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Habitat Fragmentation

Habitat Fragmentation

Author: Jensen Morgan

Determine the possible outcomes of habitat fragmentation.

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Source: Earth PD Logging Road CC Natural Corridor CC Forest CC Cloud Forest CC

Video Transcription

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Hi. I'm Jensen Morgan. We're going to talk about some great concepts in environmental science. Today's topic is habitat fragmentation. So let's get started.

We're going to talk about habitat fragmentation, corridors, nature preserves, and restoration ecology. As humans develop land for various uses, there is significant habitat loss and environmental degradation. The result is that habitat is broken up into smaller and smaller isolated patches, which can have severe impacts on biodiversity.

It also increases the amount of edge habitat which is different from interior habitat. This leads to differences in the types of species that live in the interior and on the edges of habitats. Habitat fragmentation isolates species groups that were formally connected and reduces survival rates of species that need large areas to feed and mate. Species successful in edge habitats will increase in population size, while those that are successful in interior habitats will decline.

Habitat fragmentation tends to create sub-populations. Two notable types are sink and source populations. Sink populations are those that are too small to be able to survive without outside immigrants providing a large enough gene pool. Because of this, the likelihood of sink populations going extinct is high.

Source populations are those that tend to expand and populate areas like sink populations because they are large enough. The relationship between sub-populations, particularly source and sink populations, is important for the survival of all species. If too many populations become too small like sink populations, then all of a species might go extinct.

Attempts to mitigate habitat fragmentation are often in the form of corridors. Corridors are strips of habitat that connect patches of fragmented habitats. Movement corridors are those narrow strips which allow species movement between patches. While corridors can result unintentionally from human development, some have also been artificially created with the intent of preserving biodiversity.

Nature preserves our areas of land that have been determined of high ecological value and designated to be protected with little human disturbance. They tend to have high biodiversity and provide large areas of unfragmented habitats to facilitate the success of many animals that need large areas to hunt and thrive.

Restoration ecology is a scientific discipline that creates things like corridors and nature preserves in its study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and their interaction with environment, with the intent to determine ways to restore damaged or destroyed ecosystems. For example, tropical forests and their high biodiversity are being degraded and destroyed. Restoration ecologists are trying to help identify causes of destruction and determine which native species of plants can be planted to help tropical forests restore themselves to their natural state.

Now let's have a recap. We talked about habitat fragmentation, corridors, nature preserves, and restoration ecology. Well, that's all for this tutorial. I look forward to next time. Bye.