Factors Affecting Biodiversity

Factors Impacting Biodiversity

Human Influence on Biodiversity

Over time, human activities have exerted a detrimental influence on the overall biodiversity of Earth. Actions such as hunting, poaching, agricultural expansion, urban development, and environmental pollution have resulted in widespread extinctions, leading to a substantial decline in biodiversity.

Farming, in particular, has introduced several challenges due to practices aimed at maximising food production:

1. Deforestation

Definition- Clearing forests or other habitats for human settlements and agriculture.

- Loss of habitats, affecting shelter, food, water, and resources for various organisms.
- Habitat destruction contributing to species extinctions, causing a decline in biodiversity.
- Soil erosion due to the absence of tree roots, impacting soil quality, plant growth, and overall ecosystem health.

2. Pesticides and Herbicides

Definition- substances used to eliminate pests (animals) and weeds (plants), respectively.

- Pesticides harming non-target organisms, including aquatic animals through runoff.
- Herbicides reducing plant biodiversity and affecting animals reliant on weeds for sustenance.

3. Fertilisers and Eutrophication:

Process:- Use of fertilisers leading to eutrophication.

- Fertilisers enhancing nutrient levels for crop growth.
- Rainwater carrying fertilizers to bodies of water.
- Nutrient spikes causing rapid plant growth, depleting oxygen and resulting in aquatic organism deaths.

Factors Affecting Biodiversity

Factors Influencing Biodiversity

Selective Breeding

Definition- Choosing organisms with desirable traits for breeding, reducing genetic diversity.

Outcome- Loss of genetic diversity in farm animals, contributing to a decline in overall biodiversity.

Conservation and Farming

Modern Farming Unsustainability

Challenge- Modern farming practices are unsustainable.

- Reduced genetic diversity making plants and animals vulnerable to diseases.
- Soil erosion diminishing soil nutritional quality, leading to food shortages.

Conservation Strategies:

Need:- Conservation practices are essential for sustainable farming.

- Conservation of wild species, ensuring genetic diversity.
- Prevention of deforestation for improved soil quality.
- Preservation of habitats to enhance biological diversity.

Methods to Sustain Biodiversity

1. In-situ Conservation

Definition- Preserving species in their natural habitats through protected areas.
- *Examples:* Marine conservation zones and wildlife reserves.


2. Ex-situ Conservation

 Definition- Moving species to controlled environments outside their natural habitats.

Examples-Zoos, botanic gardens, and seed banks.

3. International Agreements

Initiatives:-Collaborative efforts among countries for conservation.

Examples- CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and CBD (Rio Convention on Biological Diversity).


4. Local Agreements

Scheme-UK's CSS (Countryside Stewardship Scheme).

Implementation- Government incentives for landowners adopting conservation methods, enhancing biodiversity in the countryside.

Climate Change

Greenhouse Gas Effect and Global Warming:

Cause-Fossil fuel usage leading to the greenhouse gas effect.

- Altered climates causing loss of suitable habitats for specific organisms.
- Competitive advantage for organisms adapted to warmer temperatures.
- Increased disease prevalence affecting various organisms, including humans.


1. What is biodiversity?
- *Definition:* Biodiversity encompasses the variety of species, genes, and ecosystems constituting life on Earth.

2. What factors affect biodiversity?
- *Influences:* Habitat destruction, over-exploitation, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and disease.

3. How does habitat destruction impact biodiversity?
- *Consequences:* Habitat loss results in declines in biodiversity and potential species extinctions.

4. How does over-exploitation affect biodiversity?
- *Impact:* Depletion of populations, reduction in species diversity, and cascading effects on ecosystems.

5. How do invasive species influence biodiversity?
- *Effects:* Competition for resources, disease spread, and habitat alterations, leading to reduced species diversity.

6. How does climate change impact biodiversity?
- *Changes:* Shifts in temperature, precipitation, and environmental factors altering species distribution and migration patterns.

7. How does pollution affect biodiversity?
- *Consequences:* Toxic effects on species, disruption of food chains, and harm to ecosystem health, resulting in reduced species diversity.

8. How does disease affect biodiversity?
- *Effects:* Introduction of pathogens causing population declines, disruptions in food chains, and overall biodiversity reduction.

9. What can be done to conserve biodiversity?
- *Actions:* Protecting habitats, sustainable resource management, controlling invasive species, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and mitigating pollution and disease impacts.


Test Yourself 

**1. What human activities have contributed to the decline in Earth's overall biodiversity over time?**
- A. Forest conservation
- B. Agricultural expansion
- C. Urban development
- D. Marine conservation

**2. What is a consequence of deforestation in terms of biodiversity?**
- A. Increased habitat availability
- B. Enhanced resources for organisms
- C. Loss of habitats and resources
- D. Improved soil quality

**3. How do pesticides and herbicides impact biodiversity?**
- A. Enhance plant diversity
- B. Harm non-target organisms
- C. Promote weed growth
- D. Increase nutrient levels

**4. What is the process of eutrophication linked to the use of fertilizers?**
- A. Soil erosion
- B. Nutrient enhancement
- C. Habitat destruction
- D. Marine conservation

**5. What is the outcome of modern farming practices on genetic diversity in farm animals?**
- A. Increase in genetic diversity
- B. No impact on genetic diversity
- C. Preservation of genetic diversity
- D. Reduction in genetic diversity

**6. Which conservation strategy focuses on preserving species in their natural habitats through protected areas?**
- A. Ex-situ Conservation
- B. In-situ Conservation
- C. International Agreements
- D. Local Agreements

**7. What is the primary cause of the greenhouse gas effect and global warming?**
- A. Deforestation
- B. Fossil fuel usage
- C. Marine conservation
- D. Soil erosion

**8. How does climate change impact biodiversity in terms of competitive advantage?**
- A. Promotes diversity
- B. Reduces competition
- C. Gives advantage to adapted organisms
- D. Enhances mutualism

**9. What do Local Agreements, like the UK's CSS, aim to achieve?**
- A. Increase urban development
- B. Reduce agricultural practices
- C. Enhance biodiversity in the countryside
- D. Impact global climate

**10. What is the primary action suggested to conserve biodiversity?**
- A. Increase urbanization
- B. Reduce marine conservation efforts
- C. Control invasive species
- D. Encourage agricultural expansion



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