Thursday, September 29, 2011

Habitat – Definition and meaning

Term habitat refers to a certain part of environment that is inhabited by a particular animal and/or plant species. Habitat therefore represents natural environment where certain animal and plant species live, find food and most importantly reproduce.

Habitat loss is one of the major environmental issues of our time. The human population keeps growing and is interfering with animal and plant habitats which in most cases leads to destruction of many animal and plant habitats.

It is very difficult to stop habitat loss and in order to do so world would need lot more protected areas where animal and plant species can thrive without being disrupted by humans. Habitat loss causes biodiversity loss and reduced biodiversity does not only cause huge environmental but also huge economic damage.

The coexistence between humans and animals and plants more often than not results in habitat destruction because humans overexploit natural resources for urbanization and industry. The overexploitation of natural resources leads to habitat's reduced carrying capacity which in the end results in population decline, sometimes even extinction of certain animal and plant species.

Endemic species are most affected with habitat loss because they can be found within a certain limited ecosystem and have very specific living requirements which can be found only in this ecosystem and nowhere else.

Habitat loss is a particularly big issue in areas with very rich biodiversity such as rainforests because these areas support thousands of different species. The rapid deforestation is taking heavy toll in tropical forests around the globe – in fact the environmentalists have calculated that tropical forests with the current deforestation rates lose approximately 1% of original forest habitat each year.

Habitat destruction sometimes also takes place via natural processes such as volcanism and earthquakes though such events are much rarer and create far less damage to habitat when compared with human activity.

If world fails to stop the current rate of habitat destruction this will in years to come lead to more natural disasters as well as new diseases. World needs more healthy ecosystems and more natural environments untouched by humans. This is really the only way to stop the global biodiversity loss and ensure wellbeing for our future generations.

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