• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Human Impact on the Ecosystem

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Human activity can impose far-reaching effects on an ecosystem. There is a potential conflict of interest between production and conservation. Deforestation occurs when the world's forests are chopped down, burned, or destroyed. This is done to clear land for agricultural purposes such as for grazing animals and growing crops but also for commercial logging purposes where the wood is sold as timber or pulp. This world wide problem occurs most often in tropical forests which are situated I relatively poor countries such as Brazil which hosts the Amazon rainforest. In 1995 Brazil had an international debt of $159 billion, in order to make the payments on this the logging industries contribute money made from selling pulp and valuable hardwoods such as mahogany. Also farming is the basic way of life for many of the Brazilians and for this they need land, which is in turn taken from the tropical forest. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) ...read more.

Middle

Selective logging is when only a selected number of the trees are cut down, although this destroys the habitat and affects large areas of forest it allows quicker regrowth as the surrounding trees can provide seeds and protect young trees from too much sun, (website 1) also as all of the trees aren't removed the soil structure remains and so do many of the nutrients. Clearcutting involves clearing the whole area, removing all of the trees and often burning the brush that's left. It is much more damaging to the forest as bare ground is left behind with very little regrowth.(website 1) The problems of deforestation are however spread much wider than the area of forest, which is cut down as logging uses heavy machinery such as bulldozers, road grazers and log skidders this machinery must be able to travel along roads to reach the area that is to be cut down meaning that many roads must also be made (website 1). ...read more.

Conclusion

50% of wood is carbon and when an area is cleared by the slash and burn method this carbon is oxidised to become carbon dioxide (website 1). From 1850-1990 deforestation worldwide released 122 billion metric tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere, the current rate is approximately 1.6 billion metric tonnes per year. In comparison fossil fuel burning (coal, oil and gas) release about 6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 per year. This may contribute to global warming. The destruction of the rain forests also means that the water stored in the trees and below the canopy is released into the atmosphere not only affecting the local climate of an area by reducing the evaporative cooling but also possibly contributing to global warming.(website 4) NASA's Earth Science Enterprise plans to study the effects of deforestation in the future using analysis from lots of high tech satellite data so that we can understand its effect on climate change better but destruction of the forests will continue until better conservation methods and regrowth methods can be taught to farmers in poorer countries.(website 1) Reference 1.www.nasm.edu/ceps/research/AMAZON/amazon.html 2.http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/library/deforestation/ 3. Microsoft Encarta encyclopaedia 99 4.www.seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/peril_deforestation.html ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Environmental Management section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Environmental Management essays

  1. Causes of deforestation.

    The mercury gold prospectors used to separate gold from sand polluted drinking water and fish. Consequently, the indigenous population suffered greatly from mercury poisoning because fish was the primary source of protein for them. Cattle ranchers, loggers and land speculators also invaded the indigenous lands.

  2. "The impact of visitors is damaging the environment of Epping Forest." - investigate.

    It was raining our worksheet got wet, so we had to hide it from the rain. My results might differ from those results which are obtained at a different time of the day, or at a different time of the year; this is because different people are found at different times.

  1. Evaluate the impact of deforestation in Indonesia.

    If core areas of undisturbed forest are left adjacent to carefully managed logging areas, displaced plant and animal species should be able to recolonise the logged forest after operations have finished. Another potential solution is what has been called 'debt for nature' swaps.

  2. What are the effects of Deforestation?

    However, when we try to account for sources and sinks for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere we uncover some mysteries. For example, notice in Figure 1 (schematic of the carbon cycle) that fossil fuel burning releases roughly 5.5 gigatons of carbon (GtC [giga=1 billion])

  1. "Human activities can impose far-reaching effects on an eco system. There is a potential ...

    Aspirin, for example, is the synthetic version of a natural compound found in a plant; if such plants species are eliminated, so too will their potential (and unknown) benefits. Another example is 'cyclosporin' derived from an obscure Norwegian fungus. It has shown itself to be a powerful immuno-suppressive agent, which today, is the basis of the entire organ-transplant industry.

  2. What impact has study into perception had on the nature nurture debate?

    Frantz concluded that infants did indeed show an inclination toward the facial images. How was this information received by Frantz psychological peers? As in most cases there was support, with some criticism. Critics suggested that there was not a large enough difference between fixation times in the first two images to suggest innate face recognition.

  1. Evaluate The Impact Of Deforestation In Indonesia.

    The World Trade Organisation (WTO) does not allow countries to discriminate against imported goods on environmental grounds, effectively removing incentives to improve environmental performance in either production systems or import controls. The growth of massive trans-national corporations, which dominate the timber trade, control 80-90% of the commerce in forest products.

  2. What Are the Effects of Rapid, Large-scale Clearance of Tropical Rainforests?

    Environmental organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth accuse Brazil of murdering the forest, but there is no other way for us to easily make money to pay back our debts and to keep some of the population employed and earning money.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work