The study and management of ecosystems represents the most dynamic field of contemporary ecology. An ecosystem is defined as a space with unique physical features encompassing air, water, and land, and habitats supporting plant and animal life. It represents the interactions between living and nonliving things in an area. Ecosystem research bridges the gaps between fundamental ecology, environmental ecology and environmental problem solving. Ecosystems extend from bounded systems to spatially complex landscapes. The world is currently divided into seven biomes that include ocean, tundra, tropical rainforest, arctic (taiga), temperate forest, grassland and desert biomes with a biome composed of many similar components.
Occasionally an ecosystem could get out of balance whereby one or more species are favored while the other species are crowded. This could be caused by natural events or man- made factors like pollution. Of man's influence in the ecosystems, global warming has by far had the most effect in sending many ecosystems out of balance, and it is feared that whatever has been felt so far is just but a tip of the iceberg . This paper discusses the effect of human activities on ecosystems and environments and places emphasis on effect of global warming with the reference area as Philadelphia County in Pennsylvania.
Guattari (2005) extends the definition of ecology to encompass social relations and human subjectivity, as well as environmental concerns. He argues that the ecological crises that threaten our planet are the direct result of the expansion of a new form of capitalism and that a new ecosophical approach must be found which respects the differences. He blames the fast rate of plant and animal extinction on an infantilizing mass media for the disappearance of whole areas of human thought, feeling and sensibility and the social exclusion of the young, old and Philadelphia County is located in the US state of Philadelphia, has a population of 1.53 million inhabitants as of 2010 and covers part of the Delaware valley. It occupies an area of 143 square miles of which 135 square miles are land while the remaining 8 square miles are water
According to America Forests (2003) the Philadelphia County can be divided into three regions, which are forests, urban development and agricultural land. Philadelphia County is dominated by agricultural, grassland and other open space lands. In 1985, of the totals area open grassland comprised 41 %, heavy tree canopy 36 %, urban area 16 %, medium tree canopy 3 %, light tree canopy 1 % and water 2 %. By 2000, urban cover had increased by 22 %, grassland decreased by 8 %, heavy tree canopy decreased by 1.5 %, medium tree canopy increased by 10 % and light tree canopy increased by 14 %. Table 1 below gives a summary of the changes between 1985 and 2000.
Philadelphia County has seen a drastic change in land cover and environment use over the last 15 years. Open grassland and heavy tree canopy have all decreased in area coverage while medium tree canopy, light tree canopy and urban areas have all increased in area. Even though, the land cover changes are modest in terms of percentages over the last 15 years, the ecological impact of the changes is great when spread over the whole country .
An analysis of the changes in land cover by America Forests (2003) shows that ecologically the following losses were realized annually over the 15 year period as shown in lbs. added The burning of fossil fuels that include coal, oil and natural gases, as well as deforestation and agricultural and industrial practices, are some of the human activities that are fast altering the composition of ecosystems and altering the composition of the ecosystems discussed. Land use changes like clearing land for agriculture, logging and ranching also release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as the vegetation contains carbon released as carbon dioxide when the vegetation burns. These human activities have contributed to increase atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone in the lowest parts of the atmosphere.
Other environmental pressures that change the ecosystems include landscape changes, solid wastes and contaminants. Linear features such as roads, power transmission lines, seismic lines and pipelines create new corridors that influence human and animal movement while fragmenting and changing the general outlook of the ecosystem. The features can be permanent, semi-permanent or temporary. Solid waste places significant pressure on the environment because for each material thrown away a replacement is produced using fresh raw materials, more energy used, increased air pollution from incineration, water pollution and greenhouse gases emission increased. All these have a negative impact on the ecosystems .
Conservation measures should be stepped up with the aim of ensuring conservation of available ecosystems. Government policies and laws should also be reviewed while better policing done to ensure that those who perform activities resulting in environmental pollution be subjected to stiffer penalties to deter them from these activities. Tree cover establishment should. More resources should also be availed for research and development of cleaner forms of energy and more environmental friendly ways of doing things. The activities that result in environmental pollution should be checked fast to ensure that there is no more loss of biodiversity or changes in the ecosystem. In as much as human activities have had perceived negative effect on the environment it should, however, be noted that it is these same activities that have resulted in the emergence of new species after their division through created natural barriers and evolution along divergent. Some of the benefits to be expected from good environmental management include having a green area, storm water management, improved air quality and increased carbon
Copyright (c) 2012 Morgan D
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Morgan D is an experienced freelance writer for 5 years now, he writes research papers, essays papers, thesis proposal and dissertation papers.He is currently working with uk best essay provider visist the site to view more articles on various topics
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