WEFOUNDhabitat fragmentation synonyms


Preserving very large areas of natural habitats is great from a conservationist's point of view. This is because large areas of uninterrupted wilderness help to ensure that organisms within the area have enough room to maintain a range large enough to support a given population. Take, for example, the wild bison herds in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Park is only a small fraction of the original range that the American Bison used to roam; however, it is large enough to support two separate herds of bison with a total population that ranges between 2,300 and 4,500 animals.

Creating new national parks the size of Yellowstone is now pretty much impossible in most parts of the United States because, aside from the national parks and some state parks, very few large tracts of wilderness remain undisturbed.

Human activities have reduced natural habitats and, in many cases, fragmented them into small, sometimes isolated, patches. These patches of natural habitat create a number of questions for conservation biologists. Some of these include:

Fragmentation is often defined as a decrease in some or all types of natural habitats in a landscape, and the dividing of the landscape into smaller and more isolated pieces. As the fragmentation process develops, the ecological effects will change. Fragmentation can be caused by natural processes such as fires, floods, and volcanic activity, but is more commonly caused by human impacts. It often starts with what are seen as small and harmless impacts. As human activity increases, however, the influence of fragmentation becomes greater. In the end, it leads to devastating effects on native species, a total change to the landscape, and the destruction of the area’s wilderness heritage.

Today, in the vast circumpolar area, many ecosystems are still relatively undisturbed. They are large enough to allow ecological processes and wildlife populations to fluctuate naturally, and for biodiversity to evolve and adapt. These areas, which are among the last remaining wilderness areas of the world, therefore, constitute a global heritage.

In mainland Norway, much habitat has been lost through piecemeal development, particularly during the past 20 to 30 years. During the last century undisturbed or pristine wilderness areas (more than 5 km from roads and other infrastructures) have been reduced from 48% of the countryside nationwide in 1900 to 11.8% in 1998. In northern Norway only 24% of land was classified as wilderness in 1998. This trend is largely the result of agriculture, forestry, and hydroelectric development. In the Svalbard archipelago, the wilderness areas are still intact, but proposals for roads to connect coal mines are shadows on the horizon.

Preserving very large areas of natural habitats is great from a conservationist's point of view. This is because large areas of uninterrupted wilderness help to ensure that organisms within the area have enough room to maintain a range large enough to support a given population. Take, for example, the wild bison herds in Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone Park is only a small fraction of the original range that the American Bison used to roam; however, it is large enough to support two separate herds of bison with a total population that ranges between 2,300 and 4,500 animals.

Creating new national parks the size of Yellowstone is now pretty much impossible in most parts of the United States because, aside from the national parks and some state parks, very few large tracts of wilderness remain undisturbed.

Human activities have reduced natural habitats and, in many cases, fragmented them into small, sometimes isolated, patches. These patches of natural habitat create a number of questions for conservation biologists. Some of these include:


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