IH SAA Human Impact on Biomes



[SOPHIE] Hello, I am Sophie.

[KIMORA] And I am Kimora.

In this video, we will discuss the negative impact of humanity on the environment and ways we can manage the negative impact and reduce damage. We will explore two case studies for each type of biome.

We appreciate your attention as we explore these important topics.

Now, let us start with Sophie discussing how our actions threaten the terrestrial biomes.

[SOPHIE] Humans impact the physical environment in many ways: overpopulation, pollution, burning fossil fuels, and deforestation are main focuses. Changes like these have triggered climate change, soil erosion, poor air quality, and undrinkable water. These negative impacts can affect human behaviour and can induce mass migrations or battles over clean water.

Whether directly or indirectly, human intervention has permanently altered the face of our planet. Unfortunately, in many cases, this unchecked human influence has led to dire threats to the overall health of numerous biomes, especially as a result of global warming.

The forest biome most at risk from human development is the rainforest, which has undergone significant deforestation due to logging, power generation, the expansion of agriculture and the paper industry. This massive loss of trees has already contributed to global warming.

The Case Study

Papua New Guinea (PNG) possesses one of the planet’s largest remaining tropical rainforest. At least seventy-five percent of its original forest cover is still standing, occupying vast, biologically rich tracts over 100,000 square miles in all. Its forests provide the habitat for about 200 species of mammals, 20,000 species of plants, 1,500 species of trees and 750 species of birds, half of which are endemic to the island. It has been estimated that between 5 and 7% of the known species in the world live in PNG. Rare plants and animals like the largest orchid, the largest butterfly, the longest lizard, the largest pigeon and the smallest parrot ever registered live in these forests.

The forests also constitute the home of the indigenous peoples, the Maisin. For the Maisin, forests provide everything from food and medicinal plants, to materials for houses, canoes and tools. Under the Papua New Guinea constitution, the Maisin are the legal owners of their traditional lands. But these forests and forest peoples are under threat due to large-scale logging activities and oil palm plantations. Oil palm plantations are not aimed at the production of edible oil for the local population and almost the entire production is export-oriented.

One issue has been deforestation / timber extraction e.g. Kiunga-Aiambak road project located in previously intact rainforests in Papua New Guineas remote Western Province.

This has caused:

  • Soil erosion
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Loss of habitats
  • Loss of clean water supply through sedimentation.

It’s not simple to reduce or completely remove the human impact on this rainforest because there are at least four groups interested in the timber extraction.

  1. PNG Government: who sold logging rights and helped finance the project
  2. Transnationals and their shareholders: Malaysian company bought logging rights
  3. Consumers in MEDCs who want cheap plywood and furniture
  4. Indigenous population who obtain work with the logging company

Many of the issues associated with the negative impact of humans on terrestrial biomes can be mitigated by…

  • Prioritizing the protection of forests and wetlands. This might include restricting access or replanting initiatives.
  • Collaborating with farmers and agricultural businesses to improve the use of soil and to reduce and manage pesticide use. They can also work to plant crops that will restore fertility to the soil in grasslands and desert regions.
  • Managing controlled burns to help cleanse and rejuvenate grassland biomes.
  • Restricting dams and other human alterations to aquatic environments.
  • Constructing ditches in the desert to trap rainfall and seeds, which can promote the natural growth of desert plants (and can in turn anchor the soil to prevent erosion).
  • Educating people on sustainable logging practices and purchasing sustainable products.
  • Combating governmental decisions to cut down trees to build roads.
  • Cutting greenhouse gas emissions and switching to sustainable, alternative energy sources.
  • Limiting aggressive human interventions in biomes such as mining and road construction.

Now, over to you Kimora.

[KIMORA] Human activities affect marine ecosystems as a result of pollution, overfishing, introduction of invasive species, and acidification. These all impact the maritime ecosystems and may lead to largely unknown consequences for the biodiversity and survival of marine life forms.

  1. Water pollution : Water pollution is the pollution of bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, seas, ocean, etc. In most cases, water pollution is caused by industrial activity, humans throwing oils into the water sources, mining activities, burning of fossils fuels, etc.
  2. Overfishing : Overfishing is the removal of a species of fish from body water at a rate that the species cannot replenish. There are few effects of overfishing such as ; poor coral reef health, financial losses, threat to local food sources, imbalance of the Maritime Ecosystem, growth of algae, etc.
  3. Introduction of invasive species : An invasive species is an organism that causes economic harm in a new environment where it is not native. It can be introduced into the new area via oceangoing ships, intentional and accidental releases of aquaculture species, aquarium specimens, etc.
  4. Acidification : Acidification is a natural process by which the content of the soil becomes more acidic. This happens through the loss of basic/alkalic elements like calcium, magnesium, and potassium or the introduction of acidic elements like hydrogen and aluminium.

The Case Study.

In recent years, Bali has seen growing environmental problems such as pollution and freshwater scarcity. Most of this is plastic that washes ashore during the rainy season.

The island’s garbage dumps are reportedly overflowing. Some 60% of Bali’s water catchment are drying up, threatening freshwater resources. Indonesia is also the world’s second-biggest marine polluter after China, discarding 3.22 million metric tons of waste annually. This accounts for 10% of the world’s marine pollution. Plastic can kill ocean mammals, turtles and other species that consume it. It can also poison food and water resources, as harmful chemicals leach out of the plastic. It poses threats to human health as well. Plastics leach cancerous toxins.


Things being done :

  • Community groups and NGOs to clean beaches play a key role in protecting Bali’s environment, but they are only temporary.
  • Continued development of legislation, regulation and industry guidelines is needed to save Indonesia’s waterways from drowning in.

Things we can do as a citizens or tourist when we are in Bali :

  • Use no plastic bags or use less plastics.
  • Strong and controlled recycling efforts.
  • Wastewater treatments.
  • Saving the energy.
  • Paying fair wages.
  • Avoid unnecessary packaging.
  • Supporting the local community.


Ways to reduce these damages :

  1. We should start reflecting on ourselves and start to change our lifestyle.
  2. Support campaign and organization.
  3. Use fewer plastic products.
  4. Sustainable seafood choices.
  5. Taking care of the water sources.

And there are so many simple things like not discarding plastic and oil into bodies of water, or not purchasing goods that exploit habitats and animal life, there are so many little things and details that can support and assist the well-being of our environment.

Here, we conclude our video. We hope that we have raised awareness of these issues and that you listen to our advice and help the environment in your own way. Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day.

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