How Changes in Land Use Can Impact an Ecosystem?
Change in land use is a common occurrence. Humans change the use of land from one to another. Mostly the lands are used by humans for their purposes. One such example is using forest land for agricultural use. Other uses might be mining and relaxation.
Climate will also cause a change in land use. The land-use change has been happening rapidly in the United States in recent years. Using the land for extracting oil and gas from underground has increased in the US.
A person can understand how changes in land use can impact an ecosystem by learning in detail about the land use and land cover. Technology plays an important part in affecting the environment through the changes in land use.
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How Has Human Land Use Impacted the Environment?
The usage of lands by man creates major effects. Some of them are listed below:
- Agricultural usage: Using the land for agricultural purposes will reduce the water quality. The soil will lose its fertility by overuse. The underground water will be in shortage, thus making it difficult to use water for other needs.
- The grazing activity done by cattle and other such animals will affect the condition of the land. Modern agriculture practices use a lot of pesticides for the effective growth of plants. This chemical usage will adversely affect the underground water and soil quality. Further, there will be the growth of unwanted and harmful plants by overgrazing and chemicals used for agricultural purposes.
- Some people cut down trees in the forest area to build huge industries and companies. Turning wild environments into residential areas will disturb the life cycle of wild animals. Many rare creatures and animals will be at risk of extinction. This aspect will affect the entire ecosystem. When one thinks about how has human land use impacted the environment, these are the common points.
- People building roads and parks on natural lands will affect underground water. The recharge of natural underground water will be altered and reduced over time. Water scarcity will occur due to such a change in land use. The hard surface built will cause to carry dirt in the drinking water and cause pollution to the environment.
Human Impacts on Land Use and The Environment
- Industries usually discharge wastewater and toxic fluids into the lakes and rivers. This practice will affect land quality. It will lead to causing soil erosion of good agricultural areas. Drinking water will also be impacted, and there are chances to spread many diseases. Small changes can create impacts on a global level. In the past three decades, the country of the United States has seen severe destruction of cropland. The cultivation land has been reduced by 75 million acres.
- Converting forests into commercial areas and farmlands will lead to deforestation. Deforestation will, in turn, produce a shortage for harvesting timber. The human impacts on land use and the environment can destroy the shelter for many organisms living in their habitat. There will be no food source for such animals, which will cause their death.
- Agricultural lands are also getting converted to urban lands. This urbanization will be economically helpful only for now. With the loss of farming lands, there will be no sufficient food production. It might even cause the death of many people from starvation and hunger in the future years.
- The carbon-dioxide gas has increased due to changing the use of forest lands. Trees will help in the effective conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen. There will be fresh air due to this. With the purification of air with healthy oxygen gas, there will be less pollution in the environment.
- An increase in greenhouse gasses will affect the global temperature. Global warming is a major threat in today’s world. The average temperature of the earth had considerably increased compared to earlier times. Global warming is indirectly the effect of changes in land use. High heat will indeed affect the huge icebergs to melt, which will cause floods. Volcano eruptions can occur if the situation continues. The land in the middle of the oceans will be affected, and it will cause tsunamis.
These are several environmental impacts of changes in land use. This helps us to understand how it can impact an ecosystem. Proper studies and data on such effects will help lower the harmful outcomes to the environment.
Impact of Land Use on the Environment
The impact on the natural environment is the hunting of wild animals. Some tribal people occupy the forest land. They often hunt animals that are huge in numbers. That is animals that have less chance of extinction. Though this is a small impact, it will add to the biodiversity loss. Forests are used for various purposes like harvesting rubber and wood for construction. Thus, continuous cutting down of trees will affect timber and paper production later.
Climate will be affected to a huge extent. Already the world is experiencing such changes in the weather. The cycle of seasons is losing the orderly change. Summer is longer in some places. Winter and snowfall are not occurring at the expected time at several locations. There is a drastic fall in temperature below zero degrees in other areas.
The rainfall is affected, which in turn will affect agriculture. The less rainfall will impact the plants dependent on that for normal growth.
The impact of land use on the environment has both advantages and disadvantages. The harmful consequences are on a larger scale. Some lands with green trees have completely turned into deserts. It is commonly called desertification. The same reason is a cause of less water for plant growth which will end in the death of plants. Insufficient or less rainfall plays a major part in desertification. Droughts are also a major threat. They will lead to large water scarcity. It won’t be easy to get water, even for an individual’s basic needs.
Humans have to reduce the usage of lands for their benefit. Using the resources without a proper check will lead to difficulties surviving for both the present and the future generations. Globally it will have a huge impact. All the natural disasters will often happen and destroy the lives of many animals and even people.
Elder people should explain how changes in land use can impact an ecosystem and make the younger generation understand the situation. However, no one can do anything to eliminate the land-use changes. As the world has developed and adapted to a modern environment, it has become essential to understand optimum utilization of resources.