Habitat Fragmentation: Implications for Biodiversity

Habitat Fragmentation: Implications for Biodiversity

Question: One of the biggest obstacles faced by conservationists is habitat fragmentation. Elaborate keeping in mind the implications for biodiversity.

What is Habitat Fragmentation?

• Habitat fragmentation refers to habitat alteration leading to spatial separation of habitat units from previous point of massive continuity

• Habitat fragmentation has been ongoing since the Holocene era

• It has resulted in biodiversity reduction and interruption of sustainable needs of natural resources

• Habitat fragmentation results from the following:

- Agricultural Land Conversion
- Urbanisation
- Pollution
- Deforestation
- Introduction of alien species

Implications for Biodiversity

• Habitat fragmentation has caused biodiversity destruction

• It reduced richness of species and taxes diversity

• It also reduces the efficacy of the functioning of the ecosystem

• Fragmentation also isolates species population into sub-populations to result in local extinction

• There is increase in one species at the expense of another due to habitat fragmentation

• Habitat fragmentation reduces dispersal robustness of species to travel and cause genetic drift or inbreeding due to restricted gene flow

Facts and Stats

• A common instance of habitat fragmentation can be observed in Brazil’s Central Amazon where large scale forest destruction has led to habitat fragmentation

• Habitat fragmentation is also caused due to geological factors

• Two examples of habitat fragmentation from the Asian region are the Himalayas and the Sunderbans

• The 3 Gorges Dam on China’s Yangtze River displays largest anthropomorphic (meaning manmade) intrusion into freshwater habitats in history
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