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Habitat Destruction

Teacher/Instructor Patrick Roisen
Patrick Roisen

M.Ed., Stanford University
Winner of multiple teaching awards

Patrick has been teaching AP Biology for 14 years and is the winner of multiple teaching awards.

Habitat destruction is when a natural habitat is altered or destroyed so that it can no longer support the species that lives there. A habitat is commonly defined as the environment where a particular species lives and habitat destruction can cause the migration or extinction of a species. Causes of habitat destruction include things like human activity, climate change, natural disasters and geological processes.

Habitat destruction is when a natural habitat is altered or damaged or even destroyed so that it can no longer support the organisms that live there. Now you may be asking yourself, "What is a habitat?" Well a habitat is basically an environment where particular species lives so obviously if you damage or destroy that habitat the species can no longer live there so the organisms that are in that particular habitat will either go extinct or they may wind up migrating from that habitat that's no longer there into new ones to find a new area to live.
Now, this is why we should care about habitat destruction because we're already living in some places and we don't necessarily want somebody coming in, some other species coming in and habiting with us 'cause this can lead to new complications for example one of the problems raised by destruction and places like rainforest, is that there's a lot of different organisms that live there with various diseases that we humans have not been exposed to yet and that's one of the concerns that places like the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control are worried about because we may have new diseases coming out and getting into the human population and if you ever seen movies like 'Outbreak' where there's evil coming out well, this one of the concerns that scientists that have.
Now, what can cause habitat destruction, there's a number of different things that can do it. There's the obvious human activity, if you're trying to extend your farm land and you see a forest that you're not using well if you cut it down that gives you more farm land so it can raise more crops to feed more people that's a good thing except for the fact that there's organisms living in that forest and you've now destroy their habitat, so that's one way to damage their habitat.
Climate change can also cause this as it alters climate and changes the weather patterns in particular areas, you may no longer have the water that is needed to sustain a particular kind of species in an environment or make it hotter or colder depending on.
Now, natural disasters can cause huge changes and destroy habitats. I witnessed the erection of Mount Saint Helens, one of its eruptions and the initial eruption took aside of the mountain and just blew it off so that habitat was physically gone, no more.
Geological processes not quite as exciting as volcanic eruptions but slow movements of the continents, etc as the size of tectonic plates grind against each other can cause changes in habitats and ultimately damage or destroy them.