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

Is South Greenland's ecosystem at risk from natural or human forces?

Extracts from this document...


Donald Zhang Geography Mr. Zettler 1/24/04 Is South Greenland's ecosystem at risk from natural or human forces? Greenland is located in Northern North America. It is an island between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Canada. Its approximate total size is 2,166,086 sq km, comprised of 410,449 sq km of ice-free land, and 1,755,637 sq km of ice-covered land (2000 est.). Comparatively, it is slightly more than three times the size of Texas (CIA). The major ecosystem of Greenland is the tundra. Thus, the typical climatic characteristic of Greenland is dry and cold. Summer temperatures are always in the arctic regions are below 5 degrees Celsius, and about 5-10 degrees in the low arctic. In the stunted forest ecosystem, summer temperatures can rise to over 10 degrees. South Greenland is the warmest part of Greenland, but it is still too cold for all but a few trees to grow. Most of the southern half of coastal Greenland is a damp coastal zone. This region can be very sensitive to changes. As humans have adapted and colonized the area through the commercialization of fishing, hunting, and livestock, there have been significant changes to the ecosystem, affecting, vegetation, animals, and the land in general. In southern Greenland, there is not a wide variegation of vegetation. ...read more.


These people attempted to farm and establish a settlement in the area. These attempts failed, possibly because a drop in global temperatures, which led to more icebergs, proving to a hindrance in transporting supplies. Nevertheless, the Norse settlements disappeared in the mid-1400s. Eventually, the Danish government claimed Greenland as Danish territory, and currently, around 56,385 people live in Greenland. All people in Greenland depend on local hunting, and trapping, mainly of seal meat. Thus, settlements with small populations are scattered along the coast to keep stocks of seals from depleting. The economy of Greenland has changed recently from seal hunting to fishing and sheep farming. Seal hunting has become more commercialized, and now people have begun to settle in areas with the best chances of catching seals. Currently, there are 63 sheep farms in South Greenland, with 21,000 ewes. The sheep in South Greenland are raised for meat rather than wool. During the summer months, the sheep roam free through the hills where the grass is growing. At the same time, sheep farmers grow grass that can be cut to make silage for use as feed during the winter. Another industry that is important is the fishing industry. Because fishing is dependent on the natural environment, fish and shellfish populations are extremely sensitive to even minute changes in the natural conditions of the sea. ...read more.


If these melt, then there may be possible flash floods, which may damage people's homes. There is continuous permafrost over the northern two-thirds of the island, but as the temperatures rise, there may be reduced continued permafrost. It is important to protect the arctic environment, to preservation of the Inuit traditional way of life, and to sensibly restrict whaling and seal hunting. But the major changes to the ecosystem may come from other places thousands of miles away in the world. Southern Greenland's ecosystem is at risk from human forces, mainly because Greenland's ecosystem is so important as it is near the polar ice caps. A few years ago, scientists found a gaping hole in the ozone layer at the poles. Because of global warming and pollution, this hole has widened considerably. This creates adverse effects on the vegetation as well as wildlife. Around the 1200s, world temperatures dropped, and there was a mini-ice age throughout the world. These changes were particularly harmful, and some scientists surmise that the reason that the Norse settlements disappeared were that they could not adapt to these new conditions. Thus, it has been shown that southern Greenland's ecosystem may be sensitive to natural and human forces, which leaves it at risk. In the future, it may be possible that if the opposite of a mini-ice age occurred, the ecosystem of southern Greenland would change drastically as well. ...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. Managing change by managing risk

    Others claim to help clients make changes. Still others offer to help by taking on the task of managing changes that must be made. In almost all cases, the process of change is treated separately from the specifics of the situation.

  2. Ecosystems at Risk - the Great Barrier Reef

    In 2002, The Great Barrier Reef recorded its worst ever bleaching event where 65% to 90% of the reef were affected. Some locations on the reef had up to 90% of their corals perish due to bleaching; however only 5% (17,400km2)

  1. Free essay

    How is Human Activity affecting the Tundra Environment ?

    be enough to irreversibly damage the most unique biome in the world .The effects of a big spill would be further magnified by the remote location of the Tundra making recovery efforts that much harder . Enviromentalists would point to the Exxon Oil Spill in 1989 is a good example

  2. Climate Change, sea level rises and engineering Hull for the future. In areas ...

    It is generally agreed that these continuing atmospheric changes will lead to a further rise in temeperature, but is difficult to predict the extent or speed of change. If Co2 levels double then the temperature could rise between 2-3 degrees celcius with greater rises at higher latitudes perhaps in the order of 7-8 degrees Celsius.

  1. Virgin Atlantic Sustainable Development Global Warming

    Virgin Atlantic currently has 26 Boeing 747s and Airbuses in their fleet with plans to expand it further with the purchase of the new A380 due for release in 2007. (http://www.virgin-atlantic.com) 3.2 Contribution to Global Warming The aviation industry produces a relatively small amount of the carbon dioxide emissions held responsible for the warming affect on the earth's atmosphere.

  2. In this paper we'll take a look at changes which each organization may face, ...

    This consists chiefly of the models, methods and techniques, tools, skills and other forms of knowledge that go into making up any practice. The content or subject matter of change management is drawn from psychology, sociology, business administration, economics, industrial engineering, systems engineering and the study of human and organizational behavior.

  1. A report concerning new business development in the local area, which is the Paddington ...

    According to the presenter and his findings, the supermarkets, such as Sainsbury's, will be affected the most as they have the largest number of rivals wanting to open up in the area. Overall the presenter concluded that naturally different businesses would be affected differently due to the diversity in their objectives and aims for the future.

  2. The Ozone a Hole in the TheoryThe protective ozone layer around our world undergoes ...

    Given this our populous may safely say that an ozone hole in the arctic cannot hurt us in any way shape or form since an arctic hole should not effect the cancer rates in the United States (or any other populated continent for that matter), and it can not go beyond the arctic(Sin!

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