Land fragmentation is the process by which land is divided into smaller portions to suit the need of the communities around and the parties involved. However, many biologists know that there are many possible effects related to the loss of habitat. Any time the habitat is fragmented; there is very serious impact on the land surface. The habitat is where animals live. The organisms also thrive in such enabling environments (Berry, 1999).
Whenever, the community changes the way they use land, species have difficulties because their habitat is destroyed. When the habitat is also destroyed or overused, organism have problems thriving, the diminishing nature of the habitat makes it further hard. The encroachment of the human population into these lands is one of the main worries of the lands administrators and botanists. Another notable degradation of the habitat is the urbanization trend in the current environment where people tend to build industries and malls
Hypothesis: Habitat fragmentation has negative impact on forest food webs and the ecosystem
2. The team developed a computer model and fragmented the visual land into pieces in terms of 25%, 50% and 75% fragmented, respectively. Then the team introduced the species into the land in turn and made their observations.
The species were affected by the habitat fragmentation, the Spiny fire grass (SFG) were destroyed in the process of fragmentation and Blue bunch wheat flower (BBWF) were also affected because the thicket covering were removed s and they were exposed to the direct sunlight that destroyed them. Then population of the elks increased by 25% because they depend on the SFG as their main source of food. The population numbers of both Blue bunch wheat flower (BBWF) and SFG reduced.
However, when the wolves were introduced into the ecosystem, their population increased as they got ready food eating the elks. The population of the elks reduced while that of the wolves increased. Accordingly, the population of the SFG and that of the BBWF started increasing. Unfortunately, the elks diminished and the population of the wolves decreased
When the land was fragmented, the population of the BBWF and the SFG reduced, this has a domino effect on the overall population of the elks and the wolves, but with the reduction in the population of the wolves the population of the Look at your results table.
What were impacts of fragmentation on each species’ population numbers when all four were present?
Fragmentation had negative impact on the population of each species. For example, fragmentation reduced the sprouting area of the BBWF and the SFG; the plants could not grow beyond the fragmented area. Fragmentation affected the elks negatively. In addition, the wolves were affected because the elks were moved to other fragmentation therefore they had less elks to eat. They starved and died (Brooks, 2000).
Do you accept or reject your hypothesis?
I accept the hypothesis because the ecosystem was self-sustaining; however, fragmentation interfered with a stable and self-perpetuating environment. If the SFG and the BBWF were not cleared, the elks would still have something to eat on and the wolves would have the elks to eat
3. Did you observe any thresholds of fragmentation beyond which a species’ population number rapidly declined?
Did the effects of any such threshold on one species cascade through the community to affect other species
The population of the wolves increased, thereby increasing competition for elks, when the population of the elks reduced drastically. The wolves starved to death.
4. What were the impacts of competition on each species?
Fragmentation reduced the sprouting area of the BBWF and the SFG, the plants could not grow beyond the fragmented area. On the other hand, the elks were negatively affected as the fragmentation reduced the grazing areas. Moreover, the wolves were affected because the elk’s were moved to other fragmentation therefore they had less elks to eat. They starved and died
How did the addition of BBWF, elk and wolves affect the populations of the other species?
The addition of the se species reduced the population of the BBWF and the SFG
5. Which species appear to benefit from increasing fragmentation? Which species are negatively impacted?
6. The species that were impacted by fragmentation were the elks and the SFG
When the land was fragmented, the elks fed on the SFG but could not feed on the BBWF, however, the community of the wolves increased and fed on the elks
7. How do your findings relate to relevant theories in environmental science? Specifically:
a. Do your results indicate that any of the species are keystone species?
Do they support the theory of bottom-up or top-down control of population dynamics in ecosystems?
Explain: the bottom up control of the population is supported because the wolves could, only be eliminated by eliminating the SFG
b. How do deforestation and urban sprawl affect the greater food web?
Deforestation destroys the keystone that established the support for the ecosystem
Do your results support idea that trophic cascades occur in nature
Explain. The tropic cascades occur in nature by virtue of the interdependence between the food chains.
The food chain is highly interconnected therefore, if one part of the food web is destroyed, the whole system is affected.
a. Does your results and the readings how might the environmental impacts of deforestation and sprawl affect the human community of Pinchot
If the land is cleared, the plants are also destroyed and the elks would die without food and the wolves would die without elk meat
Conclusions and Management Recommendations
The Pinchot shoulder consider the 75% fragmentation so that all the species can be supported in the system
Brooks M., (2000). Competition between Alien Annual Grasses and native; Annual Plants in the
Mojave Desert Am. Midl: Nat, 144: 92–108
Berry K., (1999). Ecology and management of alien annual plants in the CalEPPC News: California Exotic Pest Plant Council, 7(3/4): 4 – 6.