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- One of the primary threats to biodiversity today are habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. Many species living in tropical forests, freshwater ecosystems, the marine environment, and seasonal drylands are at risk of extinction due to habitat loss.
- The theory of island biogeography and the species-area relationship can be used to predict the numbers of species that will go extinct due to habitat loss. Both theories predict that large habitat patches are better able to maintain wildlife populations because they accommodate populations better buffered against extinction.
- Habitat fragmentation describes the process when once large and widespread habitats (and hence wildlife populations) are divided into several increasingly smaller and isolated units. This process leads to extinctions because it impedes dispersal, colonisation, foraging, and reproduction.
- Edge effects reduce the functional size of habitats because they alter microclimates and expose habitat specialists to displacement by invasive species, predators, and other disturbances.
- Habitat loss and fragmentation are rooted in expanding human populations and excessive consumption of natural resources. The >IPAT equation illustrates how population size, wealth, and technology together determine our impact on the environment.