The main difference between habitat change and habitat fragmentation is that the habitat change is the change in the local environmental conditions in which the organisms live whereas the habitat fragmentation is the loss of habitats by the division of large habitats. Furthermore, habitat change is also called habitat alteration while habitat fragmentation mainly occurs in large populations.
Habitat change and habitat fragmentation are two of the most serious causes for the current as well as the future declines of populations and species extinction.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Habitat Change
– Definition, Characteristics, Influence
2. What is Habitat Fragmentation
– Definition, Characteristics, Influence
3. What are the Similarities Between Habitat Change and Habitat Fragmentation
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Habitat Change and Habitat Fragmentation
– Comparison of Key Differences
Deforestation, Habitat Change, Habitat Fragmentation, Localized Ecosystems, Metapopulations
What is Habitat Change
Habitat change or habitat alteration is the change in the local environment of a particular organism. Sometimes, the change may not be permanent. However, it can adversely affect the function of the ecosystem. For example, the entrance of livestock to the ecosystems of amphibians can cause serious problems to the amphibians. Livestock can trample the aquatic vegetation; in streams, it can cause bank erosion. This will make the ecosystem not suitable for amphibians.
The major reason for the habitat change is the human modification of land surface on the earth for cultivation and obtaining resources. Today, deforestation has become the major reason for climate change.
What is Habitat Fragmentation
Habitat fragmentation is an effect of habitat destruction, which is the complete elimination of a localized ecosystem. Habitat destruction will primarily eliminate the populations of living organisms from the ecosystem. Secondarily, habitat fragmentation occurs isolating the remaining population. Many populations in a large geographical area occur in the form of metapopulations, which are a series of interconnected populations. The isolated metapopulations have a greater chance of extinction than metapopulations that are slightly linked.
Habitat fragmentation causes the loss of genetic diversity within the population, decreasing the ability of the population to respond to the changes in the environment.
Similarities Between Habitat Change and Habitat Fragmentation
- Habitat change and habitat fragmentation are two reasons for the decline of populations and their extinction.
- They a result of cultivation, urban development, expansion of transport network, recreational use, etc.
Difference Between Habitat Change and Habitat Fragmentation
Habitat change refers to the changes made to the environment that adversely affect ecosystem function while habitat fragmentation refers to a process by which large and contiguous habitats get divided into smaller, isolated patches of habitats. This explains the basic difference between habitat change and habitat fragmentation.
Furthermore, one main difference between habitat change and habitat fragmentation is that the habitat change is caused by the alteration of the conditions of a local ecosystem while habitat fragmentation is caused by the loss of connection among populations.
Another difference between habitat change and habitat fragmentation is the occrrence of both events. Habitat change can occur in both large and small populations while habitat fragmentation occurs in large populations.
Livestock invading the ecosystems of amphibians is an example of habitat change while isolation of population as a result of deforestation is an example of habitat fragmentation.
Habitat change is the alteration of the conditions of a particular ecosystem in such a way the organisms in that ecosystem find it difficult to live. On the other hand, habitat fragmentation is the isolation of small fragments of ecosystems along with the organisms that live in it. Both habitat change and habitat fragmentation cause declines in populations. The main difference between habitat change and habitat fragmentation is the type of changes that occur in the habitat.
1. “Habitat Destruction, Alteration and Fragmentation.” AmphibiaWeb, 7 May 2008, Available Here
1. “Hawaii turtle” By Brocken Inaglory – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Oil palm and rainforest fragment Borneo” By T. R. Shankar Raman – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia