Effects of Economic Activities on the Environment
All economic activities affect the environment in some way whether it is done intentionally or unintentionally. These could be positive or negative effects. Most of the time, they are negative. Most activities usually end up harming ecosystems or just polluting the environment. Economic activities can range from mining all the way to farming. This essay will discuss different types of economic activities and how they effect the environment. The first effect on the environment is the over harvesting of species. This is mainly caused due to hunting, fishing and forestry.
Hunting occurs in many parts of the world to provide food and animal products. Among the many uses of animal products are skin and feathers fro clothing, ornaments and souvenirs. Sometimes animal body parts are used for making medicines. For many people, hunting is a sport, while others kill wild animals that are a threat to people or their crops and livestock. Some people who live a partly traditional lifestyle consider hunting an essential part of keeping their culture alive. Not all hunters kill the animals but some capture them for live sale which has the same effect of reducing the wild population.
Fishing provides an important food supply for many people, and is a popular sport and recreational pastime. The problem is that modern fishing involves technology that harvests the oceans so effectively that the number of species can reduce massively. Seventy percent of fish being harvested are being removed at a higher rate than at which they can reproduce. Fishing in this way is unsustainable, and other parts of the marine ecosystems are damaged as the food supply for some species is reduced. If foresters are not careful, the harvesting of valued tree species will also become unsustainable.
Forest trees take hundreds of years to mature, and with modern machinery, trees can be chopped down at a much faster rate than they can grow back. Timber is used in building and construction, and woodchips for making paper. Almost all tree parts are used in some way or another. When all or most of the trees of even one species are removed from an ecosystem, that can reduce the numbers of other plants and animals that relied on the species for food and shelter. Alien species which are not naturally part of foreign ecosystems they are introduced to tend to cause damage to the native plants and animals.
The introduction of foxes and cats into Australia has brought new predators into the ecosystems and many species of small mammals and birds are now extinct or endangered as a result. Rabbits eat the food of native herbivores, putting added pressure on the environment. They also damage the pastures and crops of farmers. Native animals that depend on the plants eaten by grazing animals have also decreased in number. Water buffalo are now considered a pest because they cause erosion and muddiness in the water with upsets both the land and water ecosystems.
A major way in which humans have reduced biodiversity is by destroying the habitats of plants and animals. The largest areas have been affected by forestry and farming, where trees and shrubs may be partly or totally cleared. This devastates ecosystems and is probably the main human threat to biodiversity. A biome of major concern is tropical rainforests, where the balance between animals, plants and soil is very delicate. These forests are the areas of greatest biodiversity and scientists re very concerned that many species will become extinct, even before their existence is recognised.
Mining affects smaller areas but can have a significant local impact on vegetation cover, soil and water quality because of chemicals released into the environment. As our population grows, so does the size of our towns and cities. Urban growth means that plants and animals are displaced to make way for such things as houses, shops, factories and recreation areas. Another important cause of habitat loss is transport. The building of roads, airports and harbours means the vegetation is cleared and waterways dredged or filled in.
Fragmentation or islandisation occurs where habitat has not been completely destroyed by human activities but is fragmented and broken up in to relatively small ‘islands’ of more or less natural habitat in a sea of damaged or destroyed habitat. These much smaller areas lead to greatly simplified ecosystems which are more easily upset by outside influences. The result is reduced biodiversity as isolated pockets of population may die out one after another. Forestry practices involving clear felling of some areas, selected logging of others, plantation and areas of forest reserve can cause islandisation.
Many farms have small, scattered pockets of native vegetation remaining. Unless these remnant vegetation areas in forests and farms are long enough to be connected to one another by vegetation corridors, it is difficult for many species to survive. If introduced plants and animals invade the habitat islands the survival of native species is even more unlikely. The way in which towns and cities grow creates many habitat islands. It is very difficult to maintain these ecosystems due to the number of people, the amount of building and roads, introduced species and pollution.
Pollution refers to the introduction of anything to he environment that contaminates it and in some way causes it so be spoiled. It affects the land, air and water of Earth. It also affects the survival of living tings on earth both directly and indirectly. Some forms of pollution are: 1. Air pollution as a result of smoke, gases from vehicles and industrial waste gases 2. Water pollution as a result of chemical wastes from industry and mining, fertilisers, oil, detergents and sewage. 3. Soil pollution as a result of household and industrial waste that is not biodegradable. 4.
Noise pollution caused by jet aircrafts, motor vehicles and machinery. 5. Heat pollution, particularly from hot water released into oceans and streams by industry Humans are destroying the planet they live on by trying to find ways for their lives to be more comfortable.. We seriously need to start being more sustainable and start caring for our environment because once it is gone, you can’t get it back. We only have one chance at this because we only have one world that we live in. We need to realize that it’s not all about living better lives, it’s about preserving this planet for as long as possible.