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With reference to a specific area and its ecosystem(s) explain how the natural environment can be used, abused and conserved.

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With reference to a specific area and its ecosystem(s) explain how the natural environment can be used, abused and conserved. An ecosystem can be described as the relationships between the biotic or living members of a community, e.g. plant life, birds and the abiotic or non-living elements, including water and soil which form the natural environment. The essay will examine the ecosystems of Sand Bay and surrounding shoreline, including Sand Point and Middle Hope. The essay will comment on evidence of land use, misuse and attempts to conserve the habitat, based on evidence gathered during a field visit to the site during December 2001. For ease of identification, I have referenced some locations described on the enclosed map. Location Sand Bay is located in the county of North Somerset in the south west of England. The area of Sand Bay and Middle Hope occupies an approximately 2 mile long stretch of coastline on the south side of the Seven Estuary, approximately 4 miles north east of the seaside resort of Weston Super Mare and 18 miles west of Bristol. Ecosystems There are a variety of ecosystems along the Sand Bay coastline, the major ones are the marine ecosystem, the salt marshes (1) on the north side of the bay, the sand beach, Swallow Cliff and the surrounding grassland. There are many smaller ecosystems within these major ones, including the rock pools and caves at the foot of Swallow Cliff 2. ...read more.


nearby, both of which are likely to have relied on farming for subsistence and additional income, provide further evidence of agricultural land use. Presently, there are three farm houses in the area, one adjacent to Woodspring Priory and two in Sand Bay itself . These buildings indicate the continuing importance of farming in the area. Sheep droppings were found on the Middle Hope peninsula, the plateau is surrounded by a wire fence. A farm gate leads from the eastern edge of plateau to the lower ground by the beach, tractor tracks were seen here. All of the above indicate that the land is actively used for grazing. Middle Hope and Swallow Cliff peninsula are owned by the National Trust. The site is open to the public. There is a visitors car park at Sand Point, at the site entrance. The car park capacity is approximately 30 cars, there is an overspill car park in a field behind, indicating that Middle Hope is a popular destination in the summer months. The village of Sand Bay (approximately 15 minutes walk away) has a railway station and a regular bus service, opening up the site to more visitors. There is a caravan park in Sand Bay and two more on the feeder road to the village, indicating that the area has an established tourist population. Caravan parks are considered by many people as an eyesore, spoiling the character of the landscape. ...read more.


This reduces the risk of worrying sheep, disturbing wildlife or other visitors. Conclusion The balance between allowing free access to land for both recreational and commercial use and at the same time conserving the habitat is a difficult one to strike. Access to Sand Bay and Middle Hope by visitors is relatively unrestricted. By allowing access to visitors and providing information on the area and the habitats within, the National Trust aims to increase public awareness of the value of these habitats and the importance of their conservation. Various efforts have been made to conserve the land; from a recreation point of view, these include fencing, controlled footpaths and provision of a parking area for visitors, to limit the erosion to the area. The area is farmed to maintain the character of the habitat, pesticides and fertilizers are not used limiting any environmental damage. It is inevitable that some damage will be caused by inconsiderate visitors or by the sheer volume of people accessing the site. Modern farming techniques, such as the use of tractors also take their toll on the land. A few things could be done to limit the damage, such as regular litter picking or provision of litter bins and poop scoops for dog owners. The National Trust could also consider introducing a small entrance fee to the area during the peak months so that number of visitors to the site is reduced. Charging entrance fees however is a complex issue, as some people may be deterred from visiting, whilst others may access other sites of value in en mass, merely transferring the problem of recreational damage to another site. ...read more.

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