Analyze human impact on and management of biodiversity and the environment.
Instructions: Write your responses where it reads “Enter your response here.” Write as much, as needed, to satisfy the requirements indicated. Each item contains the Rubric, which will be used to evaluate your responses.
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Explain how the loss of a threatened or endangered species in your state (Oregon) could be problematic to the health of ecosystems within the state of Oregon, including importance of biodiversity to ecosystem health and at least one example within a specific ecosystem. Support your response with information drawn from resources and at least one other quality resource (2–4 paragraphs).
Humans depend on biodiversity in many ways, yet species are rapidly being lost due to human activity. Endangered species refers to any species at risk of extinction because of a rapid decrease in population or loss of its habitat. The loss of endangered species, both animals, and plants can be dangerous to the ecosystem because it affects the survival of other species. Humans depend on healthy ecosystems to purify the environment including the aspects of clean air and water.
Biodiversity within an ecosystem means the existence of biological variety in all its forms which include plants, animals, and cultural diversity. Biological diversity provides extensive benefits to humans in terms of medicine and aesthetics. Humans depend on biodiversity for food, water, and other resources like fuel. In Oregon, one of the endangered species of great importance to the ecosystem is the green sea turtle (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 2021). This animal contributes to biodiversity by increasing the productivity and nutrient content of seagrass blades. Other species like coral are allowed to grow as a result of green sea turtle activity.
Describe, in general, the state of wildlife globally and, in detail, at least three of the primary ways that human activities are impacting the health of wildlife. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one other quality resource (3-4 paragraphs).
Ultimately, the world needs to join hands to save nature. Reports from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) indicate that the state of wildlife is dwindling (World Wildlife Fund, 2018). On average, the planet has seen a decline by 60% of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. About 50% of corals have been lost for the last 30 years (World Wildlife Fund, 2018). Human activity often changes or destroys the habitat animals and plants need to survive. The first way human activities affect wildlife is through pollution (Lewis et al., 2021). An example is air pollution from industrial chemicals that harm animals and plants.
The second way human activities harm wildlife is through deforestation which involves cutting trees and clearing bushes without replacement. Deforestation destroys wildlife’s habitat, increases the risk of predation, and reduces the availability of food for animals (Lewis et al., 2021). Eventually, animals die and some rare species can become extinct due to this activity.
Population growth is another human factor that greatly affects wildlife. The National Wildlife Federation explains that nearly 20 plant and animal species become extinct every hour because of overpopulation (Lewis et al., 2021). Human beings are forced to destroy habitats of animals to create permanent settlements and an increase in population leads to overfeeding. Additionally, overpopulation comes with famine that affects wild animals leading to migration and death.
Explain three specific benefits that healthy ecosystems provide for humans. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one other quality resource (2–3 paragraphs).
Healthy ecosystems provide healthy food to humans. Human beings depend on food to survive and the food originates from plants and animals. For example, healthy aquatic ecosystems supply food like fish to humans. Secondly, humans get other food products from forests and without healthy ecosystems, it cannot be possible. The second benefit of healthy ecosystems is that it supports crops and livestock production (Summers et al., 2018). For example, soils of terrestrial ecosystems are used to plant crops, build houses, and serve as a reservoir for animals. Humans depend on the crops and animals to survive and without factors like soil fertility health cannot be maintained.
Healthy ecosystems are of cultural significance to human beings (Summers et al., 2018). Most people find nature interesting and use it for mental well-being. Humans use healthy ecosystems to learn, create a sense of place, and for recreational purposes. Healthy ecosystems serve as religious points for many individuals and the majority seek spiritual guidance in places like mountains. Lastly, healthy ecosystems are used for tourism that promotes economic growth.
The federal government has proposed that the national park in your state should be reduced in size and split into two adjacent parks with a housing development and highway separating them. Explain how this might impact the wildlife and ecosystem in the park. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one other quality resource (2–3 paragraphs).
The first impact that might be observed is the limited movement of animals in the parks due to reduced park size. Splitting the park will eventually decrease its size and animals will be forced to rotate within narrow limits. Limited movement may affect activities like mating which will in turn cause decreased population of some species. Reduced park size will also affect the general area available for feeding and population growth in one side of the park will cause overpopulation and depletion of resources in the affected side.
The second impact that will be observed is the formation of an unhealthy ecosystem due to human activity (Lewis et al., 2021). Housing development will mean that humans will begin hunting animals in the parks and competition for common resources will affect wild animals. Construction of the highway will increase chances for air pollution that will have an impact on plants and animals. Additionally, barriers created to prevent animals from accessing the roads will be harmful to animals leading to injuries and death.
Explain at least two specific actions that your state might take to protect the wildlife living within the state and why these actions support the management of biodiversity and the environment in your locale. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least two quality resources (2–4 paragraphs).
Restoration. The first action that the state can take is to restore natural habitats for animals and make laws to prevent habitat destruction. Reports indicate that habitat destruction is the main threat to 85% of all threatened and endangered species (Manfredo et al., 2021). Restoration activities can involve planting trees in forests, restoring wetlands, and cleaning wildlife environments. This action supports biodiversity because various animal species will be allowed to thrive while endangered species will be given a chance for survival.
The second action will involve the provision of financial assistance to support activities geared towards wildlife preservation. For example, projects like the integrated development of wildlife habitats require funding that can be provided by the state government. Employing game reserve wardens will ensure patrols are conducted to identify dangers to wildlife and prevent poachers from killing wildlife (Manfredo et al., 2021). Providing funding will ensure the protection of wildlife, especially endangered species which in turn promotes biodiversity.
For Items 6 and 7, select two terrestrial bioregions in your locale (Portland) in order to respond to the prompts.
Explain what is unique about the two terrestrial bioregions and at least one challenge to each bioregion presented by human activity globally. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least two quality resources. (2–4 paragraphs).
Willamette valley ecoregion. This area is among the best bioregions in Portland that support humans and wildlife. The region contains scattered hills, floodplains, and foothills that make it unique. It is differentiated from other regions because of extensive wetlands, lower precipitation, lower elevation, and different mosaic of vegetation (World Wildlife Fund, 2022-a). One challenge for this ecoregion is human farming that has otherwise invaded land leading to habitat loss. Approximately 65.659% of the land has been lost to human activities endangering wildlife (World Wildlife Fund, 2022-a).
Klamath mountains. These mountains harbor rich biodiversity that includes temperate rain forests, savannas, and alpine grasslands. The mountains are among the richest coniferous forest regions of the world because of the 30 conifer species that inhabit the ecosystem (World Wildlife Fund, 2022 -b). The main challenges observed in the mountains include logging, mining, road building, and grazing. There are no restricted protected areas in most areas and this promotes dangerous activities.
Explain how the federal government’s proposal to opening new lands for fossil fuel extraction might impact one of your selected bioregions. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one quality resource. (2–3 paragraphs).
Pollution. Klamath Mountains already experience challenges of mining and road building. Opening new lands for fossil fuel extraction will increase pollution to the environment. Fossil fuels mining emits dangerous products that pollute the air and water (Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), 2018). The cool rivers flowing through the mountains will be affected by oil spills and the creation of transportation media will definitely affect the surrounding environment. Agricultural activities in the region may be affected due to loss of land and pollutants that could make crop production difficult.
Land loss. The second effect that will be observed in the mountains is the loss of land due to mining activities. For example, fossil fuel mining requires complete mountain top removal with the stripping of trees to create space (NRDC, 2018). Thousands of acres of land will need to be converted for the exercise leading to loss of land. The land loss will disturb important species of plants like conifer leading to significant impacts to the ecosystem.
Explain what is unique about two aquatic ecosystems in your locale and at least one challenge to each bioregion presented by human activity within your locale or globally. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least two quality resources (2–4 paragraphs).
Willamette River. The river drains about 12% of the Oregon region and provides a habitat for several species of fish and other animals (Willamette Riverkeeper, n.d.). It is the 13th largest river in the US with about 70% of the Oregon population living within proximity of the river. Its uniqueness is in the fish species diversity (31) and bird species (154) that inhabit the ecosystem (Willamette Riverkeeper, n.d.). One of the challenges facing this ecosystem is pollution with several areas having a fair score on the quality of water.
Bull run river. The river is the main source of Portland’s drinking water and is largely restricted to uses related to water collection, treatment, and storage. To its uniqueness, 95% of the river is covered by dominant tree species, and fishing is only limited to the lower reaches of the river (Portland.gov, 2022). Although there are no big challenges observed due to restrictions, the river is observed to have inputs of sediment and chemical contaminants from fossil plants in the Claxton community.
Using your household footprint as an example, explain at least three ways that people are impacting ecosystems and wildlife from their lifestyle choices and how this impact occurs. For each impact, provide at least one possible way to reduce the impact. Be sure to support your response with information drawing from your ecological footprint and at least one quality resource (3–5 paragraphs).
Recycling. The first way that people affect the environment is the failure to recycle products that end up in land fields and water bodies. Recycling reduces the need to grow, harvest, or extract new raw materials from the earth which lessens harm to animals and plants (Saleem & Ali, 2019). The people’s choice to throw away products that can be recycled means more resources are harvested from forests leading to the displacement of animals, diversion of rivers, and pollution.
Using cars. The majority of the people prefer to use cars for traveling not considering the effects they have on the environment. How much individuals drive, the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and idling observed in drivers affect the ecosystem. Fuel wastage means more harvesting from mining sites and this causes more pollution to terrestrial and aquatic environments.
Sprawl culture. Sprawl has become the pattern of living in most places today. It refers to the culture of developing low-density residential subdivisions, large commercial strips, large retail complexes, and several acres of parking (Saleem & Ali, 2019). People are choosing to have too much space which leads to excessive utilization of resources. Sprawl living increases the harvesting of resources like trees, electricity, coal, and others that increase pollution to the environment.
Describe at least two specific actions that your state might take to protect the ecosystems existing within the state and why these actions would prove helpful. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one quality resource (2–4 paragraphs).
The first action that the state might take is increasing funding to programs meant to conserve the environment. An example is the ODFW access and habitat program that serves to improve wildlife habitat, increase public hunting access to private land and solve other issues (Ballotpedia, n.d.). The programs facilitate important conservation actions like noxious weed control, arid area water development, and hunting leases that all require adequate capital. Funding these programs can have a significant impact on the ecosystem through the conservation of land and the protection of wildlife.
Establishing strict policies on federal land use is another strategy that can be used to protect the ecosystem. In Oregon, about 52% of the land belongs to the federal government and without strict laws, the majority of the people misuse it (Ballotpedia, n.d.). Policies on grazing of animals, park visits, and privatization can serve to protect the ecosystem. Animals in parks can be protected and issues like water pollution minimized to protect the environment.
The federal government has indicated that it will open up some new regions within your state for fossil fuel extraction, reduce emissions controls on large diesel trucks, and has proposed that some old coal plants in your state that had been slated for removal be brought back on line. Explain how these changes might impact the environment within your state. Be sure to support your response with information drawn from the resources and at least one quality resource (3–5 paragraphs).
Fossil fuel extraction: Opening up new fossil fuel extraction plants will increase environmental pollution and contribute to adverse effects like global warming. For example, coal is observed to increase global average temperatures that cause a rise in overall global temperature (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2018). The oil spills from the mines will contribute to water pollution that will affect aquatic life. Fossil fuel companies remain the major contributors to pollution meaning opening new fossil extraction will increase air and water pollution in the state.
Reduce emissions control on large diesel trucks. With mounting evidence that diesel exhaust poses major health hazards to the environment, reducing emissions controls in the state will only worsen the situation. Statistics indicate that over 60% of all nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter emissions result from heavy-duty diesel vehicles (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2022). Increased diesel exhaust will be a threat to the health of humans because it can cause cancer and will increase air pollution that will cause ground and ozone layer pollution.
Old coal plants. Coal is an abundant source of energy but its production causes environmental pollution. During extraction, mountaintop removal and valley fill mining affect large areas leading to land wastage. Trees and other vegetation are destroyed during the process as roads leading to the mines and establishment of structures is done. Reviving old coal plants will increase emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and carbon dioxide to the environment that causes acid rain.
Ballotpedia. (n.d.). Environmental policy in Oregon: Public policy in Oregon. https://ballotpedia.org/Environmental_policy_in_Oregon
Lewis, J. S., Spaulding, S., Swanson, H., Keeley, W., Gramza, A. R., VandeWoude, S., & Crooks, K. R. (2021). Human activity influences wildlife populations and activity patterns: Implications for spatial and temporal refuges. Ecosphere, 12(5), e03487. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3487
Manfredo, M. J., Berl, R. E., Teel, T. L., & Bruskotter, J. T. (2021). Bringing social values to wildlife conservation decisions. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 19(6), 355-362. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2356
Natural Resources Defense Council. (2018). Fossil fuels: The dirty facts. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/fossil-fuels-dirty-facts
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. (2021). Threatened, endangered, and candidate fish and wildlife species. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/diversity/species/threatened_endangered_candidate_list.asp
Portland.gov. (2022). About the Bull Run Watershed. https://www.portland.gov/water/about-portlands-water-system/about-bull-run
Saleem, S. B., & Ali, Y. (2019). Effect of lifestyle changes and consumption patterns on environmental impact: A comparison study of Pakistan and China. Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment, 17(2), 113-122. https://doi.org/10.1080/10042857.2019.1574454
Summers, J. K., Smith, L. M., Fulford, R. S., & Crespo, R. D. J. (2018). The role of ecosystem services in community well-being. Ecosyst Serv Glob Ecol. https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/59518
Union of Concerned Scientists. (2022). Diesel engines and public health. https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/diesel-engines-public-health
Willamette Riverkeeper. (n.d.). The river: Basics/facts. http://willamette-riverkeeper.org/basicsfacts
World Wildlife Fund. (2018). Living planet report 2018. https://www.worldwildlife.org/pages/living-planet-report-2018
World Wildlife Fund. (2022-a). Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests: Willamette valley forests. https://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/na0417
World Wildlife Fund. (2022-b). Temperate coniferous forest: Klamath-Siskiyou. https://www.worldwildlife.org/ecoregions/na0516
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