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Ecosystem Conservation Paper

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The ecosystem that I chose that I believe is in need of conservation is the Mojave Desert. This ecosystem is different in the fact that the desert is a much harsher environment and the plants and animals that live here have adapted to the harsh conditions and low water availability of this area. This 54,000 square mile desert has its own special type of diversity. In the desert the plants and animals all depend on each other for survival. The plants that are in the area not only provide food for animals and insects but also give shade and shelter to them from the hot desert sun. Plants here have also adapted to protect themselves from being eaten by the development of thorns and sharp spines that are so common on cactus. This is a good deterrent from a mule deer looking for food. The plants also need the animals to help them with their pollination and spreading of their seeds, they do this by eating the seeds and then depositing them later in other areas. This keeps the diversity of the desert going strong. Currently the Mojave Desert is suffering from the negative impact of humans. Although it is a very harsh environment that one would normally think would not really be impacted by small changes the opposite is true, it’s such a fragile ecosystem because of its limited resources.

Once you add in human intervention and human presence the wildlife really has little or no chance of adapting to that. One major problem that has been identified is that when people visit the desert they tend to leave behind their trash. This can cause many animal deaths in the desert, when it comes to trash animals will become curious and eat it usually causing blockage in their intestines and ultimately death. There is also the effects that trash can have on water sources, it’s known that trash can decrease the amount of oxygen in water. Water is scarce as it is and adding this added problem can only be bad for the local animal and plant life in the area. Water sources are only available during certain times of the year. Arroyos or Washes are cursory stream courses that may contain water only a few hours or perhaps a few days each year during the rainy season; usually have a flat, gravel-strewn floor (“Mojave Desert Land Trust”, 2013).

Because of unmonitored public use of some desert land there have been many destructive human activities that are becoming a problem. Many believe that these lands controlled by the US Bureau of Land Management are not protecting these habitats enough. In March 2000, the Center, Sierra Club, and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility stepped in to initiate a revolution in wildlife and ecosystem protection across the California Desert Conservation Area, filing suit against the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service on behalf of 24 endangered species that had been hurt by poor land management (“California Desert Conservation Area”, 2014). Plant and animal extinctions has been one of the biggest human impacts on the environment. One animal is another animal’s food source. With the destruction or disturbance of their food source can cause an animal to find a different, more likely a less healthy, food source decreasing their population size. The entire ecosystem is unstable with the destruction of a plant or an animal.

I chose this type of ecosystem because it’s a major type of ecosystem here in California. We tend to use a lot of these desert areas for recreation, military training and other type of projects and I think that it’s important that special consideration be taken when it comes to the disturbance of these lands. Although they seem desolate and isolated and devoid of life, these areas are home to a multitude of organisms that are maintaining a delicate balance in this inhospitable environment. I believe that conservation is something that we all must start practicing not only on an individual basis but as a community, city, state, and all the way up too on a global level. Because of the increasing numbers of human populations more natural resources such as water, food, etc. are being used. The earth can regenerate these resources but not at the amount needed to sustain our current population and because of this Problems, such as limited water supply and limited farm land, can occur. This is also the biggest cause of deforestation today. There has been a noticeable increase in the population of other states (and also an increase in logging companies). California is the most populated state in the United States. It has soared to an astounding 38.6 million people inhabiting California alone in 2008, and it is only increasing (globalgeography.aag.org, 2011).

This is just in California if we look at the plant as a whole were looking at by the year 2050 is reaching a world population of over 10 billion. I do not think that even with all of our advancements and technology that we will be able to sustainably be able to feed all those people. For this reason conservation right now is of the utmost importance. I think personally that it’s important to learn the skills of living a conservative lifestyle is more important at this point because right now it’s an option. When it becomes a necessity we don’t want to be learning new skills we need to already have measures and ways of conserving in place. This also goes along with alternative energies, we can no longer just rely on fossil fuels and expect that they will be there for us in the future. In conclusion The Mojave Desert comprises an ecosystem that is unique to this type of environment. With the vast array of food sources found here, many plants and animals have been able to adapt and survive. It is a place bountiful with life with many things to discover. This can all end; however, if humans are not careful with the earth with which they were entrusted.

Rapid population growth, increased pollution, and deforestation all play a vital role in keeping our ecosystems thriving with life. Plants and animals have found many ways to adapt, but these organisms need the assistance of the most advanced species on earth – humans. Ironically, humans are the biggest contributor to the ruins of ecosystems around the world. However, without the continued efforts of these same species, the ecosystems of the world may soon fall to pieces. Our past has shown us that there are definite repercussions to not conserving our natural resources. It’s important that we protect all our ecosystems and natural resources alike. We have only one earth and we need to adapt, like all other organisms on the planet , to what we resources we have available to us.


Mojave Desert Land Trust. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.mojavedesertlandtrust.org/California Desert Conservation Area. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/public_lands/deserts/california_desert_conservation_area/Population Growth in California. (2012). Retrieved from http://cgge.aag.org/PopulationandNaturalResources1e/CS_US_July09/CS_US_July094.html

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