• Reduction or loss of plant and animal species is called Biodiversity depletion.• The cause for biodiversity depletion may be man made or natural.• Natural causes include floods, earthquakes, landslides, diseases etc.• Man made causes are called Anthropocentric causes. Some of the anthropocentric causes for biodiversity depletion are as follows:
Urbanization: It refers to the process of increased concentration of human population in large cities. Increased human population has put a great strain on agricultural land and forest. Clearing of forests and conversion of agricultural lands for human habituation has a direct impact on biodiversity as it destroys natural habitat eliminating important plant and animal species.
Expansion of Agriculture: It refers to large scale expansion of land surface for crop production. To meet the food demands of increasing human population, natural habitats like forest and grasslands are encroached and converted into agricultural fields causing loss of natural habitat.
Deforestation: It refers to destruction or removal of forests. As a part of development to meet the demands of human society, forests are regularly cleared for human settlement, grazing grounds, industries, agriculture, construction of dams and roads etc. Deforestation make huge land area barren and unproductive resulting in biodiversity depletion.
Pollution: Any undesirable change in the natural qualities of environment due to addition of physical, chemical and biological factors is called as pollution. The factors that contribute to pollution are called pollutants. Pollution of air, water and soil has a direct or indirect impact on the human, animal and plant life. Pollutants like pesticides, radioactive material, SO2, oxides of nitrogen, heavy metals, chlorofluorocarbon, chlorofluoromethane, silt and sewage etc., have become a cause for elimination many sensitive life forms.
Acidification of Soil and Water: It refers to decrease in pH of soil and water. Generally most of the soil and water are found to be slightly alkaline or neutral. Human activities like excessive use of nitrogen based chemical fertilizers, acid rain due to SO2 and Oxides of Nitrogen pollution cause acidification of soil and water. Many plant and animal species are sensitive to acidic condition and such species are eliminated from the habitat causing biodiversity depletion.
Mining Activity: Mining is the process of excavating non-renewable resources like coal and minerals from the earth. Surface mining or Open pit mining activity has direct impact on the fauna and flora of the area and also causes environmental pollution. Also to store mined material and to dump the residue left after extracting the ore requires huge land area. Thus mining has a worst impact on the environment and it biodiversity.
Desertification: Desertification is the process leading to desert formation. Deforestation and overgrazing brings about marked changes in the climate of the area like changes in rainfall, temperature and wind velocity causing soil erosion and increased dust particles in the atmosphere. This causes desertification. As a result critical habitat for fauna and flora will be lost.
Loss of Soil fertility: Top soil is fertile soil as it is rich in humus and mineral. It supports rich soil biodiversity. Soil erosion, intensive agriculture, continuous monocrop cultivation, disposal of solid wastes, pesticides, indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers are some of the common causes for loss of soil fertility. The process of removal of top fertile soil is called soil erosion. Deforestation, over grazing of animals, unscientific agricultural practices, landslides, heavy wind and floods are the common causes of soil erosion. These changes can eliminate many plants species and microorganisms.
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