TPO 32 - Question 6

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TPO 32 - Question 6

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The professor talks about two ways roads harmfully affect the environment. The first way is by transporting plants to new areas. The transported plants will compete with native plants for natural resources. For example, there is a kind of weed, starthistle that gets transported by tires. In the new environment, it competes with native plants for water. This makes it harder for native plants to survive. The second way is by dividing the animal habits into smaller areas. Animals in smaller areas won’t have enough food to support themselves. For example, Kit fox eats mice and squirrels. These small animals spread over large tracts of land. Now the fox’s habitat has been divided by high ways. It’s very hard for the fox to find enough food. So the number of the fox decreases.

1. Roads, paved roads are everywhere and sometimes seem like part of the natural landscape.
2. But, of course, roads are not part of nature and, if fact, road construction can have harmful effects on the environment and seriously impact both animal life and plant life.
3. One harmful environmental effect of roads is that they contribute to the movement of plant species from one area to another.
4. This causes problem for existing plants, plants already growing in that area because when a new plant species gets into an area where it wasn't growing before, the new plants compete for resources with existing plant life.
5. For example, this happened in California with a weed called the yellow starthistle.
6. What happened was the starthistle's seeds got stuck to the tires of cars driving down the road and the seeds were distributed to new areas.
7. This put the starthistle in competition for natural resources, like water, with the original plant life of the area.
8. That made it harder for the native plants to survive.
9. Also roads, especially major highways, can act as barriers and divide up an animal's habitat into smaller ones where there is not enough food to support the population.
10. These busy highways, with cars speeding past day and night, act like boundaries that animals are afraid to cross.
11. So they sometimes get shut in on a small piece of land where there isn't enough food to support them.
12. This is a serious problem for animals that need access to large expanse of land to look for food.
13. For example, there are these foxes called Kit foxes that live in the southwestern United States, They hunt small animals like mice and squirrels which are spread out over large areas of open grasslands.
14. And now, because of these roads, the Kit fox population has declined significantly because now they don't get enough food.