THE THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY IN THE EUROPEAN ALPS

Biodiversity is described as a number of organisms that exist in a given geographical region. WWF European Alphine Programme 2012 postulates biodiversity as a result of various ways genes, species, and eco-systems prolong life. The Alps form a gigantic orb running from Nice to Vienna.

According to a report by WWF Global of April 2012 on the European Alpine Programme, identifies habitat degradation as the major threat to Alpine biodiversity. The report identifies unsustainable farming, increasing settlements, road networks, and river dams as the major causes. The propensity of Alpine farming change from traditional farming over the last 50 years has led to reduction to reduction in biodiversity as mountain plants are turned either into largely fertilized plants or are outdone by forests.

Urbanization and expansion of cities poses a threat to the few remaining natural remnants in the Alps lowland areas.

An estimated 120 million visitors tour the Alps annually causing the impact of tourism on Alpine natural resources to be devastating. As a major economic booster in the Alps, tourism is a major force of urbanization. Massive tourist hotels take up an area greater than that of non-tourism concern. As a major economic booster in the Alps, tourism is a major force of urbanization. Massive tourist hotels take up an area far greater than that of non-tourist concern. This becomes a hindrance especially in the isolated Alpine regions that are otherwise protected from urban encroachment.

The intense road and railway networks on these valleys causes a heavy load by space occupying travel infrastructure through air and noise pollution. This leads to an alteration of the Alps species by degrading their natural habitat.

Alpine water towers have experienced major alterations and degradation. Areas around water courses that control floods have been separated from rivers and changed to agricultural land or towns. By straightening rivers and constructing hydroelectric dams, freshwater areas are destroyed; fishing grounds and migratory routes are eradicated. This has the effect of destroying the delicate natural balance.

In the last 100 years, global-warming has caused glaciers of the Alps to retreat leading to migration increase of Alpine plants. Global-warming affects mountain ranges in a specifically serious way. Adjustments in precipitation and snow patterns are eminent coupled with a raise in the rate and amount of excessive weather –related occurrences that include avalanches and floods.

It remains the duty of the inhabitants and the stakeholders of the European Alps region to preserve the delicate eco-system in this natural habitat.

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