Habitat Destruction

In Soylent Green, New York has become so crowded that space is an issue. There isn’t enough housing in the entire city for all of the citizens and the churches are overflowing, so people sleep on the sidewalks and on fire escapes. To get to his apartment, Charlton Heston’s character has to hop over bodies on the staircase, stepping in gaps that are so small that he most of the time actually steps on someone. To avoid this problem in the present, we are constantly developing more land into housing to accommodate our expanding population. However, by doing so, we are encroaching on someone else’s territory – the native plant and animal species of the habitats we flatten and pave over. We are continuously destroying more and more ecosystems, and consequently, the species that depend on those ecosystems to survive.
1. The increased use of resources and the spreading of urban development to accommodate the population is depleting the resources of natural habitats and encroaching on ecosystems (Population and the Environment)

1.1. Occurs directly from clearing natural habitats to make room for urban development and from removing resources like trees from habitats (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

1.1.1. Bulldoze mountains (Population and Habitat: Making the Connection)

1.1.2. Cut down forests (Population and Habitat: Making the Connection)

1.1.3. Divert and stop streams (Population and Habitat: Making the Connection)

1.1.4. Pave over land (Population and Habitat: Making the Connection)

1.1.5. “leap frog” developments of exurbs fragment habitats (Unwelcome (Human) Neighbors)

1.2. Occurs indirectly through pollution run-off and introduction of invasive species (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

1.2.1. Pesticides and herbicides (Population and Habitat: Making the Connection)

2. Nature is suffering
2.1. Species

2.1.1. Nearly 20 plant and animal species go extinct every hour (Population and the Environment)

2.1.2. Population growth and resulting human activity is encroaching upon migratory pathways critical to the survival of such varied species as the Humpback Whale, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Cerulean Warbler, Arroyo Toad, and Monarch Butterfly, among others (Population and the Environment)

2.1.3. Fish and wildlife species in the Great Lakes Basin are suffering from the disturbances of overpopulation

2.1.4. Species are displaced from habitat fragmentation and urban development

2.2. Florida

2.2.1. About 24% of Florida has been cleared of forest and wetland habitats to accommodate urban development for the increasing population

2.2.2. In 1990, about 19 acres per hour of forest, wetland, and agricultural land [were] being converted for urban uses

2.3. Chihuahuan Desert (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

2.3.1. More than 90% of the Rio Grande is diverted for irrigation

2.3.2. San Pedro River is one of the last free-flowing river in the area, and provides one of the most important migratory bird habitats in North America

2.4. Wetlands (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/getoutside/archive/1996/12/01/wetlands.DTL)

2.4.1. In the U.S., over 50% of the wetlands have been altered or filled in to accommodate the growing population. About 95% of the salt marshes around the San Francisco Bay have been filled for development.

2.4.2. Forty percent of all endangered species need wetlands to ensure their survival.

To learn more about habitat destruction go HERE

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