Environmental conservation refers to the practice through which people protect, preserve, manage, or restore natural resources and wildlife for their own benefit (Park, 2001). An example of environmental conservation includes the establishment of vegetation cover to avoid soil erosion and pollution. The world approaches environmental problems such as deforestation and pollution by enacting laws against environmental degradation (Silver et al., 2011). This discussion will consider the meaning and the difference between an ecosystem and habitat.
An ecosystem refers to a biological system that consists of all biotic components and the nonliving components such as minerals, sunlight, air, water, and soil, which enable living organisms to survive (Krebs, 2008). Examples of ecosystems include marine hydro ecosystem, desert ecosystem, fresh hydro ecosystem, savannah ecosystem, and rain forest ecosystem. A habitat refers to an environmental or ecological area in which plant or animal species inhabits. It comprises of biological factors and physical factors such as predators, food, temperature, moisture, light, just to mention a few. Examples of habitats include a forest, grassland, marshland, and ocean. Therefore, an ecosystem differs from a habitat because an ecosystem includes various plants and animal species while a habitat includes immediate surroundings of a single plant or animal species (Krebs, 2008).
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Park (2001) defines a biome as a significant global or regional community of plants, animals, and soil organism that occupies a major habitat. The prairies refer to grasslands in the North America, which contains course grasses, low shrubs, and scattered trees. Because of increased human population, man has burnt the grasses, and cleared shrubs and trees in the prairies as a preparation for establishing wheat plantations. The removal of vegetation cover exposes soil to agents of soil erosion, which is the major environmental impact. Because of the habitat loss, the Greater Prairie Chicken has become extinct or extremely rare (Krebs, 2008).
Habitat destruction hurts biodiversity because some animal and plant species can become extinct. Hunting and fishing can both help and hurt biodiversity. The removal of some animals from an ecosystem can reduce competition on the available resources. However, excessive fishing and hunting may lead to the extinction of some animal and fish species. Fishing and hunting represent commercial use of species. Human population growth hurts biodiversity because of pollution and the clearance of forests to expand farmlands. Use of predator and pest control reduces pollution but can lead to extinction of some plants and animals. Exotic plant species may consume natural resources at a higher rate than natural plant species do, which may hurt biodiversity (Stradling, 2004).