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AP Enviro



Unit 9

9.10 Human Impacts on Biodiversity

2 min readmay 29, 2020


Jenni MacLean

AP Environmental Science ♻️

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The growing human population has affected biodiversity across the Earth.
Biodiversity is the variety of life in a given area.  Some ecosystems or geographic areas are a host to great biodiversity, like coral reefs and rainforest. These places have many different species of plants and animals all living closely together. While other places naturally have less biodiversity, human activities, especially farming, have created large areas with very little diversity.  
One of the most prominent examples is the rainforest being cut down and replaced with rows and rows of palm trees to farm palm oil. These monocultures can not support the diverse animal life that once lived in the area. Destruction of habitat is the most pressing threat to biodiversity but it is not the only one. The major factors causing a decrease in biodiversity can be abbreviated as HIPPCO:
·      Habitat destruction
·      Invasive species
·      Population growth
·      Pollution
·      Climate change
·      Over exploitation

Image courtesy of Wikimedia


The idea of conserving biodiversity is different than the idea of preserving a single endangered species.  In order to conserve biodiversity one must think about preserving the complex relationships that naturally exist. The best way in which to do so is to preserve habitats. Some of the ways this has been accomplished is promoting sustainable land use or restoring land. In addition, fragmented sections of preserved habitat can be connected with wildlife corridors allowing genetic diversity to flow throughout populations. 
Currently, scientists have documented around 2 million species however they believe that there are likely 8 million or more different species of plants, animals, and fungus.  Without preserving natural ecosystems there will be no way to tell the rate of biodiversity loss with human impact. Currently, we are believed to be in the 6th mass extinction event the Earth has seen.  It is estimated that over half of the populations of animals living on Earth in the 1970s are gone.


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🏜Unit 1: The Living World: Ecosystems
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