When a species makes changes to its environment that alter the survival rates of that species and other species in the ecosystem, ecologists call that process “niche construction”. Niche constructions are physical modifications made to an environment which change the selective pressures on the inhabiting organisms. In turn, the survival rates of those organisms are influenced. Like most other organisms, humans are also niche constructing creatures.

Through agriculture, humans dramatically bring about shifts to naturally occurring ecosystems and the survival rates of lifeforms within them. Agriculture does not benefit any other species a much as it benefits humans. In fact, many species suffer directly or indirectly because of modern agriculture practices. Though not all changes in survival rates are necessarily negative, cases of biodiversity loss almost always are. Losses in biodiversity are correlated with extinctions- extinctions are negative because they limit the amount of resources available to other animals, plants and humans; this includes food, textiles and energy.

Habitat Loss and Degradation

The preeminent cause of species endangerment and extinction is habitat loss, which agricultural expansion is responsible for. To meet the demands for growing human populations agricultural production has gradually been increasing internationally, resulting in more forest clearing. Forest clearing, also known as deforestation, is executed by farmers and loggers to make more space for agriculture plots. The loss of forests destroys the habitats for resident organisms that depend on the plants and soil for resources.

rock and plants near stream

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