Share Donate Habitat loss—due to destruction, fragmentation, or degradation of habitat—is the primary threat to the survival of wildlife in the United States. When an ecosystem has been dramatically changed by human activities—such as agriculture, oil and gas exploration, commercial development, or water diversion—it may no longer be able to provide the food, water, cover, and places to raise young that wildlife need to survive. Every day there are fewer places left that wildlife can call home.
Habitat Loss Forest Lost to Urban Development The human population in the southeastern United States is expected to double between the years andfrom about 40 million to 80 million people. The human population of the Southeast will reach 80 million by Running parallel to this increase in population is drastic wildlife habitat loss across the region.
From toNorth Carolina lost 1, acres or 5. Researchers predict an additional loss of 5. The South will experience rapid urbanization in the coming decades.
Extensive forest will be cleared during urbanization. Many animals disappear following land clearing and construction. As land is converted from forest to urban use, it becomes unsuitable for many specialized wildlife species, especially animals that require large tracts of unbroken forest.
Pileated woodpecker, black-and-white warbler, scarlet tanager, and wood thrush are examples of species that will disappear as areas are built up. Other species, including white-tailed deer, raccoon, and gray squirrel, adapt well to the land changes. Even some birds like house finches, American robins, and northern cardinals are common in developed habitats.
These adaptable species are able to make use of various food and cover sources available in cities. Cleared Forest Replaced with Exotic Plants Areas cleared of forest to make room for buildings and neighborhoods are replanted with a very limited variety of exotic plants.
These landscaped areas are poor quality habitat because they contain low plant diversity, few native plants, and poor plant structure. Bird and butterfly species that require habitats containing a diversity of native plants cannot sustain their populations in these typical landscapes.
Remaining Forest is Degraded and Fragmented Snakes, turtles, and other wildlife are killed by passing cars. These isolated patches of forest, however, will not sustain populations of many wildlife species.
Over time, many factors contribute to degradation of the remnant habitats. Invasive plants creep into the forest from all sides, human users and their pets compact soil and disturb wildlife, and natural forces such as wildfire are not allowed to run their course.
Additionally, the populations of animals present in the patches are at risk of local extinction because they are isolated from other populations. Individual animals that attempt to move from one patch to another are often run over by cars or eaten by cats or other predators.
Every Little Bit Helps Each individual home or property owner can help conserve wildlife habitat in urban areas by landscaping with native plants following proper design principles.
When a number of people take action over a large area, across a neighborhood, for example, they can help connect small blocks of habitat and allow animals to more easily move across an urbanized region.Habitat loss poses the greatest threat to species.
The world's forests, swamps, plains, lakes, and other habitats continue to disappear as they are harvested for human consumption and cleared to make way for agriculture, housing, roads, pipelines and the other hallmarks of industrial development.
Habitat Loss Forest Lost to Urban Development. The human population in the southeastern United States is expected to double between the years and , from about 40 . Habitat loss is possibly the greatest threat to the natural world. Every living thing needs somewhere to live, find food and reproduce.
This is known as its habitat. Habitat loss is generally more serious for the larger animals because they need a greater area in which to have a healthy breeding population. Tigers, mountain gorillas, pandas and Indian lions are good examples, but habitat loss does not just affect animals.
America is privileged with a stunning array of animals, plants, and wild destinations—each with its own incredible story.
Get to know the amazing wildlife in your backyard and beyond. Rainforests are felled. Woodlots become parking lots. With so much habitat loss, is it any wonder many bird species are in decline? The habitat loss story repeats itself in endless variations.