Standard LS.12
Impact of Humans on the Ecosystems
VDOE - Revised 2003 Standards

Standard LS.12
The student will investigate and understand the relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Key concepts include
a) food production and harvest;
b) change in habitat size, quality, or structure;
c) change in species competition;
d) population disturbances and factors that threaten or enhance species survival; and
e) environmental issues (water supply, air quality, energy production, and waste management).

Overview / Key Concepts

Ecosystems are dynamic systems.

Humans are a natural part of the ecosystem. Humans use the ecosystem to meet their basic needs, such as to obtain food.

Human interaction can directly alter habitat size, the quality of available resources in a habitat, and the structure of habitat components. Such interactions can be positive and/or negative.

Human input can disturb the balance of populations that occur in a stable ecosystem. These disturbances may lead to a decrease or increase in a population. Since populations in an ecosystem are interdependent, these disturbances have a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem.

The interaction of humans with the dynamic ecosystem may lead to issues of concern for continued ecosystem health in areas such as water supply, air quality, energy production, and waste management.

Knowledge & Skills

identify examples of ecosystem dynamics.

describe the relationship between human food harvest and the ecosystem.

describe ways that human interaction has altered habitats positively and negatively.
debate the pros and cons of human land use versus ecosystem stability.

compare and contrast population disturbances that threaten and those that enhance species survival.