Ecology and the Environment Essay

Submitted By stackett
Words: 1186
Pages: 5

York County in South Carolina is mostly a rural area but it is not immune to the effects of human demands. The development of new homes and businesses are taking away some valuable resources for many species to survive. South Carolina has its own state protected endangered and threatened species list which includes 22 animals and 19 plants. The other species on the list include fungi, reptiles, mammals, fish, amphibians, and birds.
South Carolina has many plants that have survived natural selection and made their home here, which gives us a large variety since we have a coastal, mountain and piedmont regions. We have Cabbage Palm found along the coastal plain, Sweetshrub, Switchgrass, and Carolina jessamine (the state flower) to name a few. “The Venus flytrap is a native species in North and South Carolina. Because of a lack of nutrients in the soil where it evolved, the plant became carnivorous, deriving its nutrients by consuming animal life (Dinh, H. n.d.).” Cabbage palm needs the bees and ants to pollinate the flowers, and the birds, mammals, and water to distribute the seeds for regrowth. This plant’s fruit provides food for animals such as raccoons. Black gum, dogwood and goldenrod are found near the coastal regions only because of the salty air and sandy landscape. Our environment is warmer than the northern piedmont regions and can offer better habitats for some plant and animal life. Pampas grass was introduced to our region and has survived due to our similar climate with other regions, though it has survived without being as invasive as some. Kudzu is one of those invasive plants. Introduced to the United States at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Kudzu is still here.
“The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. American gardeners used the plant for ornamental purposes. During the Great Depression of the 1930s kudzu was used for erosion control. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940s. The climate of the Southeastern U.S. is perfect for kudzu. The vines climb trees, power poles, and anything else they contact. While they help prevent erosion, the vines can also destroy valuable forests by preventing trees from getting sunlight (The Amazing Story of Kudzu .n.d.).” Kudzu is a great example of a species introduced into a different environment and becoming invasive. Goats were introduced into the region to feed on the Kudzu. They rid the fields of the plant while also providing milk and wool, or the kudzu can be used as feed by removing the goats periodically to keep the kudzu growing. The predator insects that eat Kudzu was not brought with it so it grows better here than in Japan. South Carolina is divided into three regions, mountains, piedmont, and coastal regions. York County is in the piedmont region close to the foothills of the mountains. The Piedmont region makes up one third of the area of South Carolina and is usually hilly country containing many monadnocks, which are lone hills of bedrock rising above the surrounding area. One example is Table Rock. There are many waterways in this region with a vast amount of species living in them. One such species has been affected by human development. “The Robust Redhorse has faced significant reduction in population due to habitat degradation. Agricultural, residential, and commercial development along Robust Redhorse habitat has lead to siltation of spawning grounds; stream alteration and channeling has caused a decline in Robust Redhorse habitat. In addition, the non-native blue and flathead catfish are known to predate on Robust Redhorses, which have a low number of individuals reaching sexual maturity. Lastly, dams and weirs block historic migration routes of reproducing fish (Piedmont. 2012)”.

We are affecting many species in our areas by developing and changing their