Environmental Science Term Paper

4223 words - 17 pages

Environmental Science

5. Tropical forests represent a large reservoir of underutilized timber. Why is it ecologically unsound to harvest most tropical forests? What are the potential long-term effects of deforestation in the tropics?
Harvesting our Earth’s tropical forests is very ecologically unsound in many ways. These forests are being harvested and clear-cut in staggering rates and even if we begin taking necessary actions as a whole, worldwide, immediately we still may never get these forests back to where they should be in order to become sustainable once again.
The most commonly known effect that harvesting the rainforests has had is the extinction of the majority of the ...view middle of the document...

When it rains, nutrients enter the soil. Plant roots absorb the dissolved nutrients from the soil. When leaves fall, small organisms such as worms and insects break down the leaves as they decompose and this returns the nutrients to the soil. (library.thinkquest.org) However, when deforestation occurs, a loss of a protective cover for the soil happens. With deforestation, there will be a higher rate surface runoff and which results in a higher rate of soil erosion and soil leaching.
In soil erosion, the topsoil is being removed or washed away by the higher surface runoff. Soil leaching, a process by which nutrients are washed deeper into the soil, causes the top soil to become increasing infertile over time, This, through soil erosion and soil leaching, the soil in the deforested area gradually loses its fertility. Animals have poor nutrients and limited amounts of food to graze off of and eventually the animals will die. Also, when soil erodes there becomes more surface run off and rivers will begin to flood causing more harm to all species including plant life and higher bacteria in the water, which will effect human consumption and can cause major illnesses.
The trees in the rainforests play a major part in the photosynthesis process. In order to maintain healthy oxygen levels for our planet we rely on all plants and trees for this process to occur. Humans and animals release carbon dioxide and water, which is released into the air and taken in by plants and then released back out from them into fresh oxygen and glucose to be recycled yet again into human consumption. Plants and trees also take in the carbon that is released into the atmosphere from cars, factories and other fossil fuel burning sources.
With the majority of trees being forested every day the carbon levels are rising at staggering rates because the plants are not there to take it in to be turned back into oxygen fast enough. With the high amounts of carbon, which is hot, the Earth’s temperature is continuously rising. The rising temperature is causing ice caps to melt, sea levels to rise, animals such as the polar bears are unable to survive, and a rise in major tropical storms to occur.

29. Discuss all the agencies who failed in the Libby, Montana asbestos disaster. Discuss why each agency/business failed to respond to the dangers of asbestos exposure. What can be done to prevent further such disasters? 

The town of Libby, Montana was failed by W.R. Grace & Company for certain, but other agencies and people were to blame as well. Initially, Grace probably did not know that the insulating material they had mined in Libby was contaminated with asbestos, a mineral found in materials such as building materials that contains carcinogens (OSHA). Asbestos has been linked to many lung diseases especially pulmonary fibrosis, lung cancer, or mesothelioma (Peacock 75).
In her book, Andrea Peacock estimates that more than 35 million buildings in the United...

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