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Habitat Fragmentation

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

Human interference can pose a threat to the habitats that give home to a wide range of species and it can affect their quality of life. Habitat fragmentation happens when parts of a habitat are destroyed, leaving behind smaller unconnected areas. This can occur naturally due to natural events like fires but it is increasingly caused by human activity. Fragmentation is one of the biggest threats posed to species biodiversity and one of the biggest contributors to ecological degradation. It causes an immediate decrease in a species population, and the data continues to grow showing how it affects their abiotic environment.

Road construction is an example of a disruptive form of habitat fragmentation. Roads can be difficult obstacles for wildlife that live in wooded areas. What was once one habitat has become two habitats.

Negative effects of habitat fragmentation can include loss of total habitat, and reduction in habitat quality which is also known as the edge effect. As a habitat is broken into smaller sections, the proportion of edge increases. Some species thrive along habitat edges but many struggle. Many species have adapted to thrive in the interior of the woods where conditions are very different from its edges. Wildlife that this affects ranges from birds like treecreepers to lichens and mosses. Fragmentation also affects wildlife mobility and that can lead to inbreeding which affects the genetic diversity of species. That, in turn, reduces the long- term health of a population and makes it more vulnerable to disease and a greater risk of extinction.

How does UPLC connect with this topic? When land is protected with a plan to be conserved and unaltered this decreases the rate of habitat fragmentation in the Upper Peninsula. One of the biggest goals of conservation is to help native species thrive in their environments and keep populations stable within the boundaries of easements. There is beauty and life in the inner woods of the Upper Peninsula. With that being said, it is not only important to educate the public about it’s quality but also educate people on how they can be aware of the human effect on the world around us. With a rich biodiversity including mushrooms, lichens, moss, and other native species that thrive in the interior of the woods in multiple preserves. It ensures that these species have a higher chance of population survival in the long run.

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