Destruction of Habitats

Destroyed Landscape
Photo: Naturefund

There are many examples of human habitat destruction. According to the criteria of the IUCN, in Germany e. g. only 0.4 percent of completely untouched land is left. But ecosystems are also threatened worldwide.

Species loss due to the destruction of the habitat

One of the worst examples of the destruction of habitat can be found in South Africa, a country with a remarkable variety of flora and fauna.

Once upon a time it was possible to find around 5,500 plant varieties in Cape Town, South Africa. This is an even larger variety than can be found in the rainforests of South America. Some of the plants were unique to that area, many of them growing in areas smaller than a football pitch. 

Sadly the encroachment of agricultural land and growing urban areas destroyed over 40% of this vegetation, and with it, all of the species dependent on that particular habitat for survival.

Even people lose their home

It goes without saying that plants and animals are affected by the destruction of habitat, but this can affect humans too. One example is the account of the Anasazi Indians, who hundreds of years ago, lived in Chaco Canyon, USA.

When the Anasazi arrived at the Canyon it was densely forested and the land was very fertile. Over the years however, as they felled more and more of the trees, the underground water level sank. Droughts further lowered the water level and after approximately 300 hundred years the water level became so low that the Canyon turned into a desert and the Anasazi were forced to leave.

Many similar accounts can be heard from other areas, including Mesopotamia, Angkor Wat, the Indus Valley, ancient Greece, Zimbabwe, the Mississippi Valley and...

Continue reading: Overuse of resources

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