What impacts do humans have on ecosystems?

1 Answer
Jan 17, 2018

The impacts human activities have on ecosystems is very diverse.


Multiple human activities (pollution, hydroelectric dams, urbanization, agriculture and others) can directly and indirectly affect ecosystems.

Loss of natural area and habitat is the most obvious and extensive way human activities impact ecosystems. By expanding agricultural, industrial, and residential construction and activity into natural areas, we remove natural land covers (forest, grassland, wetland, etc.) entirely and replace them with anthropogenic ones.

Many human activities decrease habitat connectivity and fragment ecosystems. Development, agriculture, construction of roads, natural resource extraction all typically fragment ecosystems.

Climate change causes multiple ecosystem effects, including rising sea levels, increased desertification, and so forth. Read more here. The image below describes some of the changes to corals and tidal marshes caused by climate change:


Resource extraction can degrade an ecosystem, creating enough disturbance to change species assemblages. Read about an example here.