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MARA Junior Science College Of Taiping

BIO Assignment : Endangered Ecosystem

Name : Muhammad Faizzi bin Lokman Hakim

Form : 412
Subject’s Teacher : Puan Hasleyza

An ecosystem is a natural unit consisting of all plants, animals and micro-

organisms (biotic factors) in an area functioning together with all of the physical

(abiotic) factors of the environment. Ecosystems can be permanent or temporary.

An ecosystem is a unit of interdependent organisms which share the same

habitat. Ecosystems usually form a number of food.

Central to the ecosystem concept is the idea that living organisms interact with

every other element in their local environment. Eugene Odum, a founder of

ecology, stated: "Any unit that includes all of the organisms (ie: the "community")

in a given area interacting with the physical environment so that a flow of energy

leads to clearly defined trophic structure, biotic diversity, and material cycles (ie:

exchange of materials between living and nonliving parts) within the system is an

ecosystem. The human ecosystem concept is then grounded in the

deconstruction of the human/nature dichotomy and the premise that all species

are ecologically integrated with each other, as well as with the abiotic

constituents of their biotope.

The Fuction of ecosystem is as production units similar to those that produce

goods and services. Among some of the most common goods produced by

ecosystems, is wood by forest ecosystems and grass for cattle by natural

grasslands. Meat from wild animals, often referred to as bush meat in Africa, has

proven to be extremely successful under well-controlled management schemes

in South Africa and Kenya. Much less successful has been the discovery and

commercialization of substances of wild organism for pharmaceutical purposes.

Effects of Unplanned Development and Mismanagement

1. Soil erosion

Erosion is the removal of solids (sediment, soil, rock and other

particles) in the natural environment. It usually occurs due to transport by wind,

water, or ice; by down-slope creep of soil and other material under the force of

gravity; or by living organisms, such as burrowing animals, in the case of

bioerosion. Erosion is distinguished from weathering,

which is the process of chemical or physical

breakdown of the minerals in the rocks, although the

two processes may occur concurrently. Erosion is a

noticeable intrinsic natural process but in many

places it is increased by human land use. Poor land

use practices include deforestation, overgrazing, unmanaged construction

activity and road-building. Land that is used for the production of agricultural

crops generally experiences a significant greater rate of erosion than that of land

under natural vegetation. This is particularly true if tillage is used, which reduces

vegetation cover on the surface of the soil and disturbs both soil structure and

plant roots that would otherwise hold the soil in place. However, improved land

use practices can limit erosion, using techniques such as terrace-building,

conservation tillage practices, and tree planting.

The factor that is most subject to change is the amount and type of ground cover.

In an undisturbed forest, the mineral soil is protected by a litter layer and an

organic layer. These two layers protect the soil by absorbing the impact of rain

drops. These layers and the underlying soil in a forest are porous and highly

permeable to rainfall. Typically, only the most severe rainfall and large hailstorm

events will lead to overland flow in a forest. If the trees are removed by fire or

logging, infiltration rates become high and erosion low to the degree the forest

floor remains intact. Severe fires can lead to significantly increased erosion if

followed by heavy rainfall. In the case of construction or road building, when the

litter layer is removed or compacted, the susceptibility of the soil to erosion is

greatly increased.
2. Flash flood

Flash flooding occurs

when the ground becomes saturated

with water that has fallen too quickly to

be absorbed. The runoff collects in

low-lying areas and rapidly flows

downhill. Flash floods most often occur

in normally dry areas that have recently received precipitation, but may be seen

anywhere downstream from the source of the precipitation - even dozens of

miles from the source. In areas on or near volcanic mountains, flash floods have

also occurred after eruptions, when glaciers have been melted by the intense

heat. A flash flood is a rapid flooding of geomorphic low-lying areas - washes,

rivers and streams. It is caused by heavy rain associated with a thunderstorm,

hurricane, or tropical storm. Flash floods can also occur after the collapse of an

ice dam, or a human structure, such as a dam, for example, the Johnstown Flood

of 1889. Flash floods are distinguished

from a regular flood by a timescale less

than six hours.

3. Landslides
A landslide (or landslip) is a geological phenomenon which includes

a wide range of ground movement, such as rock falls,

deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which

can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore

environments. Although the action of gravity is the

primary driving force for a landslide to occur, there are

other contributing factors affecting the original slope stability. Typically, pre-

conditional factors build up specific sub-surface conditions that make the

area/slope prone to failure, whereas the actual landslide often requires a trigger

before being released. Landslides are caused when the

stability of a slope changes from a stable to an unstable


4. Eutrophication

Eutrophication is an increase in the

concentration of chemical nutrients in an

ecosystem to an extent that increases in the primary productivity of the

ecosystem. Depending on the degree of eutrophication, subsequent negative

environmental effects such as anoxia and severe reductions in water quality, fish,

and other animal populations may occur.

Eutrophication is frequently a result of nutrient pollution, such as the release of

sewage effluent, urban stormwater ru n-off, and run-off carrying excess fertilizers

into natural waters. However, it may also occur naturally in situations where

nutrients accumulate (e.g. depositional environments) or where they flow into

systems on an ephemeral basis. Eutrophication generally promotes excessive

plant growth and decay, favors certain weedy species over others, and may

cause a severe reduction in water quality. In aquatic environments, enhanced

growth of choking aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton (e.g.algal blooms) disrupts

normal functioning of the ecosystem, causing a variety of problems such as a

lack of oxygen in the water, needed for fish and shellfish to survive. The water

then becomes cloudy, coloured a shade of green, yellow, brown, or red. Human

society is impacted as well: eutrophication decreases the resource value of

rivers, lakes, and estuaries such that recreation, fishing, hunting, and aesthetic

enjoyment are hindered. Health-related problems can occur where eutrophic

conditions interfere with drinking water treatment.

Nutrients from human activities tend to accumulate in soils and remain there for

years. It has been shown that the amount of

phosphorus lost to surface waters increases

linearly with the amount of phosphorus in the soil. Thus much of the nutrient

loading in soil eventually makes its way to water. Nitrogen, similarly, has a

turnover time of decades or more. When an ecosystem experiences an increase

in nutrients, primary producers reap the benefits first. In aquatic ecosystems,

species such as algae experience a popul ation increase (called an algal bloom).

Algal blooms limit the sunlight available to bottom-dwelling organisms and cause

wide swings in the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water. Oxygen is required

by all respiring plants and animals and it is replenished in daylight by

photosynthesizing plants and algae. Under eutrophic conditions, dissolved

oxygen greatly increases during the day, but is greatly reduced after dark by the

respiring algae and by microorganisms that feed on the increasing mass of dead

algae. When dissolved oxygen levels decline to hypoxic levels, fish and other

marine animals suffocate. As a result, creatures such as fish, shrimp, and

especially immobile bottom dwellers die off. In extreme cases, anaerobic

conditions ensure, promoting growth of bacteria such as Clostridium botulinum

that produces toxins deadly to birds and mammals. Zones where this occurs are

known as dead zones.

5. Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment

that causes instability, disorder, harm or

discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems

or living organisms . Pollution can take the form of

chemical substances, or energy, such as noise, heat, or light. Pollutants, the

elements of pollution, can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally

occurring; when naturally occurring, they are considered contaminants w hen

they exceed natural levels. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint

source pollution. Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides can cause acid rain which

lowers the pH value of soil.

Nitrogen oxides are removed from the air by rain and fertilise land which can

change the species composition of ecosystems. Soil can become infertile and

unsuitable fo r plants. This will affect other organisms in the food web. Smog and

haze can reduce the amount of sunlight received by plants to carry out

photosynthesis and leads to the production of tropospheric ozone which

damages plants. Invasive species can out

compete native species and reduce

biodiversity. Invasive

plants can contribute

debris and biomolecules

(allelopathy) that can alter soil and chemical

compositions of an environment, often

reducing native species competitiv eness. Biomagnification describes situations

where toxins (such as heavy metals) may pass through trophic levels, becoming

exponentially more concentrated in the process. Carbon dioxide emissions cause

ocean acidification, the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans as CO2

becomes dissolved. The emission of greenhouse gases leads to global warming

which affects ecosystems in many ways. Pollution control is a term used in

environmental management. It means the control of emissions and effluents into

air, water or soil. Without pollution control, the wast e products from

consumption, heating, agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transporta tion and

other human activities, whether they accumulate or disperse, will degrade the
environment. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste

minimization are more desirable than pollution control.

6. Global Warming

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the

Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected

continuation. Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ±

0.32 °F) during the last century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

(IPCC) concludes that increasing greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from

human activity such as fossil fuel burning and

deforestation caused most of the observed

temperature increase since the m iddle of the

20th century. The IPCC also concludes that

variations in natural phenomena such as

solar radiation and volcanoes produced most of

the warming from pre-industrial times to 1950 and had a small cooling effect
afterward. These basic conclusions have been endorsed by more than 40

scientific societies and academies of science,[B] including all of the national

academies of science of the major industrialized countries. A small number of

scientists dispute the consensus view. Climate model projections summarized in

the latest IPCC report indicate that the global surface temperature will probably

rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century. The

uncertainty in this estimate arises from the use of models with differing sensitivity

to greenhouse gas concentrations and the use of differing estimates of future

greenhouse gas emissions. Some other uncertainties include how warming and

related changes will vary from region to region around the globe. Most studies

focus on the period up to the year 2100.

However, warming is expected to continue beyond 2100 even if emissions stop,

because of the large heat capacity of the oceans and the long lifetime of carbon

dioxide in the atmosphere. An increase in global temperature will cause sea

levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably

including expansion of subtropical deserts. The continuing retreat of glaciers,

permafrost and sea ice is expected, with warming

being strongest in the Arctic. Other likely effects

include increases in the intensity of extreme weather

events, species extinctions, and changes in

agricultural yields.
Political and public debate continues regarding climate change, and what actions

(if any) to take in response. The available options are mitigation to reduce further

emissions; adaptation to reduce the damage caused by warming; and, more

speculatively, geoengineering to reverse global warming. Most national

governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing

greenhouse gas emissions.

External forcing is a term used in climate science for processes external to the

climate system (though not necessarily external to Earth). Climate responds to

several types of external forcing, such as changes in greenhouse gas

concentrations, changes in solar luminosity, volcanic eruptions, and variations in

Earth's orbit around the Sun. Attribution of recent climate change focuses on the

first three types of forcing. Orbital cycles vary slowly over tens of thousands of

years and thus are too gradual to have caused the temperature changes

observed in the past century.

The greenhouse effect is the process by which absorption and emission of

infrared radiation by gases in the atmosphere warm a planet's lower atmosphere

and surface. It was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824 and was first

investigated quantitatively by Svante Arrhenius in

1896 . Existence of the greenhouse effect as such

is not disputed, even by those who do not agree

that the recent temperature increase is attributable

to human activity. The question is instead how the

strength of the greenhouse effect changes when human activity increases the

concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Naturally occurring greenhouse gases have a mean warming effect of about

33 °C (59 °F).[18][C] The major greenhouse gases are water vapor, which causes

about 36–70 percent of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2), which

causes 9–26 percent; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9 percen and ozone (O3),

which causes 3–7 percent. Clouds also affect the radiation balance, but they are

composed of liquid water or ice and so are considered separately from water

vapor and other gases.

Human activity since the Industrial Revolution has increased the amount of

greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, leading to increased radiative forcing from

CO2, methane, tropospheric ozone, CFCs and nitrous oxide. The concentrations

of CO2 and methane have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since the

mid-1700s. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last

650,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice

cores. Less direct geological evidence indicates that CO2 values this high were

last seen about 20 million years ago. Fossil fuel burning has produced about

three-quarters of the increase in CO2 from human activity over the past 20 years.

Most of the rest is due to land-use change, particularly deforestation.

CO2 concentrations are continuing to rise due to burning of fossil fuels and land-

use change. The future rate of rise will depend on uncertain economic,

sociological, technological, and natural developments. Accordingly, the IPCC

Special Report on Emissions Scenarios gives a wide range of future CO2

scenarios, ranging from 541 to 970 ppm by the year 2100. Fossil fuel reserves

are sufficient to reach these levels and continue emissions past 2100 if coal, tar

sands or methane clathrates are extensively exploited.

The destruction of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons is sometimes

mentioned in relation to global warming. Although there are a few areas of

linkage, the relationship between the two is not strong. Reduction of stratospheric

ozone has a cooling influence, but substantial ozone depletion did not occur until

the late 1970s. Tropospheric ozone contributes to surface warming.

7. Ozone Depletion

Ozone depletion describes two distinct, but related observations: a slow,

steady decline of about 4% per decade in the total volume of ozone in Earth's

stratosphere (ozone layer) since the late 1970s, and a much larger, but seasonal,

decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth's pol

ar regions during the same period. The latter

phenomenon is commonly referred to as the ozone

hole. In addition to this well-known

stratospheric ozone depletion, there are also

tropospheric ozone depletion events, which occur near the surface in polar

regions during spring.

The detailed mechanism by which the polar ozone holes form is different from

that for the mid-latitude thinning, but the most important process in both trends is

catalytic destruction of ozone by atomic chlorine and bromine.[1] The main source

of these halogen atoms in the stratosphere is photodissociation of

chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) compounds, commonly called freons, and of

bromofluorocarbon compounds known as halons. These compounds are

transported into the stratosphere after being emitted at the surface.[2] Both ozone

depletion mechanisms strengthened as emissions of CFCs and halons


CFCs and other contributory substances are commonly referred to as ozone-

depleting substances (ODS). Since the ozone layer prevents most harmful

UVB wavelengths (270–315 nm) of ultraviolet light (UV light) from passing

through the Earth's atmosphere, observed and projected decreases in ozone

have generated worldwide concern leading to adoption of the Montreal Protocol

banning the production of CFCs and halons as well as related ozone depleting

chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and trichloroethane. It is suspected that a

variety of biological consequences such as increases in

skin cancer, damage to plants, and reduction of plankton

populations in the ocean's photic zone may result from the

increased UV exposure due to ozone depletion.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were invented by Thomas

Midgley in the 1920s. They were used in air

conditioning/cooling units, as aerosol spray propellants prior to the 1980s, and in

the cleaning processes of delicate electronic equipment. They also occur as by-

products of some chemical processes. No significant natural sources have ever

been identified for these compounds — their presence in the atmosphere is due

almost entirely to human manufacture. As mentioned in the ozone cycle

overview above, when such ozone-depleting chemicals reach the stratosphere,

they are dissociated by ultraviolet light to release chlorine atoms. The chlorine

atoms act as a catalyst, and each can break down tens of thousands of ozone

molecules before being removed from the stratosphere. Given the longevity of

CFC molecules, recovery times are measured in decades. It is calculated that a

CFC molecule takes an average of 15 years to go from the ground level up to the

upper atmosphere, and it can stay there for about a century, destroying up to one

hundred thousand ozone molecules during that time.

The Antarctic ozone hole is an area of the Antarctic

stratosphere in which the recent ozone levels have

dropped to as low as 33% of their pre-1975 values. The

ozone hole occurs during the Antarctic spring, from

September to early December, as strong westerly winds

start to circulate around the continent and create an atmospheric container.

Within this polar vortex, over 50% of the lower stratospheric ozone is destroyed

during the Antarctic spring.

8. Climatic Change

The outgassings of the Earth was stripped away by solar winds early in

the history of the planet till a steady state was established, the first atmosphere.

Based on today's volcanic evidence, this atmosphere

would have contained 80% water vapor, 10% carbon

dioxide, 5 to 7% hydr ogen-sulfide, and smaller

amounts of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrogen,

methane and inert gases.

A major rainfall lead to the buildup of a vast ocean, enriching the other agents,

first carbon dioxide and later nitrogen and inert gases. A major part of carbon

dioxide exhalations were soon dissolved in water and built up carbonate

In the first three quarters of the Earth's history, only one major glaciation is to be

found in the geological record. Since about 950 million years ago, the Earth's

climate has varied regularly between large-scale or just polar cap wide glaciation

and extensively tropical climates. The time scale for this variation is roughly 140

million years and may be related to Earth's motion into and out of galactic spiral

arms and compared to the previous time, significantly reduced solar wind.[7]

The climate of the late Precambrian showed some

major glaciation events spreading over much of the

earth. At this time the continents were bunched up in the

Rodinia supercontinent. Massive deposits of tillites are

found and anomalous isotopic signatures are found,

which gave rise to the Snowball Earth hypothesis. As the

Proterozoic Eon drew to a close, the Earth started to warm up. By the dawn of

the Cambrian and the Phanerozoic, life forms were abundant in the Cambrian

explosion with average global temperatures of about 22 °C.

Major drivers for the preindustrial ages have been variations of the sun, volcanic

ashes and exhalations, relative movements of the earth towards the sun and

tectonically induced effects as for major sea currents, watersheds and ocean

oscillations. Especially the early Phanerozoic shows a decoupling of a rather high

carbon dioxide content and significant global glaciation.[8] Royer et al. 2004[9]

found a climate sensitivity for the rest of the Phanerozoic which was calculated to

be similar to today's modern range of values.

The difference in global mean temperatures between a fully glacial Earth and an

ice free Earth is estimated at approximately 10 °C, though far larger changes

would be observed at high latitudes and smaller ones at low latitudes. One

requirement for the development of large scale ice sheets seems to be the

arrangement of continental land masses at or near the poles. The constant

rearrangement of continents by plate tectonics can also shape long-term climate

evolution. However, the presence or absence of land masses at the poles is not

sufficient to guarantee

glaciations or exclude

polar ice caps.

Evidence exists of past

warm periods in Earth's

climate when polar land masses similar to Antarctica were home to deciduous

forests rather than ice sheets.

9. Loss Of Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome,

or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of

biological systems. The biodiversity found on Earth today consists of many

millions of distinct biological species, which is

the product of nearly 3.5 billion years of


During the last century, erosion of biodiversity

has been increasingly observed. Some studies show that about one eighth of

known plant species are threatened with extinction.[42] Some estimates put the

loss at up to 140,000 species per year (based on Species-area theory) and

subject to discussion.[43] This figure indicates unsustainable ecological practices,

because only a small number of species come into being each year. Almost all
scientists acknowledge [42] that the rate of species loss is greater now than at any

time in human history, with extinctions occurring at rates hundreds of times

higher than background extinction rates.

The factors that threaten biodiversity have been variously categorized. Jared

Diamond describes an "Evil Quartet" of habitat destruction, overkill, introduced

species, and secondary extensions. Edward O. Wilson prefers the acronym

HIPPO, standing for Habitat destruction, Invasive species, Pollution, Human

OverPopulation, and Overharvesting.[44][45] The most authoritative classification in

use today is that of IUCN’s Classification of Direct Threats[46] adopted by most

major international conservation organizations such as the US Nature

Conservancy, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and Birdlife


Most of the species extinctions from 1000 AD to 2000 AD are due to human

activities, in particular destruction of plant and animal habitats. Raised rates of

extinction are being driven by human consumption of

organic resources, especially related to tropical forest

destruction.[47] While most of the species that are

becoming extinct are not food species, their biomass

is converted into human food when their habitat is

transformed into pasture, cropland, and orchards. It is estimated that more than a

third of the Earth's biomass[48] is tied up in only the few species that represent

humans, livestock and crops. Because an ecosystem decreases in stability as its

species are made extinct, these studies warn that the global ecosystem is

destined for collapse if it is further reduced in complexity. Factors contributing to

loss of biodiversity are: overpopulation, deforestation, pollution (air pollution,

water pollution, soil contamination) and global warming or climate change, driven

by human activity. These factors, while all stemming from overpopulation,

produce a cumulative impact upon biodiversity.

There are systematic relationships between the area of a habitat and the number

of species it can support, with greater sensitivity to reduction in habitat area for

species of larger body size and for those living at lower latitudes or in forests or

oceans.[49] Some characterize loss of biodiversity not as ecosystem degradation

but by conversion to trivial standardized ecosystems (e.g., monoculture following

deforestation). In some countries lack of property rights or access regulation to

biotic resources necessarily leads to biodiversity loss (degradation costs having

to be supported by the community).

Purebred naturally evolved region specific wild species can be threatened with

extinction[53] through the process of genetic pollution i.e. uncontrolled

hybridization, introgression and genetic swamping which leads to

homogenization or replacement of local genotypes as a result of either a

numerical and/or fitness advantage of introduced plant or animal.[54] Nonnative

species can bring about a form of extinction of native plants and animals by

hybridization and introgression either through purposeful introduction by humans

or through habitat modification, bringing

previously isolated species into contact. These phenomena can be especially

detrimental for rare species coming into contact with more abundant ones.

The abundant species can interbreed with the rarer, swamping the entire gene

pool and creating hybrids, thus driving the entire native stock to complete

extinction. Attention has to be focused on the extent of this under appreciated

problem that is not always apparent from morphological (outward appearance)

observations alone. Some degree of gene flow may be a normal, evolutionarily

constructive, process, and all constellations of genes and genotypes cannot be

preserved. However, hybridization with or without introgression may,

nevertheless, threaten a rare species' existence

Endangered Animal