Monday, June 13, 2011

How does human activity affect Earth's ecosystems?

Humans, or to be more precise human activity, is the main reason for severe ongoing changes in many of Earth's ecosystems. This is not only because of the ever-growing climate change impact but also because human population is constantly growing, expanding into new areas and changing native ecosystems, sometimes even to the point of no recognition.

Biodiversity loss is higher than ever before and the mass extinction of species certainly looks like a very real threat. And science is still not able to give us the exact answer to the question about the connection between species loss and the future look of earth's ecosystems.

Many species will in years to come likely go extinct while some other (particularly invasive species) will no doubt expand their range not only as a result of humans introducing these species to new environment(s) but also because some of these species will actually benefit from ongoing climate change and other environmental issues.

In order to fully understand the complexity of this issue scientists not only need to study the consequences of losing native species in an ecosystem but they also need to learn the consequences of adding new species.

Species loss and species gain occur in most cases parallel so scientists need to study both of these phenomenons in order to get the most accurate results. The main emphasis should be put on human activity, particularly answering the question how human activity influences production of Earth's ecosystems and are these ecosystems still able to perform their valuable tasks such as for instance storing carbon (forests, oceans).

Invasive species are spreading throughout the globe just like the humans are, constantly expanding their living area and shrinking the habitats of many plants and animals.

The knowledge about the ongoing changes in many Earth's ecosystems is still limited because many studies have been conducted in controlled environment which means that these studies have forgot the fact that species do not disappear from ecosystems by chance.

World certainly needs to enhance its knowledge about ecosystems and biodiversity as quickly as possible. Why? Because our future might depend on it.