How do humans change biomes?

1 Answer
Sep 11, 2016


Humans alter biomes in multiple ways.


Humans alter and impact biomes in multiple ways, depending on the biome in question. Note that there are multiple classifications of biomes, but let's look at the tundra for our example.

While few humans live in the tundra compared to other biomes, humans are still changing this biome through anthropogenic climate change. Increasing temperatures are heavily felt towards the poles, which is where much of the tundra biome is located.

Areas with darker red have experienced higher temperatures than normal:

Tundra biome:

Higher temperatures leads to longer growing seasons, less permafrost, less snow, and more vegetation in areas that were previously covered in snow and ice. These changes will have cascading effects on the type, distribution, and abundance of the flora and fauna of this region.

If we look at any of the forest biomes, humans alter these biomes by deforestation, accidentally introducing invasive species, hunting animals, polluting rivers, spraying pesticides, allowing livestock to graze in forests, and so forth. These changes may be on a small scale, or they may be on a larger scale. For example, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been to the extent that the tropical biome in this area is smaller in absolute size because of humans.

Tropical rainforest biome: