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Explain the Human Impact on Local and Global Biodiversity

In this worksheet, students will define biodiversity, explain the importance of stabilising ecosystems, explore how humans have negatively impacted global environments, and explore the benefits and challenges of maintaining biodiversity.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Every ecosystem is bursting with life!

 

Reminder: An environment is where beings live, but an ecosystem describes living things interacting with non-living things!

 

 

Everywhere you look, you can see a community of different species sharing a habitat and relying on each other for resources to survive.

 

This is called biodiversity: when many different species live together in an ecosystem- this includes plants too!

 

The higher the biodiversity, the more types of species coexist and the more stable the ecosystem.

 

If an ecosystem wants to be healthy, it needs the following:

 

FOOD + SHELTER + a HEALTHY AND SAFE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT= A STABLE ECOSYSTEM

 

As the Earth is one large ecosystem, this applies to us too, meaning human survival depends on protecting our environment so it stays stable!

 

So let’s put all these pieces together:

 

 

The smallest change to one creature can affect everyone, like in a food chain, so preserving nature is a key responsibility among humans.

 

But, while environmental awareness is increasing, humans have already damaged the world in 3 major ways:

 

 

 

Deforestation provides land for farming and housing, but fewer trees mean fewer habitats and less carbon dioxide gas being absorbed from the atmosphere, destabilising the planet.

 

Next, the increasing population is stressing biodiversity, as more people means more waste, and unfortunately, humans are not very good at managing their rubbish!

 

Sewage and fertilisers have dirtied our water, toxic gases and smoke are causing air pollution and landfills are damaging land along with toxic chemicals.

 

And the one we’re all feeling- global warming! More CO2 and methane in the atmosphere is heating the planet through the greenhouse effect. The hotter the planet gets, the more biodiversity suffers- just think about the polar bears!

 

We are getting better at helping the planet, but money, the rearrangement and potential loss of jobs, and the increasing population needing housing developments are all barriers to global improvement.

 

So in summary:

 

COSTS + UNEMPLOYMENT + DEVELOPMENTS= BARRIERS TO CHANGE

 

 

It is not all bad news though, as Ecotourism has been successful in helping to restabilise ecosystems by minimising the effect of tourists on biodiversity.

 

The big bonus is that it’s sustainable, meaning it can replace resources as fast as it uses them!

 

Ecotourism involves reducing exploitation and strives to make any future developments useful for natives as well as tourists.

 

Now click next to have a go at answering some questions on biodiversity!

Read the scenario below and then complete the table.

 

 

'Sophie walks by a buttercup field where she sees lots of wildflowers.

She decides to pick ALL the poppies, daisies, and bluebells that she sees.

As she leaves, Sophie sees that the only flowers she hasn’t picked are the buttercups.

But as she goes back to pick some, she sees that in the distance there are some woodcutters felling trees, and so decides to leave before picking any more flowers to get to safety.’

 

Look at the statements and actions below and indicate if biodiversity is high or low:

Different species in the same ecosystem depend on each other for the same 3 essentials to survive:

True or False:

 

'If biodiversity does not increase rapidly, more ecosystems will destabilise and the human race could be in danger of extinction'

Explain the process of global warming.

Put the events below in consecutive order, starting with the first 

 

Column A

Column B

1. More
Carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere
2. More
Burning of fossil fuels
3. More
Heat is felt across the globe
4. More
Sunrays penetrate the atmosphere
5. More
International consequences of the greenhouse effec...

In what ways does deforestation damage the planet?

Reduces habitats

More land for biofuels

Less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere

More fossil fuels burning

Ruining landscapes causing emigration to more attractive areas

Fill in the blanks below:

Reduces habitats

More land for biofuels

Less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere

More fossil fuels burning

Ruining landscapes causing emigration to more attractive areas

Indicate which of the options below are challenges to tackling reduced biodiversity.

[Write YES or NO in the boxes below]

Reduces habitats

More land for biofuels

Less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere

More fossil fuels burning

Ruining landscapes causing emigration to more attractive areas

FIll in the blank below:

Reduces habitats

More land for biofuels

Less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere

More fossil fuels burning

Ruining landscapes causing emigration to more attractive areas

In Ecotourism, allowing locals to have a say in how their environment is affected by tourism reduces what?

Biodiversity is defined as:

[Choose ONE option below]

a variety of natural environments

many different species living together as a community in the same physical environment

the number of species on the planet

the different characteristics of individuals in the same species

  • Question 1

Read the scenario below and then complete the table.

 

 

'Sophie walks by a buttercup field where she sees lots of wildflowers.

She decides to pick ALL the poppies, daisies, and bluebells that she sees.

As she leaves, Sophie sees that the only flowers she hasn’t picked are the buttercups.

But as she goes back to pick some, she sees that in the distance there are some woodcutters felling trees, and so decides to leave before picking any more flowers to get to safety.’

 

Look at the statements and actions below and indicate if biodiversity is high or low:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This question is a good test of your time management skills and making you aware of how long you naturally take when you're faced with bigger mark questions. So let's run through it: High biodiversity is maintained when there are many different types of species living together, not only lots of members of one species! That's why many different species together increase biodiversity, but Sophie leaving lots of flowers of the same species does not improve biodiversity. Also, deforestation has a catastrophic effect on organisms and their habitats, leading to reduced biodiversity. Well done on this topic, and hopefully you now feel much more confident answering questions on biodiversity!
  • Question 2

Different species in the same ecosystem depend on each other for the same 3 essentials to survive:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on? The key here was remembering the mini-equation we discussed before, outlining that coexisting species in an ecosystem need each other for food, shelter and sustaining the shared natural environment. One example would be to imagine predators needing prey to hunt for food in the food chain! You need to be comfortable explaining that if one species damages any of these key factors for survival, many negatives effects would be felt across multiple species, including the risk of extinction.
  • Question 3

True or False:

 

'If biodiversity does not increase rapidly, more ecosystems will destabilise and the human race could be in danger of extinction'

CORRECT ANSWER
TRUE
EDDIE SAYS
This is a key concept so I hope you managed to understand why the statement is true! Human survival is at risk if the environmental damage to our planet is not repaired quickly, as the reduced biodiversity internationally has led to the Earth becoming unstable. We can all see and feel this through things like global warming- haven't you noticed how much hotter our summers are getting?
  • Question 4

Explain the process of global warming.

Put the events below in consecutive order, starting with the first 

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

1. More
Burning of fossil fuels
2. More
Carbon dioxide and methane in the...
3. More
Sunrays penetrate the atmosphere
4. More
Heat is felt across the globe
5. More
International consequences of the...
EDDIE SAYS
So this question is bringing in a lot more detail, but you could get a 4 marker asking you to explain global warming and these kinds of statements are where the marks are! Global warming is one of the major ways humans have dangerously damaged our planet to a potentially irreversible extent. More unrenewable fossil fuels like wood and coal being burned means more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which damages the ozone layer that keeps out the sun's harmful UV rays. As the ozone is damaged, more sun rays get through our atmosphere and heat the world, leading to the greenhouse effect being felt worldwide, for example with the polar ice caps melting and changes in the seasons. You don't need much more detail than this but this is definitely a question that would start getting you those top marks!
  • Question 5

In what ways does deforestation damage the planet?

CORRECT ANSWER
Reduces habitats
Less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere
More fossil fuels burning
EDDIE SAYS
I know it's starting to feel like a very negative topic but it's important to stress how vital it is to know the issues in biodiversity so we stay informed enough to tackle them! Deforestation reduces biodiversity and destabilises ecosystems on so many levels: 1. Fewer trees mean less carbon dioxide can be absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. 2. Fewer forests also mean more wood has been collected to burn as a fossil fuel, increasing the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. 3. Fewer trees also mean many woodland creatures and plants will be displaced and have to move or will die without food and shelter. Biofuels are a great alternative to fossil fuels, but clearing forests to make room for crop fields is the price to pay, which is quite controversial. If there's something here you don't remember learning or haven't seen before, jot it down to help your understanding and your revision later on!
  • Question 6

Fill in the blanks below:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you feel going into this question? The reasons behind reduced biodiversity are important to remember, so refer back to the diagram in the introduction if you're struggling to remember the answers needed here. But to recap: Improper waste management has led to sewage and fertilisers contaminating clean water resources, toxic gases and smoke have dirtied our air supplies and humans have caused land damage by creating landfills and not handling toxic chemicals thoughtfully, leading to reduced biodiversity globally.
  • Question 7

Indicate which of the options below are challenges to tackling reduced biodiversity.

[Write YES or NO in the boxes below]

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
So this question is asking you to recall a lot more information but it's manageable if we just remember the revision equation we saw in the introduction that summarised the barriers to improving the planet. There are multiple barriers stopping environmental issues from being fixed across the world: - Governments worry about the cost - In an attempt to help ecosystems, by for example reducing deforestation, many locals could be left unemployed - The human population is growing rapidly, and all these people need homes, but this means natural environments with their own animals and plants are being destroyed to build on.
  • Question 8

FIll in the blank below:

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This should be a slightly easier one, but still a key learning point to take away. Ecotourism is a SUSTAINABLE global attempt at reducing the impact of travelling on undisturbed worldwide environments. Sustainable is not the same as long-term though it's understandable why these terms might go hand in hand. Here's how to see it: Sustainable means replacing resources as fast as you use them, and as this helps to maintain materials, it makes this measure a long-term solution that can be continued easily, which is the opposite of fossil fuels.
  • Question 9

In Ecotourism, allowing locals to have a say in how their environment is affected by tourism reduces what?

CORRECT ANSWER
EXPLOITATION
BEING EXPLOITED
BEING USED
EDDIE SAYS
So here we're examining one of the pros of Ecotourism- did you get it? Ecotourism reduces the exploitation of natives by allowing them to be included in decisions about any new developments or changes for tourists in their communities.
  • Question 10

Biodiversity is defined as:

[Choose ONE option below]

CORRECT ANSWER
many different species living together as a community in the same physical environment
EDDIE SAYS
Did you feel confident answering this question? The definition of biodiversity is one of the most important things to take out of this topic: Biodiversity is a range of different species coexisting together using the resources in the same ecosystem, for example, the Earth! BUT REMEMBER that many members of one species is not biodiversity! It's not about the numbers of organisms, it's about how many different types there are!
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