Mass movements affect the following elements of the environment: (1) the topography of the earth's surface, particularly the morphologies of mountain and valley systems, both on the continents and on the ocean floors; (2) the character/quality of rivers and streams and groundwater flow; (3) the forests that cover much of the earth's subaerial surface; and (4) the habitats of natural wildlife that exist on the earth's surface, including its rivers, lakes, and oceans. Large amounts of geologic materials enter streams as sediment as a result of this landslide and erosion activity, thus reducing the potability of the water and quality of habitat for fish and wildlife. Biotic destruction by landslides is also common; widespread stripping of forest cover by mass movements has been noted in many parts of the world. Although most kinds of wildlife are able to retreat fast enough to avoid direct injury from all but the fastest-moving landslides, they often are subject to habitat damage by landslides.

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