Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Habitats in Danger

Habitat destruction is the greatest threat to plant and animal species worldwide. In some cases, such as felling of tropical forests or draining of wetlands, damage is frequently done under the impression that the environment is being improved for human food production or habitation. In others, lack of understanding of the importance of particular environment in the life cycles of certain species has led to their downfall. Drainage of mangrove swamps, nurseries for many kinds of fish, falls in to this category.

Sometimes wetland areas are seen as places where disease carrying insects breed, so they are drained without thought of their importance to the environment as a whole. Forests are felled because of the value of the wood they contain, regardless of the fact that they act as a water holding system, without which rivers may run faster in rainy seasons, causing soil erosion in their upper reaches and problems of silting as the river approaches the sea.

 In some areas, even nonessential human demand is regarded as paramount –for example, the breeding beaches of marine turtles in many parts of the world have been sacrificed to holiday homes and hotels, used by a comparatively small number of wealthy visitors. Although experience should show that environmental change often has far reaching effects not foreseen in the early stages of change, mankind seems to be at many instances incapable of learning.