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Understand the Human Impact on Local and Global Biodiversity

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Everywhere you look, you will see different creatures sharing a habitat as a community of different species.

This is biodiversity: when many different species live together in an environment.

 

High biodiversity means there are many different species in the same place.

 

Image of a coral reef   

 

Low biodiversity means there are only a few types of different species, although there could be many members of one group.  

 

   Image of angel fish in a coralreef     

 

Biodiversity is relevant not only to animals but applies to plants too!

 

Two different fields - one with great biodiversity and one with none

 

As biodiversity decreases, ecosystems become less stable. This is because all organisms rely on each other for the basics of survival (food, shelter, and a thriving environment).

 

So, let's pull this all together:

 

Flow chart to show the importance of biodiversity

 

Human survival depends on protecting our environment -  the Earth itself is a large ecosystem! We need to keep it stable so that we have enough food, shelter and a healthy environment in which to live. 

 

The smallest change to one creature can affect all the other creatures around them (think about a food chain), so preserving nature should be a key responsibility for humans.   

 

However, humans have already damaged the world heavily in three major ways:

 

Image of how humans have adversely impacted our environment

 

But there is some good news! There are environmental initiatives in place to help protect our world. 

 

A good example is ecotourism, where the effect of humans visiting natural habitats is minimised. 

 

It's so important that we think about how we look after our planet!

 

Let's get started on some questions now.

Match the descriptions below to define biodiversity, habitat and ecosystem.

Column A

Column B

Habitat
The variety of organisms in a particular area
Ecosystem
The part of the environment where a plant or anima...
Biodiversity
A community of living organisms and how they inte...

Match the terms below.

Column A

Column B

High biodiversity creates
an unstable ecosystem
Low biodiversity creates
a stable ecosystem

Is it true or false that different species in the same ecosystem need each other for food, shelter and protection?

 

Write true or false.

In what ways do humans damage ecosystems?

Farming

Waste management

Deforestation

Driving

Global warming

Water pollution, air pollution and land damage are examples of which type of human contamination?

Global warming

Deforestation

Poor waste management

What type of pollution is being referred to in the sentence below?

The leakage of fertilisers can cause WATER/ AIR/ LAND pollution.

The picture below shows an ecosystem.

 

Select all of the answers below that are relevant to this picture.

 

Which of the examples below are possible obstacles to tackling the problem of reduced biodiversity?

Money

Jobs

Paperwork

Human rights

Housing

What is an example of a successful global program that helps protect the environment from being too affected by humans wishing to travel?

The image below is an example of different species depending on one another for food. 

 

A simple food chain

 

A change to one species can have a ripple effect across the whole ecosystem, but some changes are more devastating than others. 
 

In the table below, select which animals would be affected negatively if the indicated species were removed from this ecosystem.

 

  • Question 1

Match the descriptions below to define biodiversity, habitat and ecosystem.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Habitat
The part of the environment where...
Ecosystem
A community of living organisms a...
Biodiversity
The variety of organisms in a par...
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on? It is important that you understand the difference between these related terms. An ecosystem is made up of the habitats of different animals and plants, so there is a close link there. Biodiversity is all about a range of different species coexisting together and sharing resources in the same habitat, for example, a forest, the ocean or indeed, the Earth! The higher the biodiversity in an ecosystem, the healthier it is.
  • Question 2

Match the terms below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

High biodiversity creates
a stable ecosystem
Low biodiversity creates
an unstable ecosystem
EDDIE SAYS
Did you feel confident answering this question? This concept is the most important one you will take away from this topic, so maybe write down this explanation if you are still a little unsure. The point is that the more species that share the same home, the more food sources and places of shelter will be available. So, high biodiversity leads to a stable ecosystem - if we reduce the biodiversity, there is less food available and groups of animals will start to suffer.
  • Question 3

Is it true or false that different species in the same ecosystem need each other for food, shelter and protection?

 

Write true or false.

CORRECT ANSWER
False
EDDIE SAYS
Oops, did you write true? It was a bit of a trick question here, so don't worry if you got it wrong! The answer was false because, although coexisting species in an ecosystem need each other for food and shelter, they don't always rely on each other for protection. If you think about the food chain, different animals hunt one another to survive, so this is why the answer has to be false. Different animals do not protect one another - think about the fox and the rabbit! If one species damages any of these key factors for survival, many negative effects would be felt across multiple species, including the risk of extinction.
  • Question 4

In what ways do humans damage ecosystems?

CORRECT ANSWER
Farming
Waste management
Deforestation
Driving
Global warming
EDDIE SAYS
This was a trick question because, yes, you've guessed it, they were all correct! Humans make a huge impact on ecosystems simply by living there! Virtually everything that we do causes some form of damage to the ecosystems we live in. Over hundreds of years, humans have used the Earth for their own benefit and, consequently, the environment is now globally damaged, needing urgent repair. Humans have created some of the most widespread problems, including deforestation, poor waste management and global warming. So, surely, it's up to us to try to solve the problems too?
  • Question 5

Water pollution, air pollution and land damage are examples of which type of human contamination?

CORRECT ANSWER
Poor waste management
EDDIE SAYS
Human contamination largely involves air pollution, water pollution and land damage. Improper waste management can damage many naturally clean sources of nutrition and shelter, reducing biodiversity as fewer species are able to survive the deteriorating conditions.
  • Question 6

What type of pollution is being referred to in the sentence below?

CORRECT ANSWER
The leakage of fertilisers can cause WATER/ AIR/ LAND pollution.
EDDIE SAYS
Improper disposal of waste materials is one of the most harmful human actions against biodiversity. A key example of this would be the leakage of fertilisers from farming into clean water sources, such as rivers and lakes. Another example of humans creating water pollution is sewage, which contaminates natural sources of water.
  • Question 7

The picture below shows an ecosystem.

 

Select all of the answers below that are relevant to this picture.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The questions are starting to ask a little more from you now, but it should still be manageable. If not, don't worry, you just need a little more practice! The picture shows a forest being cleared, most likely for development or farming. This is an example of deforestation, one of the three main ways that humans damage the environment. Deforestation reduces biodiversity and, therefore, creates an unstable environment. If the wood that was collected was burnt, this would contribute towards global warming, however, that is not shown in this picture, so this is not correct.
  • Question 8

Which of the examples below are possible obstacles to tackling the problem of reduced biodiversity?

CORRECT ANSWER
Money
Jobs
Housing
EDDIE SAYS
There are multiple barriers stopping environmental issues from being fixed across the world. Often, governments worry about the cost of sorting out the mess that's been created. People's jobs could be at risk too. In an attempt to help ecosystems by reducing deforestation, many locals could be left unemployed. The human population is growing rapidly, and all these people need somewhere to live, but this means that natural environments, with their own animals and plants, are being destroyed in order to create houses for humans to live in. It may look like a clear cut issue, but there are many challenges in the way of protecting our world.
  • Question 9

What is an example of a successful global program that helps protect the environment from being too affected by humans wishing to travel?

CORRECT ANSWER
Ecotourism
Sustainable ecotourism
EDDIE SAYS
Ecotourism is a sustainable global attempt at reducing the impact of travelling on undisturbed worldwide environments. Often, people who are travelling are prepared to pay a little more for their holiday in order to fund important environmental work to reduce the impact of their own visit to a sensitive area.
  • Question 10

The image below is an example of different species depending on one another for food. 

 

A simple food chain

 

A change to one species can have a ripple effect across the whole ecosystem, but some changes are more devastating than others. 
 

In the table below, select which animals would be affected negatively if the indicated species were removed from this ecosystem.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
With the steady increase in difficulty, hopefully by this question you should feel more confident applying your understanding of biodiversity. There is great interdependence among species in the same habitat as food sources. If there were no grass, the rabbits would have no food and would die and so, as a result, would the fox. If the rabbit were removed, there would be more grass, but the fox would have no food and would die. If the fox were removed, the rabbits and grass would continue undisturbed, and the effect would not be drastic. However, in the long term, if there were no predators at all to eat the rabbits, they would breed uncontrollably until there would be insufficient grass to feed them all, leading to unhealthy, starving rabbits. Nature would eventually restore the balance by reducing the population of rabbits through disease. So you can see that changes to one species can affect many others, showing the importance of having many varieties of animals to provide plenty of resources. Well done on this topic. Have a go at jotting down the explanations or reviewing the Introduction if you still feel a little unsure!
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