, are typically the most targeted by hunters -- which results in fewer big deer to pass their largeness genes to a new generation. Human Activities Have Cut Animal Populations In Half Since 1970. According to a new report, the Earth has lost half its vertebrate species — mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians — since 1970.
The latest Living Planet Report, put out by a joint research effort between the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, found a stunning drop of 52 percent in the population of wild animals on the planet over the last 40 years. The most catastrophic drop was among the inhabitants of freshwater ecosystems — the last stop for much of the world’s pollution from road run-off, farming, and emissions — whose numbers declined 75 percent. Oceanic and land species both dropped roughly 40 percent. “If half the animals died in London zoo next week it would be front page news,” Ken Norris, director of science at the Zoological Society London, told the Guardian. “But that is happening in the great outdoors.” The researchers analyzed 10,000 different animal populations encompassing 3,000 different species. “And that should be enough.” How Humans Threaten Wildlife. How Humans Affect Animals. There are millions of insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, but only one kind of human.
Human can do good things for animals: help save endangered species by breeding more animals and saving their environment; making sick animals healthy, and caring for animals who can no longer live in the wild. Humans can also cause harm to animals, on purpose or by accident. Habitat Destruction When humans destroy wild land to build homes, factories, shopping malls, amusement parks, garbage dumps, even to build a visitor center, store and restaurant in a park, the land is changed.
The animals that once lived there, from the bugs that lived in the ground to the birds that ate them, all may disappear. Some can move to new home areas, but there are already other animals living there. When farmers spray chemicals on their crops to save them from pests (bugs and molds and things that eat the plants), the chemicals get into the water and into the soil. What can YOU do? Don’t dump! Natural and Human Impacts on Wildlife.
Longing for Lupine Some animals like the Karner Blue butterfly are endangered because they need very special environments to survive.
The Karner Blue is dependent on the wild lupine. The wild lupine is a plant that grows in pine and oak barrens in the Northeast and Midwest. It is the only known food source of the larvae of the Karner blue. Without this plant the butterfly can't survive. Wild lupine grows best in sandy soils where forest fires occasionally clear out old vegetation. Karner blues rely on lupine for their whole life cycle. Unfair Competition Some animals are endangered because exotic or non-native species were introduced to their habitats. Image Credits: Clipart.com unless otherwise noted.