Habitat Degradation

Human activities affect many ecosystems by destroying the habitat. When a habitat is degraded, the survival of many interrelated species is threatened. The most drastic effect is species extinction. Habitat degradation is measured by losses in biodiversity, decreased population size and range, and decreased productivity and biomass accumulation.

Standard methods of assessing habitat degradation focus on those species of direct human interest: game fish and animals, songbirds, or valuable crops (Suter 1990).

Ecological degradation does not result from industrial activity alone. Rapid human growth creates larger residential areas and converts natural areas to agriculture. Both are major sources of habitat degradation.

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