Running Head: Ecologies and Environments
Ecologies and Environments
Ecology refers to the interaction of living things in their natural habitats. This includes animals and plants’ population, communities and the ecosystem as a whole. The subject of ecology is a wide one ranging from the study of the microscopic organisms in the nutrient cycles to the effects of forest cover on the atmosphere. Environment on the other hand includes both the living and non-living things existing in there natural settings on the earth’s surface. The environmental perception is distinguished by factors such as, “the complete ecological elements functioning as the natural systems without considerable intervention from human activities and the common natural resources and physical features with no distinction boundaries such as the climate, air, energy and radiation” (Pandey, 2006).
Local and Surrounding Ecologies and Environments
The ecological and natural environment in this region consists of the intensive forest cover inhabited by animals and microscopic organisms. The interaction between these components is what brings about successful cycles, which sustain the life of the whole environment including humans. All the living organisms depend on each other for survival. People for example depend on plants and animals for food. Plants depend on the microscopic organisms to grow, while the existence of the microscopic organisms is highly dependant on human activities. All these factors therefore play a major role in supporting each other and a failure in one brings the entire environmental composition down (Pandey, 2006).
Specific Factors that Distinguish the Local Ecology and Environment
The distinguishing factors in this ecology and environment include dense tropical rain forests and vegetation cover. These act as support to animal and human life in terms of provision of food and clean air. The conflict between man and nature is not experienced in this area since the environment favors their co-existence. The human population has not exceeded the carrying capacity and this is why the ecosystem in this region is in a better position compared to the other regions. The problem affecting most ecosystems is that of overpopulation, which eventually leads to a strain in the available resources. As a result of this, the natural environment is forced to handle this excess capacity leading to its depletion.
Effects of Human Activities on the Local Ecosystems
Human activities are a major cause of environmental degradation. These activities include “burning of coal, oil and natural gas extraction, mining, deforestation as well as various industrial and agricultural practices” (Pandey, 2006). Such practices alter the environmental composition bringing about atmospheric changes, which are a major contributor to the deteriorating climatic conditions. The result of this is the emission of the harmful greenhouse gases such as ozone, carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrous oxide among others. Some of these gases have corrosive effects on metal and may lead to serious skin disorders such as cancer. Changes in land use from vegetation cover to infrastructure development have played a major role in the destruction of the ecosystem. Vegetation absorbs the carbon dioxide gas emitted by animals and releases purified oxygen. Its destruction therefore leads to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is harmful to human respiratory health (Pandey, 2006).
The increasing human population is another serious threat to the ecosystem. With the population increase, more land is required for food production and settlement. This leads to the destruction of forest cover, which marks the beginning of environmental degradation. With no forest cover, rain becomes scarce leading to drought. Forests also play a major role in the absorbing of excess water hence preventing flooding. An increase in cases of floods in the recent past is a clear indication of an ecosystem that is suffering injustice from the destructive human activities.
Effects of Global Warming on the Local Ecosystem
Global warming refers to the increase in the earth’s temperature levels. “This is the most recent environmental hazard with the temperatures estimated to rise by a range of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees centigrade in the coming decade” (Pandey, 2006). The natural environment and human systems might not be in a position to adjust to this change of climate. In the end, this might bring about adverse effects on the environment as discussed below.
Sea life extinction
Global warming leads to the warming up of the sea’s surface and this environmental change causes considerable stress on sea life. “Some of these adverse effects include coral bleaching, the process through which coral reefs get rid of the algae that provides them with nourishment and color” (Pandey, 2006). Coral reefs are an important part of the sea ecology and their destruction might lead to the suffocation of the whole system. Diseases affecting sea life also spread at a faster rate under high temperatures conditions. This is an indication that over time and with continued global warming sea animals and plants might not be in a position to withstand the climatic changes and may become extinct.
Changes in habitation
Due to global warming, migration of wild animals in search for better habitats has become a common feature. The environmental changes brought about by global warming might not be in a position to support the ecosystem (Pandey, 2006). Many animal species therefore tend to migrate to other locations with more favorable environmental conditions. The result of this is an ecological imbalance, which eventually will lead to the extinction of some plants and animal species. With time, the effects of global warming will be experienced in most parts of the world and there will be no safe ground to migrate to.
Changing weather patterns
This is one of the most outstanding effects of global warming. The weather patterns are changing towards the extreme ends with some areas experiencing extreme drought conditions while others are experiencing extreme rains and flash floods. These changes are to blame for the widespread weather related disasters occurring in many parts of the world such as hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and tropical storms. These catastrophes cause serious damage to the environment and human life in general by destroying the whole ecosystem at a go. People are left with nothing to live on and may end up dying due to lack of food or from diseases.
The extreme climatic changes brought about by global warming results to the development of serious health problems, which were unheard of a while ago. The direct emission of ultra-violet rays to the earth’s surface owing to the wearing away of the ozone layer causes skin diseases in humans such as skin cancer (Pandey, 2006). The human body is not immune to environmental changes and this explains the raising level of serious health disorders among the human population.
Relative to other parts of the world, would your local ecosystems be affected more or less?
With time, this region will be affected by global warming just like the other parts of the world. Global warming is a universal menace affecting most of the parts of the earth’s surface. This particular ecosystem might not have experienced these effects now but with the way the trend is moving, it will fall a victim of this eventually. It is not possible for a specific region to be exempted completely from the global warming effects. This is because there is no barrier separating this region from the rest. With industrialization on the rise, most of the forested areas are at risk of being cleared to pave way for infrastructure development. Therefore, there is no region that is exempted from the effects of global warming. It is a global affair still on the rise (Pandey, 2006).
Pandey, B. N. (2006). Ecology and environment. New Delhi, India: A. P. H.