These are the main threats to biodiversity around the world and here in Ireland. Very often large scale construction occurs in ‘fragile areas’, for example, wetland drainage and infilling. Habitat destruction changes the conditions needed for particular plants and animals to survive.
Invasive Non-Native Species
Species that are non-native to a particular area can sometimes spread very quickly, for example the zebra mussel and Japanese knotweed have spread rapidly in Ireland in the past two decades. As a result, these species can destabilise an ecosystem by altering habitats affecting food webs.
As you will remember from the Litter and Waste theme, pollution is always caused by humans. Pollution can have a huge impact, altering the balance within ecosystems, and is the cause of death for millions of animals and plants around the world every year.
Land Use Change/Increased Infrastructure Development
This is the alteration of natural areas by humans, for example, the clearing of huge areas of rainforest in South America for farming. In Ireland, upland open habitats, such as rough grassland, scrub and heath, have been changed by agriculture and afforestation.
Intensive Farming Practices
Extensive use and concentrations of chemical and/or biological pesticides and the removal of hedgerows are typical practices in modern-day intensive farming. Often large areas of land are planted with a single crop (monocultures) which greatly reduces the level of biodiversity in that area.
It is now widely accepted that the current global rate of change in climate is as a result of human activity. As global air or sea temperature changes, even by just 1 or 2 degrees, the habitats in which species live will also change and may even become uninhabitable to some species.