Q:

How do humans affect the ecosystem?

A:

Quick Answer

Human activity affects ecosystems in a wide variety of ways, but it primarily does so through agriculture, habitat destruction, water use and fishing. Whenever humans enter a habitat, they tend to reshape it to fit their own needs, destroying the resources that other animals use, which drives them out. The overuse of water drains natural aquifers and alters the local water table, and pollution can negatively affect wildlife populations.

Continue Reading
How do humans affect the ecosystem?
Credit: Philip and Karen Smith The Image Bank Getty Images

Full Answer

Fishing is one area in which human activity can have massive effects on an ecosystem. Humans often put extreme pressure on apex predator species, such as tuna. When the numbers of these predators dwindle, the lesser predators that they consume grow in number, which then puts pressure on the species further down the food chain. Additionally, industrial fishing operations can damage habitats and kill unrelated species that are caught along with the targeted fish.

Humans also affect the environment through pollution, and these changes can be widespread. Increases in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have raised global temperatures, and these increases can alter sea levels and weather patterns. Just a few degrees of change can damage fragile ecosystems by wiping out key flora or altering animals' reproductive cycles, and the fact that these gases can affect the environment for decades if not centuries ensures that their impact is long-term and widespread.

Learn more about Earth Science

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How have humans harmed the geosphere?

    A:

    Excavations and agricultural activities are the two primary ways humans influence the geosphere. One example from the 20th century was the Dust Bowl, in which farming practices in the Midwest led to the erosion of topsoil, rendering the Great Plains largely unable to support crops.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why are aye-ayes endangered?

    A:

    Aye-ayes are endangered primarily because of habitat destruction, as humans have rapidly encroached on their habitats. They are also frequently killed by the native Malagasy who view them as crop pests and bad omens. Aye-ayes do sometimes inhabit coconut and lychee plantations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What kind of enemies do jaguars have?

    A:

    Jaguars do not have any natural enemies because they are at the top of their food chain, however, humans are considered to be an enemy of the jaguar because they kill jaguars for fur and through habitat destruction. Jaguars are powerful animals that weigh between 120 to 300 lbs.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are examples of constructive and destructive forces?

    A:

    Some examples of destructive forces include erosion by water or wind, volcanic activity, earthquakes, the impact of glaciers and even animals' degradation of the environment. Silt and soil deposition, as well as volcanic lava flows, are examples of constructive forces.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore