A population refers to a group of species living in the same area, sharing similar resources and encountering similar environmental conditions. No population can grow indefinitely because population growth is limited by factors, such as the density of the population and spacing of individual species of the population. While human population becomes stable over time, populations of non-human species are characterized by steep increases followed by steep decreases. Geographical barriers are common amongst all populations since every population encounters geographical limits. In most non-human species’ populations, the number of individual organisms that can live in a particular habitat is limited. Crowding of the organisms and limited resources hinder indefinite population growth. When the population increases, the competition is intensified, which leads to death of some members of the population. The species also have to defend their territorial space, which may involve resistance of entry of new living organisms into the population. Therefore, the population growth cannot be indefinite.
Why Some Species’ Population Overshoot their Carrying Capacity and Crash while Others Level Off
Carrying capacity is the maximum number of individual organisms of a species that can be sustained by resources within an area, without depletion or degradation of those resources. Determination of the carrying capacity of non-human species is straightforward while determination of the carrying capacity of humans is complicated because social and cultural factors have to be factored in. For populations, which experience exponential growth, evolution starts slowly. It then enters a phase of rapid growth upon reaching the carrying capacity of the species it levels off.
Human population overshoots and exceeds the carrying capacity due to the existence of the resources, good policies that are regulated by the government, and favorable climatic conditions. The people will reproduce at a faster rate than it was predicted initially, therefore, exceeding the carrying capacity.
The leveling-off of the population is attributed to the depletion of the available resources. The people will not reproduce at a faster rate, so that they ensure that they are sustained in the existing competition.
Differing Views about whether Human can Overcome the Environmental Limits which other Species Face
There are different views on whether or not humans can overcome the environmental limits that all populations of other species face. They include a view that they cannot overcome those environmental challenges and the opinion that they can overcome environmental limits because of their rationality capacity.
I resonate with the view that human beings have the capacity to overcome some of the environmental limits that populations of other species face. They do this through their ability to reason and find solutions to the problems that are under way. For example, the challenge of competition for space is addressed by creating other space in which humans can stay. A good example is construction of multi-storey buildings. In order to deal with changes in climatic conditions, humans have intensified their research, which is aimed at finding amicable solutions.
Threats to National Parks in the USA and Globally
National parks around the world face a number of threats; one of them is the conflict between the wild animals and the human interests. Land has become scarce for development, and this has triggered some people to encroach into the parks to farm and settle there. In the process, animals are killed as they try to attack the population living around the park. Another threat is the forest fires, which mostly occur during the time of summer. Putting off wild fires is usually a challenge as it spreads fast, especially if there are blowing winds. Animals are forced to run away to other habitats and those that cannot rescue themselves get burned. In addition, poaching has continued to be a big threat as many animals are exterminated in the process. The above threats affect many national parks around the globe though some dangers, such as poaching, are more rampant in African countries. Environmental activists have continued to fight for the protection of wildlife. There have been incidences where the government has even tried to construct roads across the parks.
The Plight of the Gray Wolf in the USA and Its Reintroduction to Yellowstone
For many years, the gray wolf, a native North American species, thrived in its ecosystem as a predator without any human interference. The Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 to preserve wildlife in Northern America. However, in 1884, the state of Montana put in place a policy of eradicating predators, such as wolves, as they were killing game meat animals, such as the buffalo and the elk. By 1927, wolves were completely eradicated.
Such actions upset the balance of the ecosystem as increase in grazing animals leads to decrease of plants and trees, which in turn results in a decrease in animals, such as beavers and birds, that depend on trees. The concept of wolf-reintroduction was presented to congress in 1966. The gray wolf became protected under The Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973. The target of having 30 pairs of breeding wolves in Yellow Stone was achieved in 2000. The gray wolf was removed from the list of protection in 2008, and subsequently in 2010, but was returned to the list when environmentalists sued the government.
The reintroduction of wolves has restored the ecosystem. When wolves were reintroduced, the elk population shrunk by 50 %. Biodiversity has consequently increased in The Yellow Stone National Park as vegetation and trees, which had been exhausted by elks, are now blossoming. The beaver, as well as the red fox, which were almost facing extinction, have also been restored. The wolves that prey on livestock were killed or relocated. Reintroduction is controversial as environmentalists support it while residents and game hunters strongly oppose it.