Habitat Loss and Destruction

An expanding human population is causing us to lose vital natural habitats through destruction and fragmentation at a rapid rate.

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Habitat loss is one of the greatest threats to the world’s animals – human expansion into their homes is putting wild species under immense pressure. Across the planet wild animals are losing the battle for territory through the rampant destruction of habitat. As human development encroaches on natural areas, wildlife is squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, reducing movement, affecting natural migrations, reproduction and behavior. This in turn leads to human wildlife conflict with devastating consequences for wildlife survival.

Creating and protecting habitat for wildlife is essential for their survival… and ours.

Habitat destruction devastates human lives too. We cannot live without healthy ecosystems that provide our basic needs: clean air, clean water and food. Protecting habitats is vital to saving animals and preserving biodiversity, which in turn sustains all life on Earth.

Our lakes, swamps, forests, plains, and other natural habitats are disappearing as we use them for our own consumption, making way for agriculture, housing, roads, pipelines and other industrial development. Without a commitment to create and extend protected areas, vital ecological habitats will be gone forever.

In the 1990’s nearly 70% of deforested areas were converted to agricultural land to feed the world’s growing human population. Today half the world’s original forests have disappeared, yet they are still being removed at a rate 10 times higher than the rate of regrowth.

Nearly half of humanity lives within 60kms (77 miles) of coastal areas. Human dependence on marine coastlines is contributing to the degradation of marine habitats and the destruction of the species that rely on them to survive.

Habitat destruction is driving mass extinction. Over one million species have been declared at risk of extinction, of which habitat loss is the major cause.

How are habitats destroyed?

Habitat destruction, such as mass deforestation causes natural environments to be completely and instantly wiped out. Rehabilitating these areas is costly and often impossible to get back to its natural state. Deforestation not only reduces the ability to neutralise CO₂ in the atmosphere, but it also affects weather patterns, causing drought and further impacting on people, wildlife and their natural habitats.

Habitat fragmentation alters the land in a way that confuses animals, disrupting their natural way of living. Roads and fences block natural migratory routes, separating animals from one another and from their food sources. While damming water systems can affect the reproductive cycles of fish life, impacting on food availability for other species.

Habitat degradation causes the quality of the air, water and land to be destroyed through pollution, creating a breeding ground for toxins. When this happens, invasive species move into the area, pushing native species out and causing them to die. Fertilizer run-off into lake systems and oil spills in the ocean are some of the most common ways that wild habitats are poisoned, killing the life that once lived there.

Changing the way we live on the planet is the only way we can stop destroying natural habitats and preserve wildlife.

This means putting pressure on the authorities to pass and enforce environmental legislation; reclaiming habitat areas and returning them to the wild so that biodiversity can thrive; safeguarding the existing wild areas and making conscious choices about what we eat and consume.

What we do to preserve and safeguard habitats from destruction.

At ASI we are committed to mitigating the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation. We work to defend and expand existing habitats to help wildlife populations. Through sound journalism, fundraising and networking we raise awareness about habitat destruction around the world so that we can instil change before it’s too late.

An expanding human population is causing us to lose vital natural habitats through destruction and fragmentation at a rapid rate.

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