ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY PART 2

In chapter 10, he talks about trees and how important they are to our ecosystem. The loss or increase of trees can change the ecosystem in an area. In many areas, there have been deforestation for the purpose of economic purposes and with it loss of populations and wildlife. This idea of how the history of religious beliefs is filled with trees, so why do are we cutting down so many. Disturbance brings with it the disturbance of an ecosystem temporarily, but after leads to recovery of the system or the movement of the system into a new state. These disturbances can be hurricanes, forest fires, etc. that can lead to the restoration of a climax community. If this happens, it can lead to succession, with grass growing where burn patches used to be, then shrubs, which start being shaded by trees. The emphasis of reconciliation ecology, which is where human economic activities of ecosystem services are maintained and so biodiversity thrives. But with this concept of reconciliation ecology, why was  deforestation so huge?

Wolves, they have been through a lot in their history of their population. I didn’t know that they were hunted so profusely during the settling of Europeans in the early twentieth century. In that era though, even though the wolves didn’t kill people, they did kill the Europeans livestock. As well as the gentlemen hunter back then was the pinnacle of manhood, the idealized rugged, independent American. But the real important information is how important they are to an ecosystem. When wolves were re-introduced back into the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem, they had a big impact. Before, there was a decrease in the amount in willows that grew in the area because of elks eating them. With the introduction of wolves back into the system, the number of elks starting decreasing and the willows started growing again, which brought back the beavers that use its bark to build dams and lodges. The ponds that the beavers created would bring back more amphibians and reptiles. An increase in eagles, magpies, and crows in the area increased as well as the wolf-kill carcasses were left. The ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park is completely different with the addition of an alpha carnivore like the wolf. From this study, we can see how much an ecosystem can change with the addition or deletion of a population.

How important is your lawn? The answer for most of us would be pretty important because it is a statement of social class and financial well-being. But with the upkeep of ones lawns, is the continued use of chemicals and pesticides. Before the introduction of DDT, the chemicals used to take care of peoples lawns was carbon tetrachloride, mercury bichloride and lead arsenate, the latter being the most popular pesticide before DDT. DDT didn’t last either though with its toxicity to freshwater and marine life and the devastation to bird populations. Lawns are the single largest irrigated crop in the US with all of the upkeep and watering people do to keep in trim and green. Why is it though that people still do things that are hazardous to our environment? There is a lack of knowledge on most occasions, but even those people that do know the consequences of using a particular product still use it. There is an unspoken reality that a nice, clean-cut and green lawn represents a higher economic achievement and so people will keep using pesticides to keep up the appearance.

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