The Effects of Droughts: Part Two: The Environment
Environmental losses are caused by damages to plant and animal species in coordination to droughts. Monday was about the economic effects of droughts to farmlands and livestock in Part One: The Economy. Wildlife habitat and air and water quality are usually damaged due to lack of water and an increase in forest and range fires. Most of the effects of droughts are short-term, and as the drought comes to an end many problems are solved in the environment.
However, many other environmental effects hinder the area for long periods after droughts are over. For example, wildlife habitat may be ruined through the loss of wetlands, lakes, and vegetation. Some species of animals may be wiped out from the area as well. These long term effects are known as desertification – the gradual transformation of habitable land into desert. As you can imagine, this damages animal species because desertification causes a reduction and degradation of their homes. Where there were once lush wetlands is now a desert can drastically impact the animals that live there and even force them to move from their natural habitat. The lack of food and drinking water can, for example, force coyotes into people populated neighbors and out of the small woodlands behind them. Disease among animals increases along with predation, which we mentioned in Part One. Predation is the act of preying by a predator who kills and easts its prey.
There is a lack of animals to begin with leaving predators coerced to prey on what animals are left, leaving even less of a population behind. Now imagine what that must be like for endangered species that are already suffering from lack of numbers. Droughts cause great damage to plant life. With the dryer environment there is an increase in the number and severity of fires and wind and water erosion of soils. All the damage to plants can be linked back to The Economy so be sure the check out our first blog in this series.