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Republic of the Philippines

CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE


Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

NAME: ERIC M. GRIJALDO CYS: BSED 4A


SUBJECT: ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE DATE: SEPTEMBER 20, 2017
INSTRUCTOR: MISS MARY GRACE LANGCOY

"How do speciation, extinction, and human activities affect biodiversity?"

Biodiversity loss from species extinctions may rival pollution and climate change impacts.

Species extinction and loss of biodiversity could be as devastating for the earth as climate
change and air pollution. That's the finding of a new study by a group of scientists from nine
countries. The research aims for the first time to comprehensively compare the consequences of
biodiversity loss with other possible environmental issues caused by humans.

Ecologist and University of Michigan assistant professor, Bradley Cardinale, who helped write the
study, says, "Loss of biological diversity due to species extinctions is going to have major impacts on
our planet, and we better prepare ourselves to deal with them. These extinctions may well rank as
one of the top five drivers of global change."

The study, which suggests that more moves must be made to strengthen biodiversity at all levels, has
just been published online in the Nature journal.

Research conducted over the last 20 years has showed that production increases in ecosystems with
the widest biodiversity. This raised worries that today's high extinction rates from harvesting increases,
habitat reduction and other environmental issues, could affect vital issues such as food production,
pure water and a stable climate.

But until this study, it had been difficult to separate the effects due to the loss of biodiversity against
problems caused by human activity.

Lead author of the research, David Hooper, a Western Washington University biologist, says it had
been believed that the effects of biodiversity were minor, but the findings of the new study suggests
that future species loss has as big an effect on reducing plant production as global warming and
pollution.

The international team took data from 192 published studies and experimental to compare how
different worldwide environmental factors affected the growth of plants and how fungi and bacteria
attacked dead plants.

They found that in places were species loss was low, affecting up to 20% of local plant species, there
was a negligible impact on plant growth in the ecosystem and in species diversity.

In areas with 21-40% extinction, plant growth was expected to fall by between 5-10%, which is
equivalent to the likely impact of global warming and rising ultraviolet radiation caused by major
ozone reduction.

In the highest levels of species loss, from 41-60%, the impact would be similar to major factors of
environmental change, including pollution of the ozone, acid decay of forests and pollution of
nutrients.

The seriousness of the findings has surprised some of the team and indicates that environmental
policymakers should take into account the potential effects of biodiversity loss, says David Hooper.

The biggest challenge still remains - how the loss of biodiversity and other major environmental
changes will combine to change the ecosystem, says fellow author, Emmett Duffy, from the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science.
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CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

As well as Bradley Cardinale, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Natural
Resources and Environment and in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, David
Hooper and Emmett Duffy, several other researchers worked on the study.

They were E. Carol Adair from the University of Vermont and the National Center for Ecological
Analysis and Synthesis, Santa Barbara; Kristen Matulich, from the University of California Irvine; Bruce
Hungate, from Northern Arizona University; Jarrett E.K. Byrnes, from the National Center for Ecological
Analysis and Synthesis; Andrew Gonzalez, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Lars Gamfeldt,
from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; and Mary O'Connor, from the University of British
Columbia, Canada, and the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.

The research was financed from grants from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis
and the National Science Foundation.

Human Impact on Biodiversity


Introduction

Many individuals do not think about the damage they are causing on biodiversity. However, it is
important as humans to realize the impact we have on biodiversity because without it, there would
be no human existence. If no changes are made in the ways humans use resources on earth, there
will continue to be a degradation of biodiversity until human lives can no longer be
sustained. Humans affect biodiversity by their population numbers, use of land, and their lifestyles,
causing damage to habitats for species. It is important for humans to realize how their actions affect
biodiversity and the importance of maintaining what biodiversity is left on the earth. Through proper
education, and by demanding that governments make decisions to preserve biodiversity, the human
population will be able to sustain life on earth longer.

Biodiversity Defined and Why It Is Important

Biodiversity is the term that is given to describe the variety of life on earth and the natural patterns it
forms. It is the result of evolution, natural processes, and human influence. (Secretariat,
2000)Biodiversity involves diversity of genes within a species, of species within ecosystems, and of
ecosystems in the biosphere (Frequently, 2005). Biodiversity is not determined by only one factor, but
rather many factors that differ spatially and temporally (Climate, 2005).

Although many humans may not realize how important biodiversity is to them, it is clear that
without it humans would not be able to exist. Each day humans use 40,000 species, most of which go
totally unnoticed (Eldredge, 2000). Even though only a minority of humans realize it, biodiversity
provides humans with food, water, oxygen, energy, detoxification of waste, stabilization of earth’s
climate, medicine, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and many more things (Secretariat,
2000). Simply put, there would be no population of humans without biodiversity.

Extinction of Species

The most obvious indicator of biodiversity is the number of species on the planet. Currently
there are 1.75 million species that have been identified; however, some speculate that there are at
least 10 million living species on earth (Eldredge, 2000). To look at the loss of biodiversity, the number
of extinctions of species should be examined. Rates of extinction are currently up to 40,000 species
per year (that’s 100 per day or 4 per hour) (Wood, 2000). This rate is 50 -100 times the natural rate of
extinction and is expected to increase in the coming years (Sherbinin, 2002). The extinction rate is of
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CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

great concern because once a species is extinct, there is no chance of ever getting that species
back on the planet.

Three main problems that cause species extinction are: habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation
(Noss et al, 2005). Habitat loss is described as the complete destruction of a habitat. An example of
habitat loss would be logging of a forest. Habitat degradation is when a habitat diminishes to a point
where it can no longer support biological communities (Effects, 2005). An example of this would be
habitats that are polluted by industry. Habitat fragmentation is described as a habitat that is broken
into smaller discontinuous segments of land for development (Mapping, 2005). An example of this
would be putting a road in the middle of a habitat. All three of these problems that result in species
extinction are directly related to human influence.

Human Actions

There is no clear way of determining the total impact that humans are making on biodiversity;
however, it is obvious that many actions by humans are causing a decrease in biodiversity. To
determine the total impact that humans are making on a given environment, the area of productive
land and water needed to produce the item that is being consumed and the need to account for
the waste being generated by humanity must all be taken into account according to management
and production practices in use during that time (Wackernagel et al., 2002).

Direct or indirect actions by humans have resulted in the decrease of biodiversity. The Convention of
Biological Diversity states that there are both indirect and direct human drivers. Some of the indirect
human drivers are demographic, economic, sociopolitical, scientific and technological, and cultural
and religious factors. Some of the direct human drivers are changes in local land use and land
cover, species introductions or removals, external inputs, harvesting, air and water pollution, and
climate change (Climate, 2005).

Human activity has substantially changed one-third to one-half of the world’s surface
(Frequently, 2005). In the next 50 years it is expected that humans will seriously impact 50-90 percent
of land in developing countries. This is a result of growth in population and in over consumption of
natural resources (Mapping, 2005). The population of humans is, what many consider, the root of the
biodiversity problem (Eldredge, 2000). The number of humans on earth, as of July 2005, is at 6.4 billion
(World, 2005). The increase in human inhabitants causes a problem because with it comes a need to
convert natural habitats to land for human consumption.

One way that the humans have been able to sustain their growth is by converting natural habitats to
fields where foods can be produced. At least 23 percent of the earth’s land is being used for
agriculture (31 percent of all land is unfarmable). In the United States there is a direct relationship
between the loss of forests to the increase in cropland (Dobson, 1996). Internationally, there is half a
hectare of tropical forest disappearing to farmland every second. One of the potential dangers of
decreasing the amount of natural habitats remaining is that species will no longer be present on
earth. This directly affects agriculture because many of the species that are being destroyed for
croplands may have been used for genetically enhancing crop products (Frequently, 2005). In this
manner, the increase in agricultural land actually harms our agricultural future.

Human actions have also played a role in climate change, which is also causing great danger for
biodiversity. The change in climate is due to increased atmospheric concentrations of carbon
dioxide, which causes increased land and ocean temperatures, and changes in precipitation and
sea level rise. With the change in climate also comes a change in species. Climate affects the timing
of reproduction and migration, the length of growing seasons, species distributions and population
size, and the frequency of pest and disease outbreaks. It is also expected that the change in climate
in the 21st century will have a much higher rate than the past 10,000 years and create an even
bigger impact on biodiversity (Climate, 2005). It is expected that 80 percent of biologically rich
Republic of the Philippines
CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

regions will suffer great losses of plant and animal species because of global warming. The rate of
change of habitats is expected to increase up to ten times due to global warming (Sherbinin, 2002).

Poverty and Biodiversity

Biodiversity affects everyone to varying degrees. People that live in poverty depend heavily upon
nature to provide them with resources to live. In third world countries logging has become a common
activity of the poor. It is a huge problem in many developing countries because it is destroying
natural habitats, yet it seems to be one of the only ways that people can make enough money to
support their families. The New York Times recently ran an article about individuals in Malawi illegally
cutting down trees in order to make enough money for food. One individual states, "We have no
money to raise our families. We have nowhere to run, nothing else to do. So we have to cut the trees
to feed our families." However, even when the individuals cut down trees and sell the wood they still
do not always have enough money to support their families. The current rate of deforestation
in Malawi is 2.8 percent and 23 species that are found in their forests are considered endangered.
(Wines, 2005)

The degradation of the environment will affect both poor and industrialized nations. However, The
developing nations will be the ones that are affected the most by the degradation of the
environment by increasing poverty, reducing labor productivity, and exacerbating the current
economic social crisis (Mapping, 2005). Developing nations do not have the resources to help their
citizens find an alternative to use nature for survival.

Educating individuals in developing countries about the need to preserve biodiversity is a must for
ensuring human survival. Educating locals on the impact people are making on the environment and
showing people how they can live in equilibrium with nature, will help preserve biodiversity without
causing further oppression. Many times individuals do not realize that there are alternative ways of
obtaining money that do not put the environment into jeopardy. For example, in the case in Malawi,
if the locals were to obtain honey from beehives found in the forests they would be able to make
more money than they would by selling wood (Wines, 2005).

General education in developing countries is very important to biodiversity even if it does not focus
directly on sustainable living. There have been significant studies that have shown that educating
and empowering women lead to a decrease in birthrates which would make a huge impact on
population growth, especially since developing nations have a higher birthrate compared to
industrialized nations. Simply educating individuals, all individuals, not just impoverished ones, about
their impacts on biodiversity is a step in the right direction. (Eldredge, 2000)

Governmental Actions

Although there are actions individuals can make that can assist in helping the biodiversity
problem, it is important for governments to take actions that will provide a larger scale effect on
saving biodiversity. The George W. Bush administration is not known for protecting the environment.
President Bush has eliminated the roadless rule, which was a rule that kept logging and roads from
being present in 60 million acres of national forests. Bush has also cut 42 million acres of critical
habitat from the 83 million acres that are needed for threatened and endangered species. There has
been a great decrease in the amount of designated wilderness in the United States. Bush designated
530,000 acres as wilderness areas compared to 9.5 million under the Clinton administration, 10.6
million acres under the Reagan administration, and 66.3 million acres under the Carter administration.
There has also been a decrease in the number of species that were added to the endangered
species list; Bush has added 31 species, Reagan 253, Bush Senior 228, and Clinton 521. (Wetsone et
al., 2005)
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CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Bush made another decision against the environment by not ratifying the Kyoto protocol. The
Kyoto protocol is a treaty that agrees to manage climate change on earth by reducing the amount
of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere or to employ
emissions trading (when governments provide an incentive for individuals to reduce the amount of
emissions) (Kyoto, 2005). Al Gore signed the Kyoto protocol in 1998, however this agreement was not

binding until it was ratified (Kyoto Protocol A, 2005, Kyoto Protocol B 2005). The United States did not
support the signing of the agreement because they thought it “would result in serious harm to the
economy of the United States.” (Kyoto Protocol A, 2005) The United States did not ratify the
agreement and has no intention of doing so at this time (Kyoto Protocol B, 2005). Bush stated that he
didn’t agree with the treaty because it did not include every nation, especially ones that were
releasing great amounts of greenhouse gasses, for example China. The United States has agreed to
reduce their carbon intensity to 18 percent by 2012; however, this is actually an increase in overall
emissions (Kyoto Protocol A, 2005).

Some local governments are not in agreement with the United States’ decision not to sign
the Kyoto protocol. The northeastern states in the United States (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont with Pennsylvania,
Maryland, District of Columbia, and Eastern Canadian Provinces observing) decided that there
needed to be a reduction of emissions and created the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI.
The goal of RGGI is to bringing the northeast region of the United States together to discuss a regional
cap-and-trade program that deals with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses emissions that
are released from their power plants. The cap and trade program works by allowing a certain
amount of emissions from each company, but if a company has been able to limit its emissions and
has not reached the maximum level allowed, they are able to sell the permits for the emissions to
companies who cannot keep within their maximum allowance for emissions (Regional, 2005). RGGI
will cap the program by taking the average emission between the years of 2000 to 2004 and not
allowing a greater amount than this average to occur from 2009 to 2015. Through the years 2015 to
2020 the RGGI wishes to start the reduction of emissions by 10 percent (US, 2005).

Although there is much evidence that the Bush administration does not truly care about the
environment, they have made a few contributions that are beneficial to the environment. Bush has
made a debt for nature swap, which is when a country’s debt is redeemed by supplying land
reserves and salaries for people to monitor and protect reserves (Dobson, 1996). There are two ways
in which debt for nature swaps can occur. The first way is through bilateral debt swap, which occurs
between the two governments. The second way is through commercial debt swap, this occurs when
a nongovernmental organization purchases the debt at a discount from the creditor government.
The nongovernmental organization then organizes the conservation project with the debtor
government. (World Wildlife, 2002)

Conclusion

Biodiversity is an issue that affects everyone and therefore everyone should be aware of their
effect on biodiversity. As biodiversity decreases on earth, so do the chances of human survival.
Therefore, it is important to educate people on living in equilibrium with the environment. It is also
important to make sure that the government is making laws that will ensure biodiversity for the future
and not focus on shortsighted economics. If humans become extinct, it will likely be a result of their
own action or lack of action. Hopefully humans will realize this before it is too late.
Republic of the Philippines
CARLOS HILADO MEMORIAL STATE COLLEGE
Talisay City, Negros Occidental
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION

Discussion
Speciation, extinction, and human activities can affect biodiversity. In biology we define
“species” as a group of organisms capable of breeding to produce offspring. Species is distinct from
another species both in its genes and its inability to breed with the other species. All species create
diversity, the more species in the earth the more diversity or difference there will be. If the number of
new species that are evolving is higher than the number going extinct, the biodiversity increases.
Speciation affects biodiversity by creating more specialized sub-species.

According to the first article, species extinction and loss of biodiversity could be as devastating
for the earth as climate change and air pollution. Extinction affects biodiversity by reducing the
amount of species. It is caused by low birth rate, over specialized species and natural disasters.
Extinction also could affect vital issues such as food production, pure water and a stable climate.

Many actions by humans are causing a decrease in biodiversity. Human activities affect
biodiversity by artificially controlling or adapting it to fit human needs. It occurs when humans hunt,
artificial selection, pollution, introducing exotic species, etc. Human actions have also played a role
in climate change, which is also causing great danger for biodiversity.

According to Trisha Hostetter, in her research, she concluded that “Biodiversity is an issue that
affects everyone and therefore everyone should be aware of their effect on biodiversity. As
biodiversity decreases on earth, so do the chances of human survival. Therefore, it is important to
educate people on living in equilibrium with the environment. It is also important to make sure that
the government is making laws that will ensure biodiversity for the future and not focus on short-
sighted economics. If humans become extinct, it will likely be a result of their own action or lack of
action. Hopefully humans will realize this before it is too late.”

References:
Bishop A. (2012). Biodiversity loss from species extinctions may rival pollution and climate change
impacts. Retrieved from http://www.earthtimes.org/nature/biodiversity-loss-species-extinction-top-
driver-global-change/1960/

Hostetter T. (2005). Human Impact on Biodiversity. Retrieved from


https://www.goshen.edu/bio/Biol410/bsspapers05/Trishahostette.htm