Impact of Introduced Species

invasive pigs

Invasive pigs

The term introduced species refers to the introduction of exotic or non-native species to an area foreign to them. Although some environmentalists might vouch for this introduction, yet in a broader perspective the impact of introduced species is serious. Environment and diversity of plant and animal life can be affected by the introduction of non-native species. The problem has to be dealt with care before it goes out of hand. Following are some of the problems that have arisen due to the introduction of non-native species:

  • Invasive species has led to the endangerment of nearly half the native species in America
  • The introduced species can change the habitat which in turn leads to the extinction of native species that thrive in the particular habitat
  • If the non native species do not bring a change in the habitat, they can otherwise lead entire groups or single species to endangerment.
  • There could be depletion in the food resources
  • Native species can be and have gone extinct due to the alteration of the gene pool by breeding with them.
  • The introduced species can lead to an invasive meltdown that is to trigger such destructive traits in the native species.

Examples of such impacts are as follows:

  • The American chestnut was virtually eliminated by the Asian chestnut blight fungus. This led to the extinction of ten species of moths that survived on these chestnut trees.
  • The paperback that replaced the native plants in South Florida are prone to fire and have certainly increased the fire frequency in the area. Many mammals and birds species have depleted due to the dependence on these plant communities.
  • The native bird species of the forests of Guam have been eliminated due to the predatory brown tree snake that had been introduced from the Admiralty Islands
  • Parasites have also led to the extinction of certain species of fishes.

Addressing the Problem

There have been ways that have been adopted to tackle the problem. Some of them have been beneficial while others have not been so successful. These ways are as follows:

  1. The most cost effective way to deal with the problems created by the introduction of species is by keeping the damaging invaders out of the way. This can be achieved by stopping the entry of invading species to the land.
  2. Eradication of foreign species in case the above method fails.
  3. Biological, mechanical and chemical control measures can be adopted to control the invasive species.
  4. Ecosystem management is the latest technology that is being used to manage invaders by the system of regular treatment of an entire ecosystem that favors the native species over the exotic invaders.
  5. Various government agencies have come up to address the problem jointly in a bid to manage invaders. Because increased travel and trade are also causes of the introduction of foreign species care has to be taken when pursuing such activities.

The global measures that are being taken are a step towards bringing an end to this invasion and protection of the native species and in turn the ecosystem.

Wildlife Chains of Extinction

earth

earth

The only planet that supports life in the universe is our planet, Earth. An important aspect of this planet is the existence of rich variety of natural resources like soil, water, forests and wildlife. These are valuable resources which need to be conserved in order to maintain the ecological balance in nature. On the contrary, human beings are encroaching upon these resources which have led to several detrimental effects on the environment. The ecological balance between living things is under threat. It is a matter of great concern as all organisms are dependent on each other. If any species of animal becomes extinct, this would in turn lead to chains of extinction.

A biological explanation as regards to ‘chains of extinction’ refers to species of animals that are interlinked with each other and are becoming extinct. When no single member of species is left to reproduce or create young ones of its own kind, extinction becomes certain. Here are few examples to show as to how all organisms are interrelated with each other. Insectivorous birds feed off many parasitic arthropods which are found on large herbivorous animals like hippopotamuses. So if hippo dies, the birds too will become extinct. This would further lead to destruction as the species that are dependent on the birds will also be adversely affected. Similarly insects help in pollination; birds eat insects and thereby prevent the spreading of plagues. Eventually everything that exists in nature is dependent and nothing can survive in isolation. If any of the species go missing, the whole chain will be broken and go out of control. So for a living thing to survive, it must allow other living things to survive. The result is a complete balance in nature.

There is an urgent need to manage and protect the wildlife and their habitat properly and wisely. If they disappear, human survival will be at stake. Already 97% of species that lived on Earth are now extinct. Among other species, dinosaurs, Bali tiger, Passenger pigeon, the golden toad are declared extinct due to hunting and habitat loss.

However some stringent steps are ought to be taken to deter people from hunting endangered birds and animals.

  1. Protect wildlife habitat- Over increasing population has led to a great demand for living space, fuel, wood etc. This has caused large deforestation. Deforestation and overgrazing result in soil erosion and desertification. Such practices have adverse effects on environment such as loss of habitat for wild animals. Destruction of habitat result in the extinction of species. By protecting the animal habitat, we are ensuring the survival of animals.
  2. One should learn about endangered species in their area and try to evoke their friends and family members towards the protection of wildlife, plants and birds that live around them. They should realize the importance and the indispensable services that are provided by them such as fresh air, medicinal plants, water and food.
  3. Minimize the use of herbicides and pesticides as they are harmful pollutants that get mixed in the soil and can affect the wildlife at many levels.
  4. Recycle and stop buying products made from threatened species. Buy recycled paper and cell phones. Stop buying furniture made of wood from the rain forests. Minimize the use of palm oil because the tiger habitats are being destroyed for palm plantation. Stop purchasing products made from fur of tigers, polar bears and other endangered wildlife.
  5. Stop hunting, shooting and trapping of animals.

By supporting or protecting the wildlife habitat, you are saving the very life on Earth.

Earth’s Rich Resource-Wildlife

Fish

Fish

Earth is the only planet in the universe rich in natural resources. The greatest resources of the earth are forests and wildlife. We are fortunate that we are a part of this beautiful world. Wildlife refers to plants, animals, birds and other living creatures in a natural habitat. Normally they are not domesticated and continue to exist on their own until they die and are replaced by their young ones.

If we look around the globe, there are continents that value the aesthetic qualities of wild life. South America is one of the richest in wildlife. It is a home to condors and rheas and has a vast variety of mammals, reptiles and snakes, anacondas being the most well known. Africa is home to elephants, hippopotamuses, rhinoceros and crocodiles. Australia is famous for its marsupials. North America has reindeer, arctic foxes and polar bears among other animals.

The existence of the natural ecosystem depends on the balance between natural vegetation, wildlife and human beings. Wildlife is the special aspect of the earth and therefore needs to be conserved. One needs to recognize the importance of conserving the wildlife; otherwise our future generations will be left with no resources to enjoy.

Since the past few years, people have been encroaching upon most natural regions. The ecological balance between living beings is under threat. It is their vanity and obscure beliefs that pose threat to wildlife. For example, people pay huge sums of money to get medicine prepared from tiger body parts. The false belief that these medicines reverse ageing is just threatening the tiger population in the world. Similarly, several species of wildlife have been declining due to this very reason.

The depletion of wildlife and natural habitat has resulted in excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, leading to global warming. Unless constructive steps to reverse global warming are taken, a large number of species will be included in the list of wildlife population that is on the brink of extinction. Other barriers like pollution, over hunting and deforestation should be overcome to save wildlife and natural habitat. However increasing human population is constantly putting pressure on forested areas endangering a large number of birds and animals.

It is a matter of great concern. It is time that people should understand the importance of these natural habitats and take steps to protect them. The World Wide Fund for nature (WWF) is an international organization which promotes the welfare and protection of wildlife especially the endangered species. The best methods and conservation science has been used by WWF to find the solution in order to save the marvelous creation on our planet. Many National Parks, Sanctuaries and Bioreserves have been set up to provide a safe home to wild animals where they can live safely and grow in number. It has not only helped to conserve biodiversity, restore ecological balance but has also helped to support people through livelihood opportunities. Already it has been successful in bringing back many species of animals from the verge of extinction.

Archives

  • June 2010
  • February 2010
  • Categories