How is a Food Chain Affected by Biodiversity Loss?
All ecosystems depend upon a diverse group of species to survive. The greatest threat to biodiversity is the loss or fragmentation of natural habitat which accompanies overgrazing, deforestation, draining wetlands, and destroying coral reefs. Pollution also weakens habitat; oil spills, sewage, and pesticides effect oceans, air, soils, and freshwater ecosystems.
If an animal like the giant panda, oyster, cod, or elephant is overharvested or hunted to excess, it can become extinct or pushed to near extinction. The loss of an animal or plant from a food chain can effect the overall health of food chain and the balance of the ecosystem. In some cases it may push the ecosystem to diversify, but in most cases the loss of a plant or animal weakens an ecosystem.
Consumers play a vital role in controlling populations in a sustainable and balanced ecosystem, and their loss can skew entire populations one way or another. Likewise, depending on the selectiveness of the predators in a system, loss of producers can cripple an ecosystem, and being close to the base of the food chain or web tends to magnify the effects.