Threat: Habitat Loss and Degradation

Habitat Loss and Degradation
  • Habitat loss and degradation is the top threat to nature.

Habitat loss, also known as habitat destruction, is one of the greatest threats to biodiversity, posing serious problems for wildlife and humans. It is the process by which natural habitat, a home to animals and plants, has been changed to the point that it is no longer capable of supporting its native species. It usually results in the extinction of animals and plants, and consequently, the loss of biodiversity.

Despite Hong Kong’s small size and its reputation for being a “concrete jungle”, the territory has an extraordinarily high level of biodiversity. Few places in the world allow people to travel from the city centre to the middle of the natural world – not simply an artificial park but authentic natural environments like mountains, woodlands, coral reefs and even an internationally-important Ramsar wetland – in the space of an hour or less. Our world-class country park system is one of the best in the world and used to be a regional example of conservation best practice.

Unfortunately, the lack of adequate policy, legislation, management and urban planning make many ecologically sensitive areas and biodiversity hotspots constantly under threats from urbanisation, habitat destruction, reclamation and degradation such as illegal waste dumping.

Mother nature is resilient but can be fragile as well, some damage done might be irreversible, that no effort being put afterwards could make it recover. One sad case is the destruction of Sham Chung in Tolo Harbour. This country park enclave used to have a large area of freshwater marsh formed on abandoned paddies and supported large population of Hong Kong paradise fish, big orchid and three-striped grass frog. The land was bought by a private developer and the marsh was filled to form lawn or dug up to form ponds. The destruction is probably irreversible. Prevention is always the best way of protection. 

As humans continue to destroy natural habitats, we are also harming ourselves because it is contributing to climate change. The more trees we cut down, the less the earth is able to absorb carbon dioxide and the more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere contributing to climate change, consequently killing various species and posing significant threats to human health due to this change in climate

However, we CAN combat habitat loss by first understanding the importance of biodiversity and how to protect it, then raising awareness and educating others on the consequences of its destruction. Preserving natural resources, learning how to use them in a sustainable manner – when we focus on education and personal action, then we have effective solutions to habitat destruction that can create a meaningful impact on local, national, and global scales.


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