An ecosystem is the interaction of the living and nonliving things in a geographical location. The ecosystem is a delicate balance in which the living organisms depend on one another and on the nonliving, or abiotic, factors such as available sunlight and temperature for their survival and reproduction. Human activities upset this balance.
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Overhunting in the Tundra
The tundra biome is very inhospitable, leading to a very low biodiversity. The few plants and animals that do live in the tundra are interconnected; they depend on an established chain of energy to sustain the tundra ecosystem. The World Wildlife Fund notes that some fish species in the Arctic have been decimated due to overfishing. Commercial whaling and sealing greatly reduced available stocks of entire species of whales and seals in the Arctic. Other Arctic animals like musk oxen, arctic foxes, caribou and polar bears have been hunted to near-extinction. These practices further reduced the already low biodiversity in the tundra. Protective laws and wildlife refuges have helped repair the damage to the tundra ecosystem.
The Effects of Wind Turbines
According to The Ornithological Council, the physical presence and noise from wind turbines situated in shrub steppe or other grassland habitats alter the ecosystem. Birds are mainly affected, as their breeding and flight behaviours are sometimes disrupted. Bids flying through areas with wind turbines adjust their flight patterns to fly above or below the rotating blades. Some of them change their seasonal migration patterns to avoid the area where the wind farm is situated. According to The Ornithological Council, there are fewer bird species in areas with wind turbines.
The forests are important to the Earth because trees produce most of the Earth's oxygen through photosynthesis. Forests also contain a rich mixture of organisms. Deforestation is the practice of cutting down the trees in the forests for commercial, agricultural and residential purposes. This harms the ecosystem because it upsets the balance of life in the forest biome. Many animals depend on plants for food and shelter. When human beings destroy their habitat, some of them abandon the limited resources in the forest and encroach on human territories. This leads to conflicts with human beings, who may see them as a nuisance.
The Environmental Protection Agency identifies ocean dumping and vessel discharges as two sources of human pollution on the oceans. Pollution from point sources include those from industrial or municipal facilities. Other sources of human pollution are discharges from military, commercial and recreational vessels, fertiliser and chemical pesticide run-offs, and petroleum products. These pollutants affect the organisms in the ocean, causing them to fall sick, altering their breeding habits, and even killing them outright.
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- Rainforest Action Network: Protect the World's Forests
- Treehugger; Words Can't Describe It: Humans' Impact on the World's Oceans; Jeremy Elton Jacquot; February 2008
- Yale University; The Impacts of Human Activities on Biodiversity in New Haven County; Abie L. Bentez; May 2001
- The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative; Impact of Wind Energy and Other Human-Related Activity on Grassland and Shrub-Steppe Birds; October 2007
- Cool Antarctica: Human Impacts on Antarctica and Threats to the Environment - Overview