Habitat Destruction, Fragmentation, and Degradation:

This topic submitted by Lauren Reiter ( Reiterle@miamioh.edu) at 12:01 AM on 3/25/04.

Grunts are abundant at Molasses Reef, Key Largo, Florida.

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Rainforests have the greatest biodiversity of all habitats. Unfortunately, deforestation is a major environmental problem in Costa Rica. As tropical forests disappear, so do the plants and animals that rely on them. The ultimate consequence of habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation is extinction. However, the long-term result in the preservation of rainforests includes biodiversity resources, genetic variation, and pharmaceutical wealth.

Habitat Destruction, Fragmentation & Degradation:

• Habitat destruction
o Causes of deforestation
o Deforestation problems
• Land usage
o Land use change
 Clearing of land for cattle ranching
 Clearing of land for agriculture
o Desertification
o Land use
• Habitat fragmentation
o Edge effects
o Microclimatic changes
o Ecological effects
• Habitat degradation and pollution
o Use of pesticides in agriculture
o Air pollution
o Coastal marine pollution
o Soil erosion


Baker, Christopher P. Costa Rica: A Century of Travel Experience in Every
Guide. Washington: National Geographic Society, 2000.

“Costa Rica”. Encarta. CD-ROM.

Forsyth, Adrian, and Ken Miyata. Tropical Nature: Life and Death in the Rain
Forests of Central and South America. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.

Kricher, John. A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals,
Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. 2nd Ed. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 1997.

Molles, Manuel C, Jr. Ecology: Concepts and Applications. 1999. 2nd Ed. New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Quammen, David. The Song of the Dodo: Island Biogeography in an Age of
Extinctions. New York: Touchstone, 1996.

Rachowiecki, Rob. Costa Rica. 5th ed. Melbourne: Lonely Planet Publications,

Wilson, Edward O. “What is Nature Worth?” Annual Editions: Environment
03/04. Ed. John L. Allen. Guilford: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 2003.

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