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Free «Land Use in Pinchot» Essay Sample

One of the biggest threats to conservation of biodiversity is fragmentation of forest reserves. Forest fragmentation may lead to a complete loss or degradation of biodiversity which has intense impact on the ecosystem processes. Global trend has seen many forest reserved being fragmented to pave way for other development projects. The question that one would ask is what extent of fragmentation is appropriate for the environment to remain naturally sustainable. Developers have advocated for increased fragmentation citing that such efforts have less impact on the biodiversity. This may not be the truth since reduction in habitat greatly affects the population size, the richness and the abundance of habitat species which in turn the entire ecological process.  One of the profound impacts of fragmentation is the alteration of the habitat microclimate which makes it unsuitable for the survival of other species hence increasing mortality rate and eventual extinction of the species.  The entire ecosystem is sustained by symbiotic relationship between animals and plants. This implies that when species is threatened, the effect may be felt by every organism in the ecosystem; some in the negative way while others in the positive the objective of this project is to assert that fragmentation beyond 25% compromises the sustainability of the forest reserve.

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The method used to test the above hypothesis is computer model analysis. This process involves following a simulation process. To achieve the objective of analyzing the impact of forest fragmentation on the forest reserve, we came up with a computer model based on the population of animals and plants over decades.  Our observation depended on the data drawn from the archives of the Department of Fish & Wildlife and local land trusts. Our study was focused on four ecologically dependent species namely;Spiny firegrass(SFG),Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF), Elk, and wolves. Elk feeds on wheatflower(BBWF) and is eaten by wolves. While Elks likes location between forest and open air, wolves reside in intact forest.

We began the experiment with a zero fragmented forest.  We then added a portion of SFG into the ecosystem and record of the population size was taken. After a while, we again added a sample of WheatFlower(BBWF) into the same ecosystem and a record of the population size of BBWF and the new population size of SFG. We then added Elk to the ecosystem. A documentation of the Elk population size and the new population sizes for BBWF and SFG (as impacted by introduction of Elk) was taken.  Finally, we added wolves to the habitat. We recorded the population size of wolves and the new population sizes of SFG, BBWG and elk (as impacted by introduction of wolves). The fragmentation levels were adjusted by a margin of 25% from 25% to 75% while repeating the above procedure at each level of fragmentation and results recorded in a table.

This model integrated demographic data from the forest reserves of three nearby towns which has undergone fragmentation at the percentage of 25%, 50% and 75%.  We shall compare the impact of forest fragmentation on these four reserves with the main aim of establishing the sustainability of 25%, 50%, or 75% fragmentation with regard to maintaining forest diversity as well as ecosystem services. The objective of this project is to assert that fragmentation beyond 25% compromises the sustainability of the forest reserve.

Results

0% Fragmentation

Spiny Firegrass

 

Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF)

Elk

Wolves

1755

-

-

-

324

10749

-

-

1234

5221

4787

-

376

8778

2167

462

25% Fragmentation

Spiny Firegrass  

 

Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF)

Elk

Wolves

2957

-

-

-

641

9932

-

-

2115

4689

5861

-

906

7993

3488

416

50% Fragmentation

Spiny Firegrass

Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF)

Elk

Wolves

6922

-

-

-

5011

5743

-

-

5927

2414

7512

-

5416

4837

4668

235

75% Fragmentation

Spiny Firegrass

Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF)

Elk

Wolves

10989

-

-

-

8715

3241

-

-

10263

744

9666

-

10114

811

9337

5

When all the species were present and fragmentation increased, the population of Spiny Firegrass increased, Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF) reduced, the Elk increased in number, and the wolves reduced in number.

I strongly support the hypothesis that increased fragmentation exploits biodiversity. This is because high numbers of Elk and Spiny Firegrass in very harmful for human existence.

At 0% and 25% fragmentation, the population of Spiny Firegrass was relatively steady. However, when the percentage of fragmentation increased to 50% and 75% the population of Spiny Firegrass shot up to 5416 and 10114 respectively. Consequently, the population of Bluebunch wheatflower(BBWF) reduced as a result of being out-competed while the Population of Elk increased since the predators, wolves, were reduced due to destruction of forest reserve.

The addition of Bluebunch wheatflower (BBWF) reduced the population of Spiny Firegrass. The introduction of Elk reduced the population of Bluebunch wheatflower which in turn increased the population of Spiny Firegrass. The introduction of wolves reduced the number of Elk.

Spiny Firegrass seems to benefit from increased fragmentation since they prefer disturbed sites such as roadside and clearings. Elk also seems to benefit since they reside at the edge between clearings and forest. The species that is impacted negatively is the wolves. This is mainly because they reside in intact forest. Thus fragmentation destroys their habitat which in turn threatened their existence.

The results obtained tend to explore the natural selection phenomena. This phenomenon states only the fittest in the environment will survive while the less adapted will face extinction. From the data obtained, it is evident that the entire ecosystem is sustained by symbiotic relationship that starts from the bottom to up. The population of the plants dictates the population of herbivores and predators as well.

Deforestation and urban sprawl have detrimental effects to greater food web. Some animals will face reduction as a result of habitat destruction. Worse still, other organisms may go extinct. For instance, increased deforestation may lead to extinction of wolves whose habitat is intact forest. Secondly, increased deforestation increases instances of accidents such as wildfires to businesses as well as home.

Pinchott should only allow 25% fragmentation so as to ensure that the environment remains sustainable as well as preserving biodiversity. A little extent of development that allows preservation of biodiversity should be acceptable.

   

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