Habitat Fragmentation

Keeping our landscapes connected

For my theme I have decided to head down the route of habitat fragmentation, taking into consideration how constant urbanisation is affecting wildlife and biodiversity.

Habitat fragmentation is often confused with habitat loss. Habitat loss generally refers to the extent of a natural habitats reduction in size, including forest, grassland, desert, and wetlands. Whereas habitat fragmentation occurs when ‘parts of a habitat are destroyed, leaving behind smaller, unconnected areas.’ Martin, J. (2018).

Habitat Fragmentation can occur naturally, for instance a fire or volcanic eruption, but for the most part it is down to human activity. A large portion of this activity consists of the urbanisation of cities, including the development of new:

  • Roads
  • Railways
  • Resident, business or industrial sites

A good example is the construction of a railway, beginning in the heart of a city, travelling out into the countryside, and splitting up farmland or woodland into two smaller habitats. Although this may not seem like a big issue, but splitting a habitat in two can affect an animals food source, meaning they will have to adapt, affectively impacting biodiversity.

The Woodland Trust Page provides a useful and accurate interpretation of the issue.

This image introduces the topic affectively, making use of a warm, dry, orange aesthetic which links to the constant increase of global warming perfectly.

The lack of nature and greenery emphasises how humans have destroyed habitats and reduced the chances of survival for the local wildlife. The stretch of land between the fence and skyscrapers is empty with a gravel floor, representing how we have fragmented habitats for pointless reasons, it could have easily been left as grassland.

One of the dominating causes of habitat fragmentation is urbanisation, in order to visualise the constant growth and development of cities, I decided to capture a busy construction scene.

The absence of greenery clearly demonstrates the problem at hand, posing the question of how it is possible for wildlife to survive these industrial environments. The youths protests and call for change is symbolised by the graffiti, vandalising the builds we have no control over represents our anger.

Photo 3 visually represents the slow process of urbanisation throughout the years, the formation of the layers is what creates this metaphorical aesthetic.

The order of layers matches the timeline, expressing the difference in scale for both materials and construction between each zone. The fact that the red brick build has been abandoned illustrates that humans will not only damage the landscape for their own benefit, but also fail to heal it by removing old builds and allowing space for new habitats to form.

The road splitting the green banks in two is a clear representation of how humans have split habitats in half, making it harder for the local wildlife to reach sustainable food sources and survive.

The vibrant shades of green emerging from the trees and grass contrasts nicely against the darker greys of the road, buildings and sky. It is a good visual reminder that nature will always be more alive and healthier than any man made creation.

This photo captures an autumn evening, the colours and leaves on the ground really highlights this. The fact that leaves die and regrow could be a metaphor for natures constant battle against humanity.

Similar to the previous image, the pathway represents how we have fragmented habitats for our own good. The leaves which have fallen upon the path could signify how nature is trying to repair and re-join the two habitats on either side.

My final image aims to show the audience some of the solutions which have been implemented to battle habitat fragmentation.

It proves that new, modern builds can be developed, whilst supporting nature and providing new habitats for city wildlife who would have struggled before. Not only this, but it is clear that the aesthetic works nicely and pleases the eye, posing the question to why other businesses haven’t also made these changes.