• What is habitat loss?

    Natural habitats are the physical, chemical and biological systems that support living things. Habitat is lost and degraded when natural or anthropogenic activities damage and destroy habitat to such an extent that it is no longer capable of supporting the species and ecological communities that naturally occur there. It often results in the extinction of species and, as a result, the loss of biodiversity. For example, when a section of forest is cut down and replaced with farmland, the living places of hundreds of species may be eliminated. Habitat can be destroyed directly by many human activities, most of which involve the clearing of land for other uses such as agriculture, mining, logging, hydroelectric dams and urbanization. Habitat can also be destroyed indirectly by human activities such as pollution, fragmentation, climate change and the introduction of invasive species. Habitat destruction is ranked as the primary cause of species extinction worldwide (Pimm & Raven, 2000).

  • How important is this threat compared to others?

  • Why is it a threat to great apes?

  • Is habitat loss dangerous for all species in the same way?

Compiled and edited 2011 by Kay H. Farmer
Reviewed by Hjalmar Kuehl, Josephine Head and Neba Funwi-Gabga

  • References