Major Component Of Sustainability And Its Effects On The Environment

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Biodiversity is major component of sustainability, and it is defined as the “variety of genes, organisms, species, and ecosystems” in a given area or on the planet as a whole (Miller and Spoolman 2015, 5). Urban spaces typically lack biodiversity due to a variety of factors that cause the destruction of ecosystems, such as replacing established ecosystems with large lawns, parking lots, buildings, and highways. When these well-established, high-functioning ecosystems are disturbed, we eliminate the variety of genes, organisms, and species that lived in that ecosystem. In doing so, we have caused stress for the organisms that live there. For example, if we fragment an ecosystem via highway or road expansion, at a minimum we are permanently altering the breeding and feeding relationships that existed in that ecosystem. In terms of breeding, highway construction separates organisms of the same species and keeps them from mating. This results in fewer genes being exchanged between organisms. Those genes could potentially be what saves a species from extinction in the event of a disaster, such as a forest fire or flood. In addition, highways also disrupt energy flow patterns which provide ecosystem services like a natural form of population control. In accordance with that, the extinction of even a single species can cause a rapid decline in a variety of organisms in that same ecosystem. This is due to the fact that many organisms within an ecosystem have co-evolved, meaning
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