In all habitats, producers provide the food that support all consumers either directly or indirectly. In a well established habitat, population sizes of the various species are adjusted to the quantity of food that is available in the habitat. Certain factors can, however decrease the food supply to the habitat causing food storage.
Causes of Food Shortage
The following factors are responsible for shortage of food in a habitat:
- Overpopulation: An increase in population without a corresponding increase in food supply tends to create food shortage.
- Poor storage facilities: Lack of or inadequate storage facilities to store excess produce do result in losses leading to food shortage.
- Flood: The occurrence of flood in a particular year may result in destruction of crops and farmlands which can also lead to food shortage.
- Drought: Severe drought can lead to poor agricultural activities resulting in the production of little food. This eventually leads to food shortage.
- Pests: Crops may be attacked by pests, e.g. pests like locusts, aphids, grasshoppers, weevils etc can attack crops leading to low yield. The poor harvest from such crops can lead to food shortage.
- Diseases: Various diseases of plants and animals reduce production hence food shortage will occur.
- Bush Burning: Bush burning also lead to the destruction of useful soil organisms, reduces soil fertility and expose the soil to erosion. These conditions of the soil can lead to poor yield and subsequent food shortage.
- Poor harvest: Poor harvest or low yield of crops and animals due to one problem or the other can result in food shortage.
- Infertility of the soil: Soil infertility due to erosion or bush burning lead to poor yield of crops which can also cause food shortage.
- War: During wartime, attention is not given to food production and this leads to food shortage.
Factors Affecting a Population
A number of factors referred to as environmental resistance control the population of organisms in a particular habitat.
These factors are classified as abiotic and biotic factors.
The abiotic factors comprise the following;
- Heat: The degree of hotness of a place can determine the size of population. Hot environment generally is not conducive for habitation as organisms tend to run away from such areas. Heat can cause stress and death of individuals.
- Water: Availability of water in a habitat determines the rate of survival of the population. While availability of water can cause increase in population, lack of it can decrease a population.
- Space: Space is very important to all organisms for normal growth and development. Lack of space leads to overcrowding and competition among organisms.
- Light: Light is an important abiotic factor especially in plant community. Without light, green plants (producers) will not be able to manufacture the food needed in a habitat. Low light intensity also can result in weak plant growth and development.
- Nutrients: Plants require nutrients in the soil to synthesize their various food substances. Lack of nutrients can result in stunted growth and poor yield of crops…
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