Land Use

Land is an important limited resource that humans use for many purposes, such as:

  • Housing
  • Farming
  • Quarrying
  • Waste disposal (landfill)

The problem is that the more land we use for human consumption, the more habitats we destroy in the process. For example, woodlands and lakes. Destroying these habitats reduces the biodiversity in many areas, which leads to many species becoming extinct.

Land useEffect
HousingClearing land for housing involves removing trees, plants, and other vegetation to make way for homes, apartments, and other types of housing. This can destroy natural habitats and disrupt the lives of the plants and animals that live there.

The destruction of habitats can lead to the loss of species, as they may no longer have a place to live and may be unable to find food and resources. As the human population grows, more land will be cleared for housing.
FarmingClearing land for farming involves removing vegetation to create fields and pastures for growing crops and raising livestock. This can lead to habitat destruction, as fields and pastures replace natural ecosystems.

Also, farming practices, such as the use of pesticides and fertilisers, can pollute the air, water, and soil, which can harm wildlife.
QuarryingQuarrying involves the extraction of natural resources from the ground, such as stone, limestone, sand, and gravel.

This process takes up a lot of space and can destroy natural habitats and disrupt the lives of the plants and animals that live there.
Waste disposal (landfill)Clearing land for waste disposal involves removing vegetation and preparing the land to receive waste, such as household garbage and industrial waste. This can lead to pollution of the air, water and soil, which can harm wildlife.

Landfills and incinerators can also generate noise pollution that can affect the quality of life for nearby plants and animals.

Peat Bogs

An important habitat that is being destroyed is peat bogs. Bogs are very wet areas of land that accumulate peat, which is a build-up of partly decomposed plant matter.

The soil in areas with peat bogs is often low in nutrients, acidic and waterlogged. Microorganisms that usually decay the plants cannot survive because the water prevents oxygen from reaching the soil. This lack of oxygen prevents aerobic decay. Also, these microorganisms are unable to survive in such acidic conditions.

As plant material decomposes slowly in these conditions, peat gradually accumulates over time. Instead of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the peat acts as a sink, storing the carbon dioxide.

  • Peat is very valuable as it stores carbon dioxide, so it helps to reduce global warming.

Why peat bogs are being destroyed

  • Peat bogs are often drained for agricultural purposes, such as farming, raising cattle and growing crops. However, draining the water changes the conditions in the peat bog, allowing microorganisms to survive and decompose the plant material. As the plants decompose, the stored carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere.
  • Peat can be dried and burned as a fuel.
  • Peat is also used to produce compost for gardens and farms.

Negative impacts of destroying peat bogs

Destroying peat bogs also destroys the habitats of the organisms that live in those areas. This reduces biodiversity and can lead to some species becoming extinct.

Peat bogs are depleting at an unsustainable rate since they are being destroyed faster than they can form.

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