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How Might Habitat Loss/Change Create New Opportunities for Some Species as Well?

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It is identified as a main threat to 85% of all species described in the IUCN's Red List (those species officially classified as "Threatened" and "Endangered").Increasing food production is a major agent for the conversion of natural habitat into agricultural land. Why is it happening? Forest loss and degradation is mostly caused by the expansion of agricultural land, intensive harvesting of timber, wood for fuel and other forest products, as well as overgrazing.

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Not all biomes or nations are experiencing rapid habitat loss. North America, Europe, and China are characterized by declining or stabilizing trends, and in the Mediterranean and temperate mixed forest, the rate of loss has leveled since 1950 because most of the arable land had already been converted. There is concern, however, that as the human population continues to expand, increased demand for natural resources may reverse this trend. New technologies are now enabling humans to explore (and transform) previously inaccessible or unusable ecosystems, including the polar seafloor. Management interventions, such as protection in reserves and tighter regulations on drivers of change like pollution or land conversion, are generally attributed to shielding both land and aquatic species from major changes in habitat

The majority of international and national policies aiming to preserve biodiversity also now include recommendations or incentives for curbing habitat loss. Since habitat loss is often caused by the confluence of several drivers, methods to stabilize or reduce problems can take on a variety of forms, including instituting local policies, skills training, economic penalties, and the establishment of protected areas.

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Changes in biodiversity are also evaluated with regards to the four scenarios. This is analyzed in chapter ten of the book where the scenarios are examined to determine how biodiversity will change in the future and what actions we can incorporate to maintain the ecological system (Carpenter, 2005). To add on, Hanna et al’s (2002) journal covers the aspect of conservation strategies for an ecosystem and the role climate change plays in these strategies. It provides an outlook of how climate change research has potential in providing effective improvements in the conservation strategies. The journal focuses on biodiversity areas around the world that have a high vulnerability to climate change conditions as well as challenges that affect conservation efforts in these areas. The tools that are used for climatology, ecology and biogeography purposes are also evaluated in this paper. The paper highlights the fact that collaboration efforts across all industries and professions are important to ensure the proper planning of conservation activities to respond to climate changes. Willis & Bhagwat (2009) on the other hand focus on several models that have been developed in the past to forecast the effects of climatic changes on biodiversity and ecosystems. Their article analyses the results of the models which have shown some alarming results on the consequences of climatic changes on biodiversity.

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As has been noted, the projections of anticipated changes will allow many opportunities to tailor the restoration strategies to steer the future delta to a desirable state and to include flexibility and wide tolerances in the design of water infrastructure and ecosystem rehabilitation. Some of the primary challenges include, but are not limited to, habitat loss, climate change including sea level rise, and levee stability. In this chapter, we discuss the details and the potential implications of these challenges and opportunities.

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Aylward, B., (1991) The economic value of ecosystems: biological diversity.

Gatekeeper series 91-03. London: Environmental Economics Carpenter, S.R. (2005) Ecosystems and human well-being, Volume 2. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. Washington: Island Press

Hanna, L., Midgley, G.F., & Millar, D. (2002) Climate change integrated conservation strategies. Global Ecology and Biogeography. Vol. 11, No. 6. pp 485-495

Merrifield, J. (1996) A market approach to conserving biodiversity. Ecological Economics Vol. 16. pp. 217-226

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