Habitat preservation is a fairly vague term that often leaves people wondering exactly what it entails. What is a habitat, exactly? And why is preserving one so important? Can’t we just preserve nature in a piecemeal fashion and still be OK? In response to the first question, a habitat is an environment area that is inhabited by specific species of plants and animals. In other words, it is an ecosystem, where specific plants and animals live because the conditions there are conducive to their survival. Over time, the animals and plants evolve to rely on one another. In response to the second question, habitat preservation is important because much like animals and plants depend on a habitat, different habitats depend on one another. Everything on planet earth is interconnected, and if one habitat crumbles, the habitats surrounding it eventually will do the same. And in response to the third question, the answer is no. Since habitats rely on one another, saving nature in small pieces only helps to slow down environmental degradation. If all of the areas surrounding a habitat have succumbed to environmental degradation, eventually that area will as well.
The answer to the second question, “why is preserving a habitat so important?”, should be expanded on. Think of a very common environmental debate: dams. For years now, companies, organizations, and people have fought against the construction of dams. Although dams provide a great energy resource, they also cause significant environmental damage. Although a dam only exists in one habitat, its impact reach far into other ones. The first aspect that will highlight this are the species that rely on the river. Dams can disrupt fish that swim in the river that is being dammed, in some cases even keeping them from getting upstream. So the fish, which are traveling downstream, from one habitat to another, now get stopped in one habitat. This has dire consequences for the rest of the habitats downstream. All of the plants and species, like bears, that depend on the fish getting downstream now no longer have any food. Many plant species depend on the fecal matter from the fish to provide nitrogen to the soil. The dam, which was only place in one ecosystem, now has caused problems for several others.
This is why issues like wildlife preservation are so crucial. It may only seem like a small problem when one species goes extinct because of human contact, but this has a huge impact on all of the other species in that habitat. And that habitat has a huge impact on all of the other habitats. Issues like land preservation are essential, because they protect habitats and wildlife, and keep the delicate balance of nature intact. Protecting habitats is important because people also rely on them. Although the dam may not seem like it has an impact on you because it is hundreds of miles away, because it impacts the habitats there, you can be sure that it is also impacting your environment. People know too little about the long term impacts of habitat destruction to their livelihood to continue doing it at such extremes.