10Nightlight Map of the WorldCredit: NOAA, NASA
11
12Credit: Topfoto
132Humans are a prolific and op-portunistic species, amongthe most successful of all theEarth’s inhabitants. As the sizeof ...
14population is crucial to achieving sustain-able development. Population stabiliza-tion is also necessary for managing hu...
15A biome is a major ecological community of plantsand animals with similar life forms and environmen-tal conditions. Some...
16Asimple definition of world population is the num-ber of people alive on the Earth at any givenpoint in time. World popul...
17the average life expectancy in 1950 was 46 years; in 2050,it is projected to be 76 years (Hunter 2001).While an increase...
18migration potentially one of the mostimportant development and policy issuesof this century. The migration of laborgeogr...
19and waste generation that rival those of de-veloped countries. Unless all nations adoptmore sustainable methods of produ...
20use of family planning services can helplower fertility rates and delay child-bearingyears, thereby helping to slow popu...
212.2 CultureCulture encompasses the customary beliefs, social forms,and material traits of a racial, religious, or social...
22food and basic commodities (Wilk 2000).Explosive development of electronic me-dia, including the Internet, has intensifie...
23The disappearance of any language represents an irrepa-rable loss for the heritage of all humankind (Wurm 1970). Ithas b...
24Religion, an important aspect of culture,also has had an effect on the environment.The Western world’s attitudes towardn...
252.3 Land Use andDegradationGrowing crops, clearing land, planting trees, draining a wetland—these and many other activit...
26Also important in assessing land-useintensity is to examine the relative imper-viousness of the landscape. Impervioussur...
27in the specific agro-ecological context.The characterization of land resourcesincludes components of climate, soils andla...
28conditions (Pimentel et al. 1996). Thus theapproach to replacing eroded agriculturallands typically has been to clear mo...
29In the developing world, the area in forestplantations doubled from roughly 40 mil-lion to about 81 million hectares (99...
30ecosystem and the human social system(Eswaran et al. 1998). While much desert-ification is attributed to poor land-use pr...
31Case Study: Mt. Kenya–Diversityin EcosystemsChristian LambrechtsMount Kenya is located onthe equator 180 kilometresnorth...
322.4 Ecoregionsand EcosystemsAn ecosystem is an organic community of plants and an-imals viewed within its physical envir...
33conditions is homogeneous. Specific ad-vantages of using an ecoregion approachfor planning and decision-making include:• ...
34ImpactsSimplification of ecosystems and ecore-gions results in species extinctions anda loss of natural resources (Tilman...
352.5 Biodiversity,Invasive Species,andProtected AreasBiological diversity, or “biodiversity,” refers to thevariety of lif...
36increase to 1 000 to 10 000 times the natu-ral rate in the next 25 years (Lund et al.2003; Pellew 1996).Why are so many ...
37Despite our dependence on biodi-versity, it has been estimated that 27 000species are lost every year—roughly threeper h...
38Invasive SpeciesMost plants and animals exist in places inwhich they did not originate. They movedor were introduced int...
391980s was estimated to be nearly 1.3 bil-lion. Chickens—the world’s most abundantdomesticated bird—are generally believe...
40One of the most effective means forconserving wilderness is through the de-velopment of protected areas. A protectedarea...
41and timber production will need to in-crease in coming decades to keep up withpopulation growth and increasing demandfor...
42Case Study: Ranikhet Forests,Sonitpur, IndiaS. P. S. Kushwaha, A. Khan, B. Habib, A. Quadri and A. SinghThis is a study ...
432.6 EnergyConsumptionand ResourceExtractionEnergy is measured by its capacity to do work(potential energy) or the conver...
44ing a useful substance from a raw material(NCR&LB 2003). Such raw materials mayinclude fossil fuels, metals, minerals, w...
45Case Study: SWERA, the Solar and WindEnergy Resource AssessmentThe Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment(SWERA)—co-fi...
46produce will be consumed in the timeframe of a century or two (Hawken 1994;Tilford 2000).This rapid, large-scale consump...
47WindWind power is an ancient energy sourcethat has moved into the modern era. Aero-dynamically designed wind turbines ca...
48THE BLACK TRIANGLE, EUROPEMININGThe so-called Black Triangle is an area bordered by Germany, Poland, andthe Czech Republ...
49eventually causing severe deforestation along the border between the CzechRepublic and Germany. In the 2000 image, this ...
50COPSA MICA, ROMANIACopsa Mica is a large industrial city located in the very center ofRomania and is classified as an “en...
51the allowed levels. To make matters worse, a lead-smelting facility emittedfumes containing sulfur dioxide, lead, cadmiu...
52ESCONDIDA, CHILELocated at an elevation of 3 050 m (10 006 ft), Chile’s Escondida Mineis an open-pit copper, gold, and s...
53impoundment, which appears on the 1989 image as a white patch in thelower left corner. Impoundments of this type help re...
54EKATI, CANADAAs of 2001, the Ekati Mine was North America’s only operating dia-mond mine. Located in the north central N...
55Expanded mining exploration in the 1990s began a new era for this other-wise undeveloped region. Wildlife officials have c...
56OK TEDI MINE, PAPUA NEW GUINEAThe controversial Ok Tedi copper mine is located at theheadwaters of the Ok Tedi River, a ...
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  1. 1. 10Nightlight Map of the WorldCredit: NOAA, NASA
  2. 2. 11
  3. 3. 12Credit: Topfoto
  4. 4. 132Humans are a prolific and op-portunistic species, amongthe most successful of all theEarth’s inhabitants. As the sizeof the human population has increased,people have spread across the globe intoevery imaginable habitat. Throughouthuman history, people have demonstratedan uncanny ability to adapt to and survivein some very harsh places, including, mostrecently, outer space and the ocean—atleast for short periods of time.As human culture has evolved, peoplehave developed new ways of living in andusing their environment, and of helpingthemselves to all that the Earth has tooffer. Their ability to exploit the Earth’sseemingly endless resources has been a vi-tal key to the success of the human species.However, many major advances inhuman culture—from the cultivation ofcrops and the development of cities tomodern technologies—have tended toinsulate people from the very environmentthat shaped them and upon which theydepend. As a group, people have oftenforgotten that for every action taken thereis a reaction, an impact.The impacts of human activities onthe Earth often have both negative andpositive components. For example, whenpeople convert forests or grasslands tocropland they improve the means bywhich to feed their ever-growing numbers.At the same time, they invariably reducebiological diversity in the converted areas.Over time, people have rarely been fullyaware of the tremendous change they havewrought on the Earth or that their success-es have often been achieved at the expenseof other species and the environment.Since the early 1970s, many excellenttexts have been written about the plightof the world (Heywood 1995; Middleton1997; WRI 2000; Chew 2001; FAO 2001;Harrison and Pearce 2001; IPCC 2001;McNeill 2001; UNEP 2002a). This atlassupplements these works by providingillustrations of both positive and negativehuman-caused changes that have takenplace on the Earth. Satellite images, to-gether with photographs, provide a uniqueview of how people are impacting the ter-restrial environment and what the conse-quences of environmental change meanin terms of human well-being. The imagesand the changes they illustrate are diverse.But they are united by a common message:environmental change does matter.The International Conference onPopulation and Development Programmeof Action noted that stabilization of worldPeople and PlanetHuman Influences on the PlanetCredit: TopfotoCredit: Ed Simpson
  5. 5. 14population is crucial to achieving sustain-able development. Population stabiliza-tion is also necessary for managing humanimpacts on the Earth’s environment andresources. In 1999, the Earth’s humanpopulation reached 6 000 million, havinggrown during the mid-1990s at a rate of 13per cent per year, with an average annualaddition of 78 million individuals. As of1999, countries with populations of 100million or more included China, India, theUnited States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan,the Russian Federation, Bangladesh, Japan,and Nigeria. According to the mediumvariant of the United Nations’ populationestimates and projections, world popula-tion will reach 7 200 million by the year2015. Ninety-eight per cent of the popu-lation increase will take place in less-de-veloped regions of the world. Africa willexperience, by far, the most rapid rate ofgrowth (Population Division 2000).The overall impact that humans haveon the global environment is proportionalto the number of people on the Earth andthe average influence of each individual.If that overall impact is to be reduced, ad-dressing both of these factors is essential.Change in distribution of world population 1900 and 2000. Source: http://www.newint.org/issue309/Images/population.gifCase Study: Parrot’s BeakBetween Sierra Leone and Liberia,there is a small strip of land belongingto Guinea known as the “Parrot’s Beak.”As civil wars raged in Sierra Leoneand Liberia, hundreds of thousands ofrefugees have fled to relative safety inGuinea, many of them settling in theParrot’s Beak. The United Nations HighCommissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)estimates that the refugee populationconstitutes up to 80 per cent of the localpopulation there (UNEP 2000).The 1974 image of the Parrot’sBeak in Guinea (left) shows the sur-rounding territory of Liberia and SierraLeone. Scattered throughout the deepgreen forest of the Parrot’s Beak regionare small flecks of light green, wherecompounds of villages with surroundingagricultural plots are located. Severaldark spots in the upper left of the imageare most likely burn scars.The 2002 image (facing page) showsthe Parrot’s Beak region clearly definedby its light green color surrounded bydarker green forest. The light greenCredit: UNEP/GRID–GenevaDeforestation of indigenous palm trees inthe refugee camp has left barren hillsides.Population ChangeEurope(includingRussia)25%Asia 60%US 5%Africa 4.5%Latin America 3% Others 2.5%Asia Pacific(including formerSoviet Asia) 54%Africa 10%Latin America& Caribbean 8%Middle East &North Africa 6%North America 5%Others 3%Europe(includingRussia)14%
  6. 6. 15A biome is a major ecological community of plantsand animals with similar life forms and environmen-tal conditions. Some of the Earth’s major terrestrialbiomes include forests, grasslands, deserts, rainforests, and tundra. Different biomes are the sourceof different kinds of resources and processes (col-lectively called ecosystem services) such as water,soil, oil, natural gas and other fuels, minerals andother raw materials, wildlife habitat, erosion control,nutrient cycling, water filtration, food production,and genetic resources. The estimated global valueof the Earth’s biomes for ecosystem services aloneranges from US $16 trillion to US $54 trillion a year(Costanza et al. 1997).color is the result of deforestation inthe “safe area” where refugees haveset up camp. Many of the refugeesintegrated into local villages, createdtheir own family plots, and expandedthe zones of converted forest area untilthey all merged into the larger definedarea. In the upper part of the 2002 im-age the forest devastation is especiallyobvious, as areas that were green in the1974 image now appear gray. Logginginterests also moved into the higherelevations of this region, expanding thedeforested zone visible in the upperleft corner of the image.Overall impoverishment of theenvironment of the Parrot’s Beak isdirectly related to the rapidly increas-ing population in the area, mainly dueto immigration, and a growth rate ofabout three per cent among the indig-enous population. Natural resourcesare being exploited to create more ar-able land for crops, wood for charcoal,firewood and construction materials,and commercial logging for revenue.Source: UNEP 2000.Credit: UNEP/GRID–GenevaDeforestation is evident on the hills sur-rounding the refugee camp.Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and ShrublandsTemperate Grasslands, Savannas, and ShrublandsBoreal Forests / TaigaTemperate Conifer ForestsTemperate Broadleaf and Mixed ForestsTropical and Subtropical Coniferous ForestsDeserts and Xeric ShrublandsMangrovesBare Rock / IceMediterranean Forests, Woodlands, and ScrubTundraMontane Grasslands and ShrublandsFlooded Grasslands and SavannasTropical and Subtropical Dry Broadleaf ForestsTropical and Subtropical Moist Broadleaf ForestsBiomesSource: World Wildlife Fund Terrestrial Ecoregions Dataset.World Biomes
  7. 7. 16Asimple definition of world population is the num-ber of people alive on the Earth at any givenpoint in time. World population reached6 400 million in 2004 and it continues to grow by some80 million each year (Table 2.1). Since the 1950s, Chinahas been the world’s most populous country (Table 2.2).China’s population is currently greater than that of someentire world regions (Global Population Profile 2002). By2050, world population is estimated to reach 7 900 to10 900 million, when stabilization of the Earth’s popula-tion is likely to take place. Whether or not world popu-lation falls within that range by this middle of this cen-tury—rather than exceeding it—will depend upon manyof the choices and commitments that people make in thecoming years (UNFPA 2001).The size of any population changes as a result of fluc-tuations in three fundamental factors: birth rate, deathrate, and immigration or emigration. When any or all ofthese factors deviate from zero, the size of thepopulation will change (Global PopulationProfile 2002). The primary driving force ofpopulation change, whether in an individualcountry or for the entire world, is change inbirth and death rates.World population is growing more slowlythan was expected (Figure 2.1) as a result ofaid, family planning programs, and educa-tional and economic programs directed atwomen. People are also healthier and livinglonger than they did in the past; average lifeexpectancy has increased while crude birthrate and death rate are following a downwardtrend (Tables 2.3, 2.4, 2.5 and 2.6).Most future population growth is likely tobe in countries that have relatively large num-bers of young people and where large familiesare still the norm. Furthermore, declining mortality andincreased longevity have resulted in, and will continue tolead to, the expansion of older populations. Worldwide,2.1 World PopulationTable 2.1 – World population for given points in timeSource: ESA 2003Year Population1970 3 692 492 0001975 4 068 109 0001980 4 434 682 0001985 4 830 979 0001990 5 263 593 0001995 5 674 380 0002000 6 070 581 0002005 6 453 628 0002010 6 830 283 000Source: Global Population Profile 20021804192219591974198719992013202820481800 1850 1900 1950 2000 2050012345678910Population in billions Total world population118 years37 years15years13years12years14years15years20yearsSource: United Nations (1995b); U.S. Census Bureau, International Programs Center, International Data Base and unpublished tables.Figure 2.1: Time to successive billions in world population: 1800-2050.Credit: Topfoto
  8. 8. 17the average life expectancy in 1950 was 46 years; in 2050,it is projected to be 76 years (Hunter 2001).While an increase in life expectancy is a positive de-velopment, it presents a new set of challenges. In Europe,for example, where women give birth to an average of 1.4children, governments are concerned that there will betoo few workers in future years to support the growingnumber of retirees in the population. An aging popula-tion strains a nation’s social security system and pensionplans, and puts pressure on health budgets because ofhigher health care costs for the elderly. Some govern-ments are also concerned that a shortage of working-ageindividuals may lead to increased immigration, and that adecline in population may signal a weakening of a coun-try’s political and economic clout (Ashford 2004).One of the main reasons that world population hasgrown so rapidly over the last 200 years is that mortal-ity rates have declined faster than fertilityrates. Improved sanitation, health care,medicine, shelter, and nutrition have allled to dramatic increases in life expectancy.Fertility rates, on the other hand, declinedmore recently than mortality rates did(UNEP 1999).There is a striking paradox in globalpopulation trends: for more than two de-cades, many developing countries have ex-perienced a rapid decline in fertility whilefertility rates in most highly developed na-tions have remained very low (Figures 2.3and 2.4). Yet in the coming years, a massiveincrease of the world population is almostcertain (Heilig 1996).The Demographic Transition Model(Figure 2.2) shows how a country’s popula-tion can change as the country develops.However, this model does not take intoaccount migration. Worldwide, migrationof people out of rural areas is accelerating,making internal and internationalTable 2.3 – Median age for given pointsin time Source: ESA 2003.Year Median age1970 21.71975 22.01980 22.71985 23.41990 24.31995 25.32000 26.42005 27.42010 28.4Table 2.5 – Crude birth rate per 1 000population - Medium variant Source: ESA 2003.Period Crude birth rate1970-1975 30.91975-1980 28.11980-1985 27.41985-1990 26.81990-1995 24.51995-2000 22.72000-2005 21.32005-2010 20.4Table 2.6 – Crude death rate per 1 000population - Medium variant Source: ESA 2003.Period Crude death rate1970-1975 11.61975-1980 10.91980-1985 10.31985-1990 9.71990-1995 9.51995-2000 9.22000-2005 9.12005-2010 9.0Table 2.4 – Average life expectancy at birth - Mediumvariant Source: ESA 2003.Period Both sexes Male Femalecombined1970-1975 58.0 56.5 59.51975-1980 59.8 58.1 61.51980-1985 61.3 59.4 63.21985-1990 62.9 60.9 64.81990-1995 63.8 61.7 65.91995-2000 64.6 62.5 66.92000-2005 65.4 63.3 67.62005-2010 66.3 64.2 68.4Table 2.2 – The Top Ten Most Populous Countries: 1950, 2002, 20501950 2002 20501. China 1. China 1. India2. India 2. India 2. China3. United States 3. United States 3. United States4. Russia 4. Indonesia 4. Indonesia5. Japan 5. Brazil 5. Nigeria6. Indonesia 6. Pakistan 6. Bangladesh7. Germany 7. Russia 7. Pakistan8. Brazil 8. Bangladesh 8. Brazil9. United Kingdom 9. Nigeria 9. Congo (Kinshasa)10. Italy 10. Japan 10. MexicoSource: U.S. Census Bureau, International Programs Center, International Data Base are unpublished tables.Credit: Ed Simpson
  9. 9. 18migration potentially one of the mostimportant development and policy issuesof this century. The migration of laborgeographically, out of rural areas, andoccupationally, out of farm jobs, is one ofthe most pervasive features of agriculturaltransformations and economic growth. Yetin a world of complete and well-function-ing markets, there is little or no economicrationale for policies to reduce migration;the movement of labor out of agriculture isboth a quintessential feature of agriculturaltransformations and a prerequisite forefficient and balanced economic growth(Taylor and Martin 2002).Clearly, human numbers cannot contin-ue to increase indefinitely. Unfortunately,the more people there are and the longerthey live, the more competition there willbe for the Earth’s limited resources. Manycountries in the developing world are ap-proaching levels of resource consumptionFigure 2.2: The Demographic Transition Model shows how population growth occursnaturally in four stages. Stage 1: Birth rate and death rate are high, limiting both therate of increase and total population. Stage 2: Birth rate remains relatively high butdeath rate begins to fall, causing the population to grow rapidly. Stage 3: Decliningbirth rate and low death rate maintain continued population growth. Stage 4: Bothbirth rate and death rate are low, slowing population growth, but leaving a large totalpopulation. Source: http://www.geography.learnontheinternet.co.uk/topics/growth6.75.1 5.12.65.02.62.0 2.0 2.2 1.41970 2004Africa Asia Latin America& CaribbeanNorthAmericaEuropeFigure 2.3: Childbearing trends in major worldregions, 1970 and 2004Total fertility rate (children per woman)Source: UN Population Division. World Population Prospects: The 2002 Revision (1970data), and C. Haub, 2004 World Population Data Sheet (2004 data).Figure 2.4: Different patterns of fertilitydecline, 1970-2000012345671970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000BangladeshIndiaArgentinaThailandChildren per womanSources: Registrar General of India; Instituto Nacional de Estadística (Argen-tina); United Nations Population Division; Institute of Population and SocialResearch, Mahidol University, Thailand; Demographic and Health Surveys; andPopulation Reference Bureau estimates.Credit: Topfoto5,000 and higherNo data10 - 491 - 950 - 99100 - 199200 - 499500 - 9991,000 - 1,9992,000 - 4,9995,000 andhigherNo data 10 - 491 - 9 50 - 99 100 - 199 200 - 499 500 - 999 1,000 -1,9992,000 -4,999Population Densitypersons per square kmPopulation Densitypersons per square kmSource: Gridded Population of the World (GPW), Version 3.0 (v3) beta,2000, published by Columbia University Center for International EarthScience Information network (CIESIN).Source: Gridded Population of the World (GPW), Version 3.0 (v3) beta,2000, published by Columbia University Center for International EarthScience Information network (CIESIN).Population Density MapSource: http://beta.sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/
  10. 10. 19and waste generation that rival those of de-veloped countries. Unless all nations adoptmore sustainable methods of productionand consumption, the planet’s carryingcapacity will be exceeded (UNEP 1999).Natural resources are already severelylimited, and there is emerging evidencethat natural forces are already startingto control human population numbersthrough malnutrition and disease (Pimen-tel et al. 1999).The environmental challenges that peo-ple now face and most likely will continueto face in the future would be less difficultif world population were growing veryslowly or not at all. The number of peopleon the Earth and the rate at which thatnumber increases (Table 2.7) dramaticallyimpact the availability of water, soil, ar-able land, minerals, fuels, and many othernatural resources worldwide. Access to andCase Study: Monitoring Rapid UrbanExpansion of Tehran, Iran1975 and 2000Tehran is located at the foot of the AlborzMountains. The city occupies the northern partof the alluvial Tehran Plain, sloping from themountains to the flat Great Salt Desert. The ur-ban area is bounded by mountains to the northand east making it difficult to differentiate theurban area from the mountainous and desertarea that surrounds Tehran.The population of Tehran has grown three-fold since 1970 when the population was threemillion. In 1987, the city had grown to morethan seven million people and covered an areaof 575 km2 (230 square miles). Today the cityhas nine million residents.The rapid expansion of Tehran, as well as itssharp population growth in recent decades, hashad many adverse impacts on the environment.Air and water pollution are major problems inthe city. Urban areas are replacing farms andwater resources. A major concern is its locationon a recognized zone of active faulting with amodest to high seismic risk. Recent planningand construction techniques are designed toimprove the resistance to a major earthquakethat could threaten the city.19Credit: Saman Salari Sharif, UNEP-GRID GenevaThe map portrays the boundaries of urban areas with defined populations of 5 000 persons or more. Source: Modified from http://beta.sedac.ciesin.columbia.edu/gpw/global.jspGlobal Urban Extent Map
  11. 11. 20use of family planning services can helplower fertility rates and delay child-bearingyears, thereby helping to slow populationgrowth. Comprehensive population policiesare an essential element in a world devel-opment strategy that combines access toreproductive health services, education andeconomic opportunities, improved energyand natural resource technologies, andmore reasonable models of consumptionand what constitutes “the good life.” Such astrategy has the potential to bring humanityinto an enduring balance with the envi-ronment and the natural resources uponwhich people will always depend (Popula-tion Fact Sheet 2000).In addition to the overall global increas-es in population, the geographic distri-bution of human population underwentmassive changes during the 20th century(Figure 2.5). For example, between 1900and 1990, the population of northernSouth America increased by 214 million, or681 per cent, compared to the global aver-age population increase of 3 700 million, or236 per cent (Ramankutty andOlejniczak 2002).Population growth around Lake Victoria,Kenya, is significantly higher than in the restof Africa because of the wealth of naturalresources and economic benefits the lake re-gion offers. Note the increase in populationin a 100-km (62 miles) buffer zone aroundLake Victoria between 1960 and 2000. Dur-ing each decade, population growth withinthis zone outpaced the continental average.Source: UNEP/GRID- Sioux FallsLake Victoria, Kenya0 – 0.50.5 – 1010 – 100100 – 250250 – 500500 – 1000greater than 1000Population density(people per sq km)Table 2.7 – World Vital Events Per Time Unit: 2004(Figures may not add to totals due to rounding)Natural PopulationTime unit Births Death IncreaseYear 29 358 036 56 150 533 73 207 503Month 10 779 836 4 679 211 6 100 625Day 353 437 153 417 200 021Hour 14 727 6 392 8 334Minute 245 107 139Second 4.1 1.8 2.3Source: http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/ipc/pcweFigure 2.5: Population change in the 20th centurySource: http://www.bioone.org/pdfserv/i0044-7447-031-03-0251.pdfCredit: Ed SimpsonWaterLow (<25)Medium (25–100)High (>100)Population Density(people/km2)
  12. 12. 212.2 CultureCulture encompasses the customary beliefs, social forms,and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.Culture includes the set of values and institutions thatenables a society to develop and maintain its identity.Cultural signatures differ around the globe and oftenhold to very different ideals and ideas, such as the valueof economics as an integrating system of values or theimportance of technology and technological change asspringboards for human progress. Different cultures alsodiffer in their concepts of justice and fairness and theirbeliefs about the relationship between people and thenatural and spiritual world (UNEP 2002a).Today, many of these differences are disappearing ascultures worldwide become increasingly homogeneous.Major steps in this direction occurred in the fifteenthcentury with European exploration and colonization andin the nineteenth century with the Industrial Revolution.More recently, the creation of the European Union in1952 broke down many international barriers and con-currently reduced cultural diversity within Europe. Fol-lowing the collapse of the Eastern Bloc in 1989, capital-ism became more pervasive, less nationally limited, andmore powerful worldwide.Globally, world-spanning communication networksand inexpensive air travel have reduced the costs ofcross-cultural connections of all kinds, boosting televi-sion, tourism, and emigration to new levels. Global finan-cial integration has proceeded at a furious pace, alongwith the international flow of goods and services as coun-tries become increasingly dependent on each other forCredit: BigfotoSource: Terralingua, UNESCO, and WWF 2003The World’s Biocultural Diversity. People, Languages and Ecosystems
  13. 13. 22food and basic commodities (Wilk 2000).Explosive development of electronic me-dia, including the Internet, has intensifiedcultural homogenization by promoting theideals of a handful of cultures over thoseof many others. Western clothing is replac-ing ethnic dress in many countries, whileAmerican pop music is crowding out tradi-tional folk music (Gary and Rubino 2001).In short, current globalization of tradeand mass culture, together with unprec-edented demand for consumer goods, hassignificantly impacted indigenous culturesaround the globe.In many parts of the world, English hasbecome the dominant language, havingdisplaced native tongues and dialects. Ofthe 6 800 or so “living” languages spokenin the world today, nearly half are likely todisappear in the foreseeable future (Wurm1970; Gary and Rubino 2001). More than350 languages already have fewer than50 speakers (Table 2.8). Such rare lan-guages are more likely to decline or disap-pear than those that are more common(Sutherland 2003).Source: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/site/dl/free/007248179x/35299/map12.pdfLanguages of the WorldSource: Modified from http://www.neiu.edu/~ejhowens/104/6/cultur.gifLegendAnglo AmericanAustral EuropeanEuropeanIndicInsular OceanicLatin AmericaIslamicSino JapaneseSlavicSoutheast Asiasub Saharan AfricaWORLD CULTURAL REGIONS
  14. 14. 23The disappearance of any language represents an irrepa-rable loss for the heritage of all humankind (Wurm 1970). Ithas been likened to the extinction of species—an unfortunatecultural analog to the alarming events now being witnessed inthe biological world. In fact, the number of “living” languagesspoken on the Earth is dwindling faster than theplanet’s biodiversity.The interrelationship between culture and the environ-ment is also reflected in the depletion of energy resourcesand forced adoption of new energy sources. In Europe, coalreplaced relatively scarce wood as a fuel at the beginning of theIndustrial Revolution. Oil and natural gas, in turn, began toreplace coal during the early twentieth century. Nuclear, solar,and other energy sources are now replacing petroleum prod-ucts (O’Neil 2004).Table 2.8 – The most common languages in the worldApproximate number Countries withof native speakers substantial numbersLanguage (in the year 2000) of native speakers1. Mandarin Chinese 874 000 000 162. Hindi (India) 366 000 000 173. English 341 000 000 1044. Spanish 322-358 000 000 435. Bengali 207 000 000 9(India and Bangladesh)6. Portuguese 176 000 000 337. Russian 167 000 000 308. Japanese 125 000 000 269. German (standard) 100 000 000 4010. Korean 78 000 000 3111. French 77 000 000 5312. Wu Chinese 77 000 000 113. Javanese 75 000 000 414. Yue Chinese 71 000 000 2015. Telegu (India) 69 000 000 7Note: These statistics are only rough approximations in most cases.(Source: The World Almanac and Book of Facts, 2003)Credit: BigfotoSource: http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/site/dl/free/007248179x/35299/map11.pdfReligions of the World
  15. 15. 24Religion, an important aspect of culture,also has had an effect on the environment.The Western world’s attitudes towardnature were shaped largely by the Judeo-Christian tradition, which stressed theconcept of a world created solely for thebenefit of humans. According to this tradi-tion, “God planned all [of creation] explic-itly for man’s benefit and rule: no item inthe physical creation had any purpose saveto serve man’s purposes.” (White 1967).Christianity, and Western civilization as awhole, held a view of nature that separatedhumans from the rest of the natural worldand encouraged exploitation of it for thesole benefit of the human species (Thorn-gren 2003). This cultural philosophy stoodin stark contrast to many older, indigenousreligious traditions, in which people wereseen as part of nature and spirits inhabitedanimals, plants, and even non-living envi-ronmental components such as mountainsand rivers.Much has been said about the expan-sion of Western culture to the detrimentof others. It is clear that many individualsaspire to Western lifestyles, while others as-sociate Western cultural values with selfishindividualism and excessive consumption.The spread of Western culture is both acause and an effect of economic globaliza-tion, aided by the far-reaching penetrationof information technologies and electronicmedia. At the same time, there have beennationalist and religious reactions againstthat culture, sometimes resulting in terror-ist activities and in open warfare within orbetween nations (UNEP 2002a).Homogenization of culture, whetherWestern-influenced or not, should improvepeoples’ ability to communicate with oneanother and, in doing so, reduce conflicts.Conversely, variety in all aspects of life hasbeen a source of wonder and celebrationfor countless centuries, and the loss of thatvariety is an unfortunate prospect (Garyand Rubino 2001).A natural wonder formed by natural processes, RainbowBridge (far left) straddles a tributary of the ColoradoRiver in southern Utah in the United States. Two con-temporary bridges, one from Sydney, Australia (left),and the other from London, England (below left), echothe natural form of Rainbow Bridge, but are the obviousbyproducts of modern culture.Credit: Ed SimpsonCredit: BigfotoCredit: BigfotoCredit: USGS
  16. 16. 252.3 Land Use andDegradationGrowing crops, clearing land, planting trees, draining a wetland—these and many other activities fall into the broad category of landuse, or how people use land. Land-use intensity is the extent towhich land is used. It is an indication of the amount and degree ofdevelopment in an area, and a reflection of the effects generatedby that development (Planning Department 2001).As a measure of activity, land-use intensity can range from verylow (for example, a pristine wilderness area) to intermediate (amanaged forest ecosystem) to very high (urban and industrialsettings) (Lebel and Steffen 1998). From a global change perspec-tive (Figure 2.6), land-use intensity is an important characteristicin assessing change and its impact (Berka et al. 1995). Land-useintensity is determined by the spatial requirements of a land-useactivity, relationship to open space, requirements for infrastruc-ture (transportation routes, water, sewer, electricity, and commu-nications), and environmental impact. Parameters for measuringland-use intensity typically include:• type of land-use activity, such as agriculture, grazing, woodproduction, or residential, commercial or industrial usage,• duration of use,• number of people, animals, plants, structures, or machinesthat occupy the land during a given period, and• amount of land involved.Figure 2.6: This series of illustrations depicts global land-use change, particularlythe expansion of cropland and grazing land, between 1700 and 1990. Credit: KleinGoldewijk, K., 2001. Source: NASA 2002, http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020926landcover.htmlCredit: Topfototropical evergreen/deciduous forestsavanagrassland and steppeopen shrub landtemperate deciduous foresttemperate needle-leaf evergreen forestintensive agriculture marginal cropland used for grazingdesert
  17. 17. 26Also important in assessing land-useintensity is to examine the relative imper-viousness of the landscape. Impervioussurfaces, such as paved roads, inhibit orentirely block the absorption of water byunderlying soil (Forney et al. 2001). Oncepaved or otherwise made impervious, landis not easily reclaimed. As environmentalistRupert Cutler noted (Brown 2001),“Asphalt is the land’s last crop.”Land-use intensity trends are usuallyexpressed through changes in inputs,management, or number of harvests over agiven period of time. Only changes withinthe same land-use category and on thesame area (change of intensity)—as op-posed to changes from one type of landuse to another (for example, forest tocropland)—are taken into account whenassessing trends (van Lynden et al. n.d.;FAO 2002).The Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZ)methodology (Figure 2.7) is a system devel-oped by the Food and Agriculture Organi-zation of the United Nations (FAO) withthe collaboration of the International Insti-tute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA),that enables rational land use planning onthe basis of an inventory of land resourcesand evaluation of biophysical limitationsand potentials. This methodology utilizesa land resources inventory to assess, forspecified management conditions andlevels of inputs, all feasible agriculturalland-use options and to quantify expectedproduction of cropping activities relevantFigure 2.8: A satellite image reveals a typical “feather” or “fish-bone” pattern of deforestation in Brazil. The pattern followsthe construction of a new road through the rain forest. Roadsprovide easy access for mechanicized logging to clear cut for-est sections. Clear cut sections can then be turned into agricul-tural fields as roads provide easy access to local markets.Source: UNEP/GRID–Sioux FallsB R A Z I LR o n d ô n i aAriquemmesSão JoaoJoao FilipeRio BrancoSão CruzUru-Eu-Wau-WauIndigenousAreaPacaás NovosNational ParkKaritianaIndigenousAreaRioCandeiasRioJamariB R A Z I LR o n d ô n i a0 10KilometersB R A Z I LR o n d ô n i aAriquemmesSão JoaoRio BrancoSão CruzananousaRioCandeiasRioJamariB R A Z I LR o n d ô n i aFigure 2.7: Conceptual framework of the Agro-Ecological Zones methodologySource: FAO 2000, http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/agll/gaez/index.htm19 Sep 2001
  18. 18. 27in the specific agro-ecological context.The characterization of land resourcesincludes components of climate, soils andlandform, which are basic for the supply ofwater, energy, nutrients and physical sup-port to plants (FAO 2000).Worldwide, the effect people are havingon the Earth is substantial and growing.Satellite images reveal in startling detailthe signs of human impact on the land-scape. From the herringbone patternsof deforestation etched into once-undis-turbed rain forests (Figure 2.8) to thepatchwork patterns of agricultural fieldsand concrete splotches of urban sprawl,the evidence that people have become apowerful force capable of reshaping theEarth’s environment is everywhere.Scientists estimate that between one-third and one-half of the Earth’s landsurface has been transformed by humanactivities (Figure 2.9) (Herring n.d.). Theactivity that has had the greatest impact onthe global landscape is agriculture. Twelveper cent of the world’s land surface—anarea equivalent to that of the South Ameri-can continent—is under permanentcultivation (Ramankutty and Foley 1999;Devitt 2001).Over the next 30 years, the annual rateof growth in global crop production is ex-pected to decrease. However, the Food andAgriculture Organization of the UnitedNations predicts that production will stillexceed demand, despite the world’s grow-ing population. By 2030, 75 per cent of theprojected global crop production will oc-cur in developing countries, compared to50 per cent in the early 1960s. Increases inproduction will be achieved by improvingplant yields and through more intensiveland-use activities, including multi-crop-ping or high-cropping intensities (UCS2004). In light of these projections, contin-ued support of agricultural research andpolicies in developing countries is vital.Nearly one-third of the world’s crop-land—1 500 million hectares—has beenabandoned during the past 40 yearsbecause erosion has made it unproductive(Pimentel et al. 1995). Restoring soil lostby erosion is a slow process; it takes rough-ly 500 years for a mere 2.5 cm (1 inch)of soil to form under agriculturalSource: http://www.isric.nl/Global Soil Degradation MapCredit: Topfoto27Source: http://www.isric.nl/
  19. 19. 28conditions (Pimentel et al. 1996). Thus theapproach to replacing eroded agriculturallands typically has been to clear more andmore areas of grassland or forest and con-vert them to cropland. The ever-growingneed for agricultural land accounts for 60to 80 per cent of the world’s deforestation(Figure 2.9).Despite such “replacement” strategies,the amount of available croplandworldwide has declined to 0.27 hectare(0.67 acres) per person (Pimentel et al.1996). It is possible to feed one adult ona plant diet grown on about 0.2 hectares(0.5 acres) of land (Knee 2003)—andthis land-per-person minimum is roughlywhat will be available when worldpopulation reaches 8 000 million—butonly if crop yields now being achievedin developed countries are achievedworldwide. To do so requires that mostcountries’ inputs of fertilizer, and probablypesticides, rise to match those of NorthAmerica and Europe. Furthermore, anymechanization of crop production willentail additional energy consumption.Increased mechanization is likely giventhe mass migration from rural areas tocities currently underway on all continents.While agriculture accounts for only abouttwo per cent of energy consumption inNorth America and Europe, it accountsfor roughly ten per cent of energyconsumption in the rest of the world(Knee 2003).The shortage of cropland, together withfalling productivity, is a significant factorcontributing to global food shortages andassociated human malnutrition. Politicalunrest, economic insecurity, and unequalfood distribution patterns also contributeto food shortages worldwide (Pimentel etal. 1996).In addition to agriculture, the globaltrend toward urbanization is another keyfactor bringing change to the landscape.Historically, forests and grasslands havebeen converted to cropland. Increasingly,cropland is being converted to urban areas(Ramankutty and Foley 1999; Devitt 2001).Millions of hectares of cropland in theindustrial world have been paved to createroads and parking lots. The average car re-quires 0.07 hectares (0.17 acres) of pavedland for roads and parking space(Brown 2001).If farmers worldwide fail to meet thechallenge of increasing yields on existingcropland, or they cannot access the toolsnecessary to achieve increased yields, theonly alternative will be to clear the world’sremaining forests and grasslands (Green2001). Yet indications are that the worlddoes not have enough forests to fulfill allthe current and future demands beingplaced on them (Nilsson 1996).As natural forests are exhausted orcome under protection, the demand forwood and wood products will be increas-ingly satisfied by tree farms. Between 1980and 1995, forest plantations in developedcountries increased from 45-60 millionhectares (111-147 million acres)to 80-100million hectares (198-247 million acres).Credit: TopfotoFigure 2.9: Human-induced land degradation (severe and very severe) as percentage of total land areaSource: World Atlas of Desertification (UNEP 1992)302520151050Area(millionsq.km) Total humaninduced landdegradationTotal landSub-SaharanAfricaNorthAfricaand NearEastNorthAsia,east ofUralsAsia andPacificSouthandCentralAmericaNorthAmericaEurope
  20. 20. 29In the developing world, the area in forestplantations doubled from roughly 40 mil-lion to about 81 million hectares (99-200million acres) over the same period. Morethan 80 per cent of forest plantations inthe developing world are found in Asia,where demand for paper and other woodproducts continues to grow rapidly. For-est plantations now cover more than 187million hectares (462 million acres) world-wide. That accounts for less than fiveper cent of the Earth’s total forested area,but 20 per cent of current global wood pro-duction (Larsen 2003).Land Degradationand DesertificationBy the beginning of the twenty-first cen-tury, unprecedented global environmentalchanges had reached sufficient propor-tions to impinge upon human health—si-multaneously and often interactively. Thesechanges include the processes of landdegradation and desertification (Menneand Berollini 2000).Land degradation is the decline in thepotential of land resources to meet hu-man economic, social, and environmentalfunctions needs (Africa Mountain Forumn.d.). Desertification is soil degradation inarid regions, often to such an extent thatit is impossible to make the soil produc-tive again (Table 2.9). Desertification isthe result of complex interactions betweenunpredictable climatic variations andunsustainable land use practices by com-munities who, in their struggle to survive,overexploit agricultural, forest, and waterresources (CIDA 2001).Over 3 600 million hectares (8 896 mil-lion acres)—25 per cent of the Earth’s landarea—are affected by land degradation.Desertification occurs to some extent on30 per cent of irrigated lands, 47 per centof rain-fed agricultural lands, and 73 percent of rangelands (Figure 2.10). Annually,an estimated 1.5 to 2.5 million hectares(3.7 to 6 million acres) of irrigated land,3.5 to 4.0 million hectares (8.6 to 9 mil-lion acres) of rain-fed agricultural land,and about 35 million hectares (86 millionacres) of rangeland lose all or part of theirproductivity due to land degradation pro-cesses (Watson et al. 1998).Desertification and drought are prob-lems of global dimension that directlyaffect more than 900 million people in100 countries, some of which are amongthe least developed nations in the world(Watson et al. 1998). The consequences ofdesertification include (UNEP 2002a):• reduction of the land’s natural resil-ience to recover from climatic distur-bances;• reduction of soil productivity;• damaged vegetation cover, such thatedible plants are easily replaced bynon-edible ones;• increased downstream flooding, re-duced water quality, sedimentation inrivers and lakes, and siltation of reser-voirs and navigation channels;• aggravated health problems due towind-blown dust, including eye infec-tions, respiratory illnesses, allergies,and mental stress;• undermined food production; and• loss of livelihoods forcing affectedpeople to migrate.Desertification results from misman-agement of land and thus deals with twointerlocking, complex systems: the naturalCredit: TopfotoTable 2.9 – Degree of soil degradation by subcontinental regions (per cent of total area)None Light Moderate Strong ExtremeAfrica 83 6 6 4 0.2Asia 82 7 5 3 <0.1Australiasia 88 11 0.5 0.2 <0.1Europe 77 6 15 1 0.3North America 93 1 5 1 0South America 86 6 6 1 0World:Per centage 85 6 7 2 <0.1Area (‘000 km2) 110 483 7 490 9 106 2 956 92Source: World Atlas of Desertification (UNEP 1992)
  21. 21. 30ecosystem and the human social system(Eswaran et al. 1998). While much desert-ification is attributed to poor land-use prac-tices, hotter and drier conditions broughtabout by potential global warming wouldextend the area prone to desertificationnorthwards to encompass areas currentlynot at risk. In addition, the rate of deserti-fication would increase due to increasesin erosion, salinization, fire hazard, andreductions in soil quality. As a result, theprocess of desertification is likely to be-come irreversible (Karas n.d.).Worldwide, an estimated 6 to 27 millionhectares (15 to 67 million acres) of landare lost each year to desertification. Seven-ty per cent of the world’s dry land is de-graded enough to be vulnerable to deserti-fication (Anon 2002). The amount of landsusceptible to desertification (areas knownas tension zones) also is increasing. Cur-rently, 7.1 million km2 (2.7 million squaremiles) of land face low risk of human-in-duced desertification, 8.6 million km2(3.4 million square miles) are at moderaterisk, 15.6 million km2 (6.2 million squaremiles) are at high risk, and 11.9 millionkm2 (4.6 million square miles)are at veryhigh risk. Tension zones result from:• excessive and continuous soil erosionresulting from overuse and improperuse of lands, especially marginal andsloping lands;• nutrient depletion and/or soil acidi-fication due to inadequate replenish-ment of nutrients or soil pollutionfrom excessive use of organic andinorganic agrichemicals;• reduced water-holding capacity ofsoils due to reduced soil volume andreduced organic matter content, bothof which are a consequence of erosionand reduced infiltration due to crust-ing and compaction;• salinization and water-logging fromover-irrigation without adequatedrainage; and• unavailability of water stemming fromdecreased supply of aquifers anddrainage bodies.The following negative effects are high-est in the tension zones (Eswaran et al.1998):• systematic reduction in crop perfor-mance, leading to failure in rain-fedand irrigated systems;• reduction in land cover and biomassproduction in rangelands, with anaccompanying reduction in quality offeed for livestock;• reduction of available woody plantsfor fuel and increased distances toharvest them;Credit: TopfotoFigure 2.10: Soils are classified according to the proportions of different sized particles they contain.As seen in this figure, the largest percentage of world land area unsuitable for agriculture is land thatis too dry. Source: FAO 2000, http://www.fao.org/desertification/default.asp?lang=en
  22. 22. 31Case Study: Mt. Kenya–Diversityin EcosystemsChristian LambrechtsMount Kenya is located onthe equator 180 kilometresnorth of Nairobi. It is a soli-tary mountain of volcanicorigin with the base diam-eter of about 120 km (75miles). Its broad cone shapereaches an altitude of 5 199 m (17 057 ft) withdeeply incised U-shaped valleys in the upperparts. Forest vegetation covers the major partof the mountain, with a total area around220 000 hectares (548 574 acres). The forestsare critical and invaluable national assets thatmust be protected.High diversity in ecosystems and speciesThe wide range in altitude clines—from 1 200to 3 400 m (3 900 to 11 000 ft)—and rainfallclines from—from 900 mm/year (35 in/year)in the north to 2 300 mm/year (91 in/year) inthe south-eastern slopes—contributes to thehighly diverse mosaic patterns of Mount Kenyaforests. Mount Kenya adds value to the na-tion by providing tourism potential and localcultural and economic benefits. It also pro-vides important environmental services to thenation such as a water catchment area of theTana River where 50 per cent of Kenya’s totalelectricity output is generated.Forest conservation initiativeFollowing a 1999 aerial survey, the entire forestbelt of Mount Kenya was gazetted as NationalReserve and placed under the management ofKenya Wildlife Services in the year 2000. In2002, a study was carried out to assess the effec-tiveness of the new management practices putin place in 2000. The study revealed significantimprovement in the state of conservation ofthe forests.This sub-scene of an ASTER satellite image showssand dunes covering an area roughly 12 km x 15 km(8 x 9 miles) in the Thar Desert of northwesternIndia and eastern Pakistan. The dunes here shiftconstantly, taking on new shapes. Approximately 800km (497 miles) long and 490 km (305 miles) wide,the Thar Desert is bounded on the south by a saltmarsh known as the Rann of Kutch, and on the westby the Indus River plain. The desert’s terrain is pri-marily rolling sand hills, with scattered outcroppingsof shrub and rock. Source: NASA 2004, http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery/gallery.htm?name=TharForest is shown in true color (red) on these images. Note the changes in forest cover in the boxes.Source: UNEP/GRID–Nairobi• significant reduction in water fromoverland flows or aquifers and a con-comitant reduction in water quality;• encroachment of sand and crop dam-age by sand-blasting and wind erosion;and• increased gully and sheet erosion bytorrential rain.Ultimately, desertification processes im-pact about 2 600 million people, or 44 percent of the world’s population (Eswaranet al. 1998).31Credit: NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team.
  23. 23. 322.4 Ecoregionsand EcosystemsAn ecosystem is an organic community of plants and an-imals viewed within its physical environment (habitat);the ecosystem results from the interaction between soiland climate. It is a dynamic complex of plant, animal,and microorganism communities and their non-livingenvironment interacting as a functional unit (UNEP-WCMC 2003).An ecoregion is a cartographical delineation of arelatively large unit of land or water containing a geo-graphically distinct assemblage of species, natural com-munities, and environmental conditions. An ecoregionis often defined by similarity of climate, landform, soil,surface form, potential natural vegetation, hydrology,and other ecologically relevant variables. Ecoregionscontain multiple landscapes with different spatial pat-terns of ecosystems.The ecoregion concept is one of the most importantin landscape ecology, both for management and un-derstanding (Hargrove and Hoffman 1999). Ecoregionclassifications are based on particular environmentalconditions and designed for specific purposes, and nosingle set of ecoregions would be appropriate for allpotential uses (Wikipedia n.d.).The environment of an ecoregion in terms ofclimate, resource endowments, and socioeconomicCredit: TopfotoTropical rainforestTropical moistdeciduous forestTropical dry forestTropical shrublandTropical desertTropical mountainPolarWaterNo DataSubtropical humid forestSubtropical dry forestSubtropical steppeSubtropical desertSubtropical mountainTemperate oceanic forestTemperate continental forestTemperate steppe/prairieBoreal coniferous forestBoreal tundra woodlandBoreal mountainTemperate desertTemperate mountainSCALE 1:150,000,000GLOBAL ECOLOGICAL ZONESSource: USGS National Center for EROS
  24. 24. 33conditions is homogeneous. Specific ad-vantages of using an ecoregion approachfor planning and decision-making include:• easier identification of production capa-bilities and constraints;• better targeting of prospectivetechnologies;• improved assessment of responses tonew technologies; and• wider adoption and larger impact ofresearch outputs (Saxena et al. 2001).TrendsAn increase in average global tempera-ture has the potential to bring aboutdramatic change in ecosystems. Somespecies may be forced out of their habitats(possibly to extinction) because of chang-ing conditions. Other species may flourishand spread. Few, if any, terrestrial ecore-gions on the Earth are expected to remainunaffected by significant global warming.Since 1970, there has been a 30per cent decline in the world’s livingthings and the downward trend is continu-ing at one per cent or more per year (Col-lins 2000; UNEP 1997). Table 2.10 showsan increase in the number of endangeredand vulnerable species between the years2000–2003. Modification of landscapes,loss of native species, introduction ofexotic species, monoculture-focused agri-culture, soil enhancement, irrigation, andland degradation have all tended to “sim-plify” ecosystems, leading to a reductionin biodiversity. In aquatic environments,eutrophication and habitat destructionhave had a similar effect (Tilman et al.2001). As ecosystems become simpler, sodo ecoregions.Ecoregion and ecosystem fragmenta-tion also contributes to a decline in biodi-versity and threatens many species. Glob-ally, over half of the temperate broadleafand mixed forests and nearly one quarterof the tropical rain forests have been frag-mented or removed (Wade et al. 2003).Table 2.10 – Loss of biodiversity from 2000 to 2003—expressed as changes in speciesnumbers—in animals and plants classified as critically endangered, endangered, andvulnerableCritically Endangered Endangered VulnerableGroup 2000 2002 2003 2000 2002 2003 2000 2002 2003Mammals 180 181 184 340 339 337 610 617 609Birds 182 182 182 321 326 331 680 684 681Reptiles 56 55 57 74 79 78 161 159 158Amphibians 25 30 30 38 37 37 83 90 90Fishes 156 157 162 144 143 144 452 442 444Insects 45 46 46 118 118 118 392 393 389Mollusks 222 222 250 237 236 243 479 481 474Plants 1 014 1 046 1 276 1 266 1 291 1 634 3 311 3 377 3 864Source: http://www.redlist.org/info/tables/table2.htmlCredit: Topfoto
  25. 25. 34ImpactsSimplification of ecosystems and ecore-gions results in species extinctions anda loss of natural resources (Tilman et al.2001). Climate change and the way inwhich ecological communities respond toit have enormous conservation implica-tions. These include developing awarenessof the transience of native ranges andplant associations and the significance ofpopulation declines and increases, as wellas the need to develop targets and refer-ences for restoration, and strategies fordealing with global warming (Millar 2003).For example, changes in the potential dis-tribution of tree and shrub taxa in NorthAmerica in response to projected climatechange are expected to be far-reachingand complex; growing ranges for variousspecies will shift not only northward andupward in elevation but in all directions(Shafer et al. 2001). Some models predictthat more than 80 per cent of the world’secoregions will suffer extinctions as aresult of global warming (Malcolm et al.2002). Ecoregions expected to be mostdramatically altered by climate changeinclude the boreal forests of the North-ern Hemisphere, the fynbos of SouthernAfrica, and the Terai-Duar savanna andgrasslands of northeastern India (Malcolmet al. 2002).Credit: NRCSCredit: Topfoto
  26. 26. 352.5 Biodiversity,Invasive Species,andProtected AreasBiological diversity, or “biodiversity,” refers to thevariety of life on the Earth in all its forms. Thereare three levels of biodiversity: biodiversity of alandscape or ecosystem, species biodiversity, andgenetic biodiversity (IUCN, UNEP, and WWF1991). These three levels are intimately connected.For example, genetic diversity is often the key tosurvival for a species, equipping it with the neces-sary resources to adapt to changing environmentalconditions. Species diversity, in turn, is typically ameasure of ecosystem health (Rosenzweig 1999).We have just begun to identify and fully un-derstand the diverse living things that currentlyinhabit the Earth. Scientists have discovered anddescribed roughly 1.75 million species to date.That number is expected to increase substantiallywhen all marine organisms, arthropods, bacteria,and viruses are eventually added to the list. Tragi-cally, however, humans are destroying this greatdiversity at an alarming rate. Rates of human-in-duced species extinction are estimated to be 50 to100 times the natural background rate; this couldCredit: Gyde LundCredit: www.invasive.org
  27. 27. 36increase to 1 000 to 10 000 times the natu-ral rate in the next 25 years (Lund et al.2003; Pellew 1996).Why are so many species becomingextinct? Human activities over the lastthree centuries have significantly trans-formed the Earth’s environment, primarilythrough the conversion of natural ecosys-tems to agriculture (Ramankutty and Foley1999). It is estimated that cropland ex-panded from 3-4 million km2 (1.2-1.5 mil-lion square miles) in 1700 to 15-18 millionkm2 (5.8-6.9 million square miles) in 1990,primarily at the expense of forests. At thesame time, grazing lands expanded from 5million km2 (1.9 million square miles) in1700 to 31 million km2 (12 million squaremiles) in 1990, largely via the conversion ofnative grasslands (Goldewijk and Raman-kutty 2001). In addition to agriculture-driv-en landscape transformations, the moveto monoculture-based forms of agriculturehas contributed to declining biodiversity.Wild plants and animals are a majorsource of food. Billions of people still har-vest wild or “bush” food around the world.Between one-fifth and one-half of all foodconsumed by poor people in developingcountries is gathered rather than culti-vated. On a global scale, ocean fish caughtin the wild account for 16 per cent of thehuman diet (Harrison and Pearce 2001).Wild plants are also a major source ofmedicine, and the loss of biological diver-sity has serious implications in terms ofhuman health. Of the 150 most frequentlyprescribed drugs, more than half arederived from or patterned after chemicalcompounds found in plants (Brehm 2003).Moreover, plants are an important sourceof fuel. Nearly 15 per cent of the world’senergy is derived from the burning of plantmaterials (De Leo and Levin 1997).Worldwide, people eat only a small frac-tion of the 70 000 plants known to be ed-ible or to have edible parts (Wilson 1989).But retaining biodiversity is still vital forthe food supply, since most food crops con-stantly require an infusion of “wild” genesto maintain their resistance to ever-evolv-ing pests (Harrison and Pearce 2001).
  28. 28. 37Despite our dependence on biodi-versity, it has been estimated that 27 000species are lost every year—roughly threeper hour. Other estimates put the numbermuch higher. The greatest loss of bio-diversity is currently taking place in wettropical regions where rain forest ecosys-tems are being altered dramatically. Butloss of biodiversity is also evident in drierregions, due to desertification. Major con-tributors to species extinctions and loss ofbiodiversity worldwide include:• human population growth;• unsustainable patterns of consump-tion such as over-harvesting of plantand animal resources;• poor agricultural practices;• increased production of wastes andpollutants;• urban development; and• international conflict (UNEP 2002b).Loss of biodiversity occurs hand-in-hand with habitat loss, and habitat loss isgenerally greatest where human popula-tion density is highest (Harrison 1997).One type of habitat loss is fragmentation.Fragmentation occurs where a once-con-tinuous ecosystem is broken up into manysmall, poorly connected patches of land,which happens when blocks of trees areremoved from a forest. A change in landcover typically accompanies fragmenta-tion. Six categories of fragmentation havebeen identified (interior, perforated,edge, transitional, patch, and undeter-mined) depending on how a given areaof land is broken up (Riitters et al. 2000).Fragmentation may be human-induced ordue to natural causes such as fire, floods,or wind. Fragmentation may create morediverse landscapes than were originallypresent, and while it may destroy habitatsof some species, it can also create habitatsfor others.37Left to right: Junipers near near Paulina, Oregon. Without natural fires to control their spread,junipers can become invasive in rangelands (Credit: Gyde Lund). Women herding goats (Credit:Topfoto). Cattle grazing in a bog (Credit: Topfoto). Kudzu taking over the land and trees in thesoutheastern United States (Credit: Gyde Lund).Photos left to right: A family of elephants in Africa (Credit: Gyde Lund). A clear-cut section offorest (Credit: Topfoto). Yellowstone National Park (Credit: Gyde Lund). People often peel the loosebark off birches for souvenirs. Danforth, ME USA (Credit: Randy Cyr, GREENTREE Technolo-gies, www.forestryimages.org).
  29. 29. 38Invasive SpeciesMost plants and animals exist in places inwhich they did not originate. They movedor were introduced into new areas overtime. While rooted plants cannot them-selves move from place to place, the dis-persion of their seeds by wind, water, andanimals has enabled them to spread intomany new habitats.An introduced species is one whoseexistence in a given region is due to sometype of human activity. That activity mayenable the species to cross natural geo-graphic barriers or it may transform condi-tions in an area as to be in some way favor-able to the species’ growth and spread.Introduced species are also called alien, orexotic, species.Many introduced species have beenactively transported by people to new areasfor specific purposes and have playedimportant and beneficial roles in humanhistory. Most modern agricultural cropswere introduced into the regions theynow inhabit. For instance, corn (maize) isthought to have originated in Mexico some7 000 years ago. Today it is found world-wide. Wheat probably originated in theMiddle East. Currently, wheat is grown onmore land area worldwide than any othercrop and is a close third to rice and corn intotal world production.Many modern domesticated animalswere also new species introductions atsome point in their history. Modern do-mestic cattle evolved from a single earlyancestor, the auroch. Cattle were domes-ticated between 10 000 and 15 000 yearsago near the boundary of Europe and Asiaor Southwest Asia. Cattle are now widelydistributed throughout the world. Thetotal world cattle population in the lateFigure 2.11: The number and extent of the world’sprotected lands increased significantly during theperiod from 1872 to 2003. The greatest increase hasoccurred over the past few decades. In 2003, the totalnumber of protected sites surpassed 100 000, whiletotal area increased to more than 18 million km2 (7million square miles). Source: Chape et al. 2003100,00080,00060,00040,00020,00001872 1902 1917 1932 1947 1952 1962 1977 1992 200302,000,0004,000,0006,000,0008,000,00010,000,00012,000,00014,000,00016,000,00018,000,000Number of sitesArea of SitesCumulative Growth in Protected Areas by 5 Year Increments:1872 – 2003Case Study: Lake Maracaibo, VenezuelaLake Maracaibo in northwestern Venezuela isthe largest natural lake in South America at13 330 km2 (5 146 square miles). At its widestpoint, it is more than 125 km (78 miles) wide.The lake itself lies in the Maracaibo basin,which is semi-arid in the north, but averagesover 1 200 mm (47 in) of annual rainfall inthe south. It has been suffering from a seriousproblem of invasive duckweed, a tiny aquaticplant that grows in freshwater. This first image(left), taken by the Aqua MODIS satellite on17 December 2003, shows the lake during thewinter months, when duckweed is absent fromthe lake’s waters, and the silvery sunglint is ab-sent. In summer the weed blooms. The true-co-lour image from 26 June 2004 (middle) showsstrands of duckweed curling through the lake,floating at the surface, or slightly submergedin the brackish water. A closer look in August2004 (right) reveals the stranglehold the duck-weed has on port areas, especially along theimportant oil shipping routes in the neck ofLake Maracaibo. Fish and the fishing industrysuffer as thick green mats block photosynthesisand alter fish habitats. The weed also adheresto boats, affects cooling systems, and obstructstravel. In September 2004, Venezuela’s Min-istry of Environment and Natural Resourcesreported that it had reduced the duckweedarea by 75 per cent, using duckweed harvestingmachines from the United States. The ministryis investigating using the harvested weed asanimal fodder.Credit: (Left, right images) NASA; (middle) LPDAAC – USGS National Center for EROS38
  30. 30. 391980s was estimated to be nearly 1.3 bil-lion. Chickens—the world’s most abundantdomesticated bird—are generally believedto have descended from jungle fowl inSoutheast Asia. They were subsequentlyintroduced into almost every country andregion of the world.In stark contrast to such positive speciesintroductions are those where introducedexotic species have become invasive. Scien-tifically speaking, invasive species are thoseorganisms that are unwanted and have atendency to spread. Invasive species harm,or have the potential to harm, a givenecosystem or peoples’ health or economicwell-being (Clinton 1999). Historically,some invasive exotic species have beenintentionally introduced into new settings;the introduction of the common starlinginto the United States and the rabbit intoAustralia are two classic examples. Intro-ductions of other invasive species haveoccurred by accident, such as that of zebramussels into the American Great Lakes as aresult of shipping activities.Native or indigenous species are thosethat occur naturally in an area or habitat.Invasive species often out-compete and dis-place native species because the invadershave no natural enemies and can spreadeasily and quickly. Both managed andnatural ecosystems throughout the worldare under siege from increasing numbersof harmful invasive species. These includedisease organisms, agricultural weeds, anddestructive insects and small mammals thatthreaten economic productivity, ecologicalstability, and biodiversity. On a local scale,such invasions decrease diversity of nativeflora and fauna. Globally, they contributeto making the biosphere more homoge-neous and less resilient.Natural biodiversity helps to maintainecological resilience in the face of varyingenvironmental conditions (Holling et al.1995). Invasion by exotic species lessensecological resilience and can transformecosystems in unpredictable ways that mayhave negative consequences for people.This problem is growing in severity andgeographic extent as global trade andinternational travel expand, as marketsare liberalized and deregulated, as ecosys-tems are further altered and fragmented,and as global climate continues to change(Brandt 2003; Dalmazzone 2000).Invasions by alien species are set toworsen in the next few decades if theworld continues to warm as most scientistspredict it will. Longer growing seasonsspawned by global warming may giveinvasive weedy plants time to flower andset seeds where previously they could onlyspread asexually. This new-found abilitycould allow the weeds to adapt to newenvironments more quickly, and betterresist attack by insects. Higher levels ofcarbon dioxide in the atmosphere may alsofavor plants that can utilize extra carbondioxide and grow faster. One such exampleis cheatgrass, an introduced species thatnow dominates vast areas of the AmericanWest (Holmes 1998). In other parts of theworld, invasive exotic plant species makeup 4 to 44 per cent of the total number ofspecies in ecosystems (Lövei 1997).Invasive exotic species are one of themost significant drivers of environmentalchange worldwide. They also contributeto social instability and economic hard-ship, and place constraints on sustainabledevelopment, economic growth, and en-vironmental conservation. Worldwide, theannual economic impact of invasive specieson agriculture, biodiversity, fisheries, for-ests, and industry is enormous. The WorldConservation Union (IUCN) estimates thatthe global economic costs of invasive exoticspecies are about US$400 billion annually(UNEP 2002a). Alien invaders cost 140 bil-lion dollars a year in the USA alone (Mc-Grath 2005). Less easily measured costsalso include unemployment, impacts oninfrastructure, shortages of food and water,environmental degradation, increases inthe rate and severity of natural disasters,and human illness and death. Invasive ex-otic species represent a growing problem,and one that is here to stay—at least forthe foreseeable future (Brandt 2003).Protected and Wilderness AreasWilderness areas are those areas of landthat are relatively untouched by humanactivities. To qualify as wilderness, an areamust have 70 per cent or more of its origi-nal vegetation intact, cover at least 10 000km2 (3 861 square miles), and be inhab-ited by fewer than five people per km2 (12people per square mile).Wilderness areas are major storehousesof biodiversity. They also provide criticalecosystem services to the planet, includingwatershed maintenance, pollination, andcarbon sequestration. Wilderness areascurrently cover nearly half the Earth’s ter-restrial surface (Mittermeier et al. 2003).While that represents a significant amountof land area, however, most wildernessareas are not protected, and are thereforeat risk.Table 2.11 – Growth of protected areas of the world in 1994 and 2004 (in per cent)Ratio 1994 2004World 7.8 9.5Developed Countries 11.3 14.1Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) 2.8 3.0CIS-ASIA 3.6 3.8CIS-Europe 2.6 2.8Developing 7.6 9.1Northern Africa 3.5 3.9Sub-Saharan Africa 8.1 8.3Latin America & the Caribbean 8.0 9.9Eastern Asia 8.2 14.2Southern Asia 4.5 5.1South-eastern Asia 4.8 5.9Western Asia 21.4 22.0Oceania 1.0 1.1Least Developed Countries (LDCs) 7.7 7.9Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) 8.4 9.6Small Island Developing States (SIDs) 1.6 2.8There is considerable variation in the total area protected between regions, ranging from 1.1 per cent inthe developing countries of Oceania to 22.0 per cent in Western Asia. The percentage coverage in bothWestern and Eastern Asia (14.2 per cent) exceeds the coverage of all developed countries (14.1per cent) representing a significant commitment by these regions to conservation. However, the con-straints imposed upon the data by the criterion for a date of establishment within the Millennium Devel-opment Goals (MDG) reporting period suggest that all figures should be treated cautiously.Source: UNEP-WCMC 2005
  31. 31. 40One of the most effective means forconserving wilderness is through the de-velopment of protected areas. A protectedarea is an area of land (or water) especiallydedicated to the protection and mainte-nance of biological diversity, along withnatural and associated cultural resources,that is managed through legal or othereffective means (IUCN 1994). Protectedareas are managed for a wide variety ofpurposes, including:• scientific research;• wilderness protection and preservationof species and ecosystems;• maintenance of environmentalservices;• protection of specific natural andcultural features;• tourism and recreation;• education;• sustainable use of resources fromnatural ecosystems; and• maintenance of cultural and tradition-al attributes (Green and Paine 1997).The 2003 United Nations List of Pro-tected Areas—compiled by UNEP andthe IUCN and released during the FifthWorld Parks Congress in Durban, SouthAfrica—reveals that there are now 102 102protected areas, together representing atotal land area roughly equivalent to Chinaand Canada combined, or more than 12per cent of the Earth’s surface (Chape etal. 2003). That total exceeds the tenper cent called for in the Caracas ActionPlan formulated at the Fourth World ParksCongress held in 1992 in Caracas, Venezu-ela. Between 10 and 30 per cent of some ofthe planet’s vital natural features, such asAmazonian rain forests and tropical savan-nah grasslands, are classified as protectedareas. However, ecoregional and habitatrepresentation remains uneven.Currently, almost half of the world’sprotected areas are found in regions whereagriculture and logging are primary land-use strategies. All indications are that foodSource: www.conservation.orgWorld Environmental Hotspots as identified by Conservation International.
  32. 32. 41and timber production will need to in-crease in coming decades to keep up withpopulation growth and increasing demandfor wood and wood products. Thus, estab-lishing additional protected areas, whilehelping to preserve biological diversity, willtake land out of production and put morestress on lands elsewhere (Sohngen et al.1999). Balancing the need to protect wildspecies and conserve habitat while at thesame time increasing agricultural and tim-ber production represents a tremendouschallenge (McNeely and Scherr 2001).Of the world’s protected areas, the vastmajority—91.3 per cent—are found in ter-restrial ecosystems. Fewer than tenper cent of the world’s lakes and less than0.5 per cent of the world’s seas and oceanslie within protected areas (SBSTTA 2003).Recognizing that the world’s marine en-vironment remains largely unprotected,the Fifth World Parks Congress put forththe Durban Action Plan. The Plan calls forthe establishment of at least 20-30 per centmarine protected areas worldwide by 2012.The Plan also calls for the conservation ofall globally threatened or endangered spe-cies by 2010.In the coming years, further develop-ment of global networks of protected areaswill need to focus on four areas (Greenand Paine 1997):• consolidating existing networks by ad-dressing major gaps;• physically linking protected areas toone another so they function more ef-fectively as networks;• expanding networks by forming orstrengthening links with other sectors,notably the private sector;• and improving the effectiveness withwhich protected areas are managed.Protected areas are often considered akind of sacrifice, a financial burden ratherthan an asset. Yet establishing, maintain-ing, and expanding protected areas is afundamental approach to safe-guardingthe environment and conservingbiological diversity.Protected areas are also important inother respects, such as helping to maintainfreshwater resources. Protected areas mayalso hold the cures to some of the world’smost devastating diseases in the form ofunique chemical compounds and as-yet-un-discovered genetic material.A recent analysis published by Con-servation International identified nineadditional sites as areas of extraordinarilyhigh biological diversity, popularly knownas hotspots, taking the count of hotspots to34. These 34 regions worldwide are where75 per cent of the planet’s most threatenedmammals, birds, and amphibians survive.In these 34 hotspots, estimated 50 per centof all vascular plants and 42 per cent ofterrestrial vertebrates exist. Therefore it iscritical to protect and preserve these areas(Conservation International 2005).Credit: Christian LambrechtsCredit: Topfoto
  33. 33. 42Case Study: Ranikhet Forests,Sonitpur, IndiaS. P. S. Kushwaha, A. Khan, B. Habib, A. Quadri and A. SinghThis is a study of habitat evaluation for sambar(Cervus unicolor var. niger) and muntjak (Munti-acus muntjak var. vaginalis) in the Ranikhet for-ests of Kumaon Himalaya in the northeasternprovince of Sonitpur, India.Location:The study was carried out in the Chaubatia Re-serve Forest (area 8428 ha) located close to thetown of Ranikhet in the Almora district in Ku-maon Himalaya (79°24’ –79°30’ E and 29°35’– 29°4’ N). Forests dominate the landscape inthe study area. The Kumaon region is spreadover 21 073 km2 (8 136 square miles) and hadextensive tracts of natural forests until a fewcenturies ago. Though there was no scientificexploration to document the extent of thesenatural forests and in the faunal populations,old records of naturalists and hunters docu-ment floral and faunal richness in the region.Extensive areas under natural forests werecleared until to late 1940s either for valuabletimber or for planting commerciallyviable species.Five major forest types are found in Ra-nikhet: oak forest, oak-pine forest, chirpineforest, pure deodar and mixed deodar forests.The study area provides diverse and favourablehabitats for a wide range of wild animals. Themost notable species are: common leopard(Panthera pardus), red fox (Vulpes vulpes), Hima-layan yellow-throated marten (Martes flavigula),hanuman langur (Semnopethicus entellus), rhesusmacaque (Macaca mulatta), sambar (Cervusunicolor), muntjak (Muntiacus muntjak) andKashmir flying squirrel (Hylopetes fimbriatus).Four broad soil categories—red loam, brownforest soil, loam and meadow soil—have beenreported from Ranikhet.Habitat suitability analysis is consideredimportant for introduction, rehabilitation,and ex-situ conservation of species and theirhabitats. Habitat models are based onthe relationship between the animaland the environment. Such models arenormally animal-centric, in this case thetwo animals are sambar and muntjak,and usually consistent with the dataneeds for planning. Studies show thatboth sambar and muntjak avoid human distur-bance. The low overall suitability of Chaubatiaforest for sambar (23.89 per cent) and muntjak(12.60 per cent) can be attributed to distur-bance in their habitat. Hence, human activitiesin the forests need to be minimized for anyeffective conservation of these two species.An analysis of the findings indicate a pri-mary preference of sambar to high tree andherb density but low shrub cover, and indiffer-ence for herb diversity found in higher alti-tudes, whereas muntjak seem to prefer regionsof high grass density on the same scale foundin relatively lower altitudes with higher herbdensity and diversity. Sambar prefer sites thatscore low in terms of direct human disturbanceand similar conclusions can be drawn for munt-jak. The analysis indicates an indifference ofboth the species towards logging activities whengood grass growth is resultant.Because of increasing disturbance,the wildlife habitats in Kumaon re-gion are shrinking. If the situation isnot advertised, a time may come whenungulates, which play important role invegetation dynamics and form a connect-ing link in the food chain, will disappearfrom these forests. Hence, necessary stepsshould be taken to conserve the forests.Source: Kushwaha et al. 2004Habitat loss (1999–2002)Habitat loss (1994–2002)Habitat loss (1994–1999)Credit: Dr. Bibhab Talukdar42SonitpurMap of Study Area
  34. 34. 432.6 EnergyConsumptionand ResourceExtractionEnergy is measured by its capacity to do work(potential energy) or the conversion of thiscapacity to motion (kinetic energy). Most of theworld’s convertible energy comes from fossil fu-els that are burned to produce heat that is thenconverted to mechanical energy or other meansin order to accomplish tasks (EIA 2004a).Energy is essential for the fulfillment of manybasic human needs, such as generating electric-ity, heating and cooling living spaces, cookingfood, forging steel, and powering engines formany forms of transportation (Harrison andPearce 2001). Energy use is closely tied to hu-man health and well-being. Worldwide, roughly2 000 million people do not have access to elec-tricity. Countries in which energy use is low tendto have high infant mortality rates, low literacyrates, and low life expectancies. It is throughthe utilization of convertible energy sources thatthe modern world has transcended its agrarianroots and fostered the energy-driven societiesthat characterize it today. Generating the powerto sustain these societies has entailed extract-ing massive amounts of natural resources fromthe planet. Extraction is the process of obtain-Credit: TopfotoCredit: NOAA, NASANightlight Map of the World
  35. 35. 44ing a useful substance from a raw material(NCR&LB 2003). Such raw materials mayinclude fossil fuels, metals, minerals, water,and biomass, including animals and rawmaterials from plants and crops(EEA 2001).Resources can be divided into those thatare renewable, such as plant and animalmaterial, and those that are not, includingcoal, oil, and minerals. The Earth has afinite supply of non-renewable resources.Even renewable resources, however, areexhaustible if they are used faster than theycan be replenished.Total world energy consumption hasrisen almost 70 per cent since 1971 (WRI1998). It is expected to increase by 58 percent between 2001 and 2025, from 404quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) in2001 to 640 quadrillion Btu in 2025 (EIA2003; EIA 2004b). While a slow, steady in-crease in energy consumption is expectedin industrialized nations, where most en-ergy use currently takes place, a meteoricincrease in consumption is anticipated inthe developing world during that period(Tilford 2000).The tempo at which energy resourcesare being used to fuel modern societiesis rapidly depleting supplies of non-re-newable resources and far exceeding therate at which renewable resources can benaturally renewed (Ernst 2002). In manyleast–developed countries, for instance,burning biomass in the form of wood(largely a non-renewable resource) gener-ates 70 to 90 per cent of the energy neededand disregard for the fate of non-renew-able resources is prevalent. In the UnitedStates, for example, 72 per cent of thecountry’s electricity is generated using non-renewable resources. Only about 10 percent comes from renewable resources, withnuclear power providing the rest.Currently, 85 per cent of world energyconsumption comes from the burning offossil fuels—oil, coal, and natural gas (BP2003). Although no immediate shortagesof these non-renewable energy resourcesexist, supplies are finite and will not lastforever. What took millions of years toGlobal Natural ResourcesAffluent countries consume vast quantities of global natural resources, but contributeproportionately less to the extraction of many raw materials. This imbalance is due, inpart, to domestic attitudes and policies intended to protect the environment. Ironically,developed nations are often better equipped to extract resources in an environmentallyprudent manner than the major suppliers. Thus, although citizens of affluent countriesmay imagine that preservationist domestic policies are conserving resources andprotecting nature, heavy consumption rates necessitate resource extraction elsewhere andoftentimes with weak environmental oversight. A major consequence of this “illusion ofnatural resource preservation” is greater global environmental degradation than wouldarise if consumption were reduced and a larger portion of production was shared byaffluent countries. Clearly, environmental policy needs to consider the global distributionand consequences of natural resource extraction (Berlik et al. 2002).Case Study: Blackout inUnited States and Canada14 August 2003On 14 August 2003, parts of the northeasternUnited States and southeastern Canada expe-rienced widespread power blackouts. Amongthe major urban agglomerations affected by theelectrical power outage were the cities of NewYork City, Albany, and Buffalo in New York,Cleveland and Columbus in Ohio, Detroit inMichigan, and Ottawa and Toronto in Ontario,Canada. Other U.S. states, including NewJersey, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut,and Massachusetts, were also affected. Theblackout resulted in the shutting down ofnuclear power plants in New York and Ohio,and air traffic was slowed as flights into affectedairports were halted. Approximately 50 mil-lion people were affected by the outage. Thechange in the nighttime city lights is apparentin this pair of Defense Meteorological Satel-lite Program (DMSP) satellite images. The topimage was acquired on 14 August, about 20hours before the blackout, and the bottom im-age shows the same area on 15 August, roughlyseven hours after the blackout. In thebottom scene, notice how the lights inDetroit, Cleveland, Columbus, Toron-to, and Ottowa are either missing orvisibly reduced. Previous major black-outs include the 9 November 1965outage caused by a faulty relay at apower plant in Ontario, which affecteda large swath of land stretching fromToronto to New York. Another onefollowed on 14 July 1977, the result ofa lightning strike, affecting New YorkCity. The power supply in nine west-ern states was also affected in August1996 as a result of a high demand forelectricity, a heat wave, and saggingelectrical power lines.Source: NASA 2002, http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/natural_hazards_v2.php3?img_id=11628; GlobalSecurity.org 2003, http://www.globalsecurity.org/eye/blackout_2003.htmCredit Image courtesy Chris Elvidge, U.S. Air Force http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/Archive/Aug2003/NE_US_OLS2003227_lrg.jpgCredit: Topfoto44
  36. 36. 45Case Study: SWERA, the Solar and WindEnergy Resource AssessmentThe Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment(SWERA)—co-financed by the Global Environ-ment Facility (GEF)—is a project to assist 13 devel-oping countries identify optimal locations for po-tential solar and wind energy production. SWERAassists by creating a global archive of informationgathered through a network of international andnational agencies. These agencies collect andanalyse data on solar and wind energy resources,energy demand, and electrification. Using inputsderived from satellite and surface observations,SWERA partners model wind and solar energy re-source potential and produce maps of wind powerdensity and monthly average and daily total solarradiation of a given area. This information canthen be used to facilitate investments and createpolicies in the participating countries for develop-ing solar and wind energy.Source: UNEP/GRID–Sioux FallsCredit: NRELCredit: NREL45Credit: NREL
  37. 37. 46produce will be consumed in the timeframe of a century or two (Hawken 1994;Tilford 2000).This rapid, large-scale consumption of afuel source that took millennia to producehas generated unforeseen complications,several with global implications. Burningfossil fuels produces atmospheric pollutantssuch as oxides of sulfur and nitrogen andunburned hydrocarbons. Fossil fuel com-bustion also adds one of the most prevalentgreenhouse gases—carbon dioxide—to theatmosphere. As a result, world energy usehas emerged at the center of the climatechange debate. World carbon dioxide emis-sions are projected to rise from23 900 million metric tonnes in 2001 to27 700 million metric tonnes in 2010 and37 100 million metric tonnes in 2025 (EIA2004b). The Earth’s atmosphere and bio-sphere will not remain unchanged by thecombustion of such enormous amounts ofthese fuels. The relatively sudden release ofmassive amounts of carbon has the poten-tial not only to disrupt the Earth’s heatbalance and climate, but other parts ofthe global carbon cycle as well, and inunpredictable ways.The Earth cannot sustain existing levelsof resource consumption. Furthermore,resource extraction methods are oftenenvironmentally destructive. The impactof environmental degradation hits thosewho are poorest the hardest. Many of theworld’s energy sources and other naturalresources come from developing countries.Extracting and harvesting these resourcescan result in air, soil, and water pollution.It also generates waste; the amount of wasteassociated with extracting minerals, forinstance, can be enormous. Disposing ofwastes in environmentally friendly ways isa daunting, if not impossible, task in manydeveloping nations.A major challenge for the 21st centuryis to develop methods of generating and us-ing energy that meet the needs of the popu-lation while protecting the planet (Harri-son and Pearce 2001). Yet most of the worldis still without energy policies that direct orrestrict consumption patterns.Only through conservation and resourcerecovery strategies can we hope to reach asustainable balance between available re-sources and their consumption. The utiliza-BiomassPlant and animal material, or biomass, is arich source of carbon compounds. Whenburned to release energy, biomass does notadd additional carbon to the natural carboncycle as do fossil fuels. Fast-growing plants,such as switchgrass, willow, and poplar canbe harvested and used as “energy crops.”Biomass wastes, including forest residues,lumber and paper mill waste, crop wastes,garbage, and landfill and sewage gas, can beused for heating, as transportation fuels, andto produce electricity, while at the same timereducing environmental burdens. Accordingto the World Bank, 50 to 60 per cent of the en-ergy used in developing countries in Asia, and70 to 90 per cent used in developing countriesin Africa, comes from wood or other biomass;half the world cooks with wood.CoalCoal is the world’s largest source of fuel forelectricity production. The byproducts of coalcombustion are also a major source of envi-ronmental damage.Natural GasCompared to coal and oil, natural gas is arelatively clean-burning fossil fuel. It is usedprimarily for heating and for powering manyindustrial processes. Increasingly, natural gasis burned to drive turbines used in the pro-duction of electricity.OilAlthough used primarily in the productionof transportation fuels, oil is also used forgenerating electricity, for heating, and in theproduction of chemical compounds and syn-thetic materials.Sources of EnergyCredit: www.freefoto.comCredit: www.freefoto.comCredit: www.freefoto.comCredit: Volker QuaschningSources:www.freefoto.com, http://www.topfoto.co.uk/, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Volker Quaschning http://www.volker-quaschning.de
  38. 38. 47WindWind power is an ancient energy sourcethat has moved into the modern era. Aero-dynamically designed wind turbines canproduce electricity more cheaply than coal-burning power plants.Wind power is an ancient energy sourceGeothermalGeothermal energy is energy contained inintense heat that continually flows outwardfrom deep within the Earth. Geothermalenergy is typically used to heat water, whichis then used to heat buildings directly or todrive turbines to produce electricity.SolarSolar energy—power from the sun—isreadily available and inexhaustible. Hu-mans have used sunlight for heating anddrying for thousands of years. Convertingthe power of sunlight into usable energyforms, such as electricity, is not withoutcost, but the sunlight itself is free. Solarcells, or photovoltaics, are devices used totransform sunlight into electric current.HydroelectricHydroelectric power uses the force of mov-ing water to produce electricity. A largepart of the world’s electricity is produced inhydroelectric plants. Many of these plants,however, are associated with large dams thatdisrupt habitats and displace people. Small-er “run of the river” hydroelectric plantshave less environmental impact.tion of non-renewable resources istheoretically not sustainable. But if usedwisely, some non-renewable resources canbe conserved and recycled for a very longtime. To recycle means to make new prod-ucts from old ones. Recycling materialssuch as paper, aluminum, and glass savesenergy, reduces pollution, and conservesnatural resources (EPA 2003). Every nationmust assume responsibility for recyclingits own wastes. Some industrialized West-ern countries “dispose” of their electronicwastes by shipping them to Asia—an in-creasingly common practice (FOEE 2004).To insure that renewable resourcescan be replenished at a sustainable rate,people must switch to more environmen-tally friendly energy sources and employnew technologies that can help make suchsustainability a reality (Ernst 2002). Indeed,new technologies—coupled with effectiveand efficient use of existing technologies—are essential to increasing the capabilitiesof countries to achieve sustainable devel-opment on many fronts, as well as sustain-ing the world’s economy, protecting theenvironment, and alleviating poverty andhuman suffering (Hay and Noonan 2000).Most changes in the Earth, includingchanges brought about by increasing ener-gy consumption, can be observed throughsuch tools as remote sensing. Remotesensing is the collection of informationabout an object without being in physicalcontact with the object. Aircraft and satel-lites are the common platforms from whichremote sensing observations are made.Satellite imagery, a crucial component ofthis publication, is especially useful forstudying changes in our Earth’s environ-ment. Most satellite imagery is collectedusing multispectral scanners, which recordlight intensities in different wavelengths inthe spectrum from infrared through vis-ible light through ultraviolet light. Satel-lite imagery is useful because of its stablenature (same resolution, same time, samedata characteristics). Aided by the globalpositioning system (GPS), these satellitesknow their orbital position precisely. Thus,satellite imagery is ideally suited for applica-tions requiring large-area coverage, such asagricultural monitoring, regional mapping,environmental assessment, and infrastruc-ture planning (Krouse et al. 2000).NuclearNuclear power harnesses the heat of ra-dioactive materials to produce steam forelectricity generation. The use of nuclearpower is expected to decline as agingplants are taken out of operation.Credit: Volker QuaschningCredit: www.freefoto.comCredit: TopfotoCredit: TopfotoCredit: Topfoto
  39. 39. 48THE BLACK TRIANGLE, EUROPEMININGThe so-called Black Triangle is an area bordered by Germany, Poland, andthe Czech Republic and is the site of extensive surface coal mining opera-tions. In the 1975 satellite image above, the gray areas are surface mineslocated primarily in the Czech Republic. Air-borne pollutants from coalextraction activities tended to become trapped by the mountainous ter-rain to the northeast and were concentrated in the area around the mines,4848
  40. 40. 49eventually causing severe deforestation along the border between the CzechRepublic and Germany. In the 2000 image, this deforestation is very obvi-ous, appearing as large brownish patches. Interestingly, the 2000 image alsoreveals somewhat improved vegetation cover—a slight“greening”of thelandscape—as compared to conditions in 1975. Some of this improvementmay be attributable to actions taken by the three countries bordering theBlack Triangle to reduce pollutants produced by the mining operations. Theimplementation of anti-pollution technologies, including circulating fluid-ized-bed boilers, clean coal technology, and nitrous oxide emission burners,appears to have reversed some, albeit not all, of the environmental damageexperienced by the region as a result of the mines.49
  41. 41. 50COPSA MICA, ROMANIACopsa Mica is a large industrial city located in the very center ofRomania and is classified as an “environmental disaster area.” The en-vironmentally damaged area covers hundreds of square kilometres ofland. The main industries in Copsa Mica are non-ferrous metalworkingand chemical processing plants, and their effect on the environmenthas been devastating. Air pollution by heavy metals is 600 timesIn one year up to 67 000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide, 500 tonnes of lead, 400tonnes of zinc and 4 tonnes of cadmium can be released by the city’s two ac-tive smelters. The affected area is huge: in excess of 180 000 hectares (445 000acres) of land are affected by air pollution and 150 000 hectares (371 000 acres)of agricultural land are untenable. 31 000 hectares (77 000 acres) of forest arealso unacceptably polluted.50MININGCredit: Lorant Czaran¸¸¸
  42. 42. 51the allowed levels. To make matters worse, a lead-smelting facility emittedfumes containing sulfur dioxide, lead, cadmium, and zinc on the town andsurrounding area for 50 km2 (19 square miles). The entire town and much ofthe surrounding area were covered with a blanket of black soot daily until thefacilities were forced to close in 1993.In 1989 Copsa Mica was exposed as one of the most polluted places inEurope. It has the highest infant mortality rate in Europe, 30.2 per cent ofchildren suffer reduced“lung function”and 10 per cent of the total popula-tion of 20 000 suffer“neurobehavioral problems.” The soil and the local foodchain probably will remain contaminated for at least another three decades.51¸
  43. 43. 52ESCONDIDA, CHILELocated at an elevation of 3 050 m (10 006 ft), Chile’s Escondida Mineis an open-pit copper, gold, and silver mine and also the largest cop-per mine in the world. Isolated in the barren, arid Atacama Desert inthe country’s far north, the Escondida Mine relies heavily on externalwell fields for the water used in its mining operations. Unlike similarmining operations, however, Escondida has a redeveloped tailings52MINING
  44. 44. 53impoundment, which appears on the 1989 image as a white patch in thelower left corner. Impoundments of this type help reduce water consump-tion and enhance water conservation, two areas where mining activitiestypically fall short. The Escondida Mine also minimizes the impact of itsoperation on the environment by means of a 170-km-long (106 miles) un-derground pipeline that carries copper concentrate slurry from the mine tothe port of Coloso. This underground scheme is efficient and ecologicallysound, as the copper travels downhill without disrupting the environment.The 2003 image shows how the Escondida Mine has grown and expandedwhile at the same time continues to minimize negative impacts from itsmining operations on the environment.53
  45. 45. 54EKATI, CANADAAs of 2001, the Ekati Mine was North America’s only operating dia-mond mine. Located in the north central Northwestern Territories(NWT) of Canada, the mine yields raw diamonds from a sparselyinhabited sub-arctic region. Air transport connects mine personneland supplies year-round, while a single winter ice road provides theonly vehicular access just ten weeks per year.54MINING
  46. 46. 55Expanded mining exploration in the 1990s began a new era for this other-wise undeveloped region. Wildlife officials have collared and tracked caribou,in a herd ranging from 350 000 to half a million, to monitor their movementand behavior in proximity to the mines. Historical information about theherds comes from Dogrib and Inuit knowledge obtained from elder nativeswho still inhabit the NWT, and who have depended on the cariboufor centuries.These two images compare the same area, pre-mining and after mine op-erations have commenced. The white patch in the northwest portion of the2000 image represents the mine and the associated infrastructure.55
  47. 47. 56OK TEDI MINE, PAPUA NEW GUINEAThe controversial Ok Tedi copper mine is located at theheadwaters of the Ok Tedi River, a tributary of the Fly River,in extremely rough terrain in the rainforest-covered StarMountains of Papua New Guinea’s western province. Priorto the opening of the mine in 1984, this area was veryisolated, sparsely inhabited, and ecologically pristine. This56MINING

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