• 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. Free essay

    How is Human Activity affecting the Tundra Environment ?

    of what could happen .This particular spill was not the biggest in history but the location of the spill made its effects the worst .

  1. Ecosystems at Risk - the Great Barrier Reef

    Coral bleaching can be brought on by a number of factors. For example: * High light intensity * Increase in water pollution * Low water salinity * Changes in water temperature Although there are many factors that lead to the bleaching events, climate change and changing temperatures are considered the primary cause.

  2. Should crocodile safari hunting be practiced in the Northern Territory?

    The increasing crocodile population is fast becoming a menace to society, especially in the more remote areas of Australia. "We live with these creatures daily. They are getting bigger and bolder affecting the way we live our lives."2. Many of the rogue crocodiles inhabit the remote rivers and billabongs around the stations and communities.

  1. Why is the North Sea Known as the Cesspit of Europe?

    An effective action must be taken to maximum limit the atmospheric pollution by enforcing a reduction of release of the dirty fuels from the factories. It is also very important to educate car drivers to take public transports as much as they can to decrease the air pollution, consequently reduce the sea pollution.

  2. Virgin Atlantic Sustainable Development Global Warming

    (The Economist 2006) Airlines incur the benefit of not having to pay tax on the fuel they use when they fly internationally. This means that on long haul flights aircraft can pump tones of carbon dioxide into the earth's atmosphere without having to pay for it or think about the consequences.

  1. Waste, the Landfill Tax and the Inert Problem

    it is the most economically viable because landfills can accept all forms of waste (if licensed to do so). This means that waste does not require prior sorting and is therefore relatively cheap. Landfill has many disadvantages; landfill sites are unsightly, smelly and encourage rodents because of the availability of food.

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

    However this is only a short-term social cost, as in the long run, once the development has been completed, the developers are looking to provide clearer and safer roads for the public. Many local residents were not happy about the school closing down, as they would have to move their children further away and also pay extra travel costs.

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