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Human Impact On The Environment Essay

1834 words - 7 pages

Human Impact on the Environment

About three hundred years ago there was a definite spurt in the
population of the human race. This was brought about with advancements
in sanitation and technology, as well as a dramatic fall in the death
rate. By around 1850 the world's population had grown to about 1
billion and by 1930 it had risen to 2 billion. The current figure is
around 6 billion and at this rate the United Nations estimates the
population will be at about 9 billion by 2054. This would be a 900%
increase in just 200 years.

This increase in population has meant that the world's resources have
been put under a great strain in order to sustain the human race. But
it has only been in recent years that man has looked to address the
problems he has caused and many of them are irreversible. Ever since
man learnt to hunt with weapons, species have been hunted to
extinction, and as the brain capacity of man increased so did his
expectation of living standards. This has meant an even greater effect
on the planet and has resulted in urbanisation, growth in agriculture,
and the inevitable rise in deforestation.

Deforestation is proceeding at about 17 million hectares per year.
Between 1980 and 1990 the 1.2 per cent in Asia, 0.8 per cent in Latin
America and 0.7 per cent in Africa. Although the most publicised loss
in forest is in rainforests, the UK has also suffered major forest
loss in the past 150 years. About 200 years ago 85% of the UK was
woodland and now the figure is under 8%. The reasons for deforestation
are:

· Fuel

· Urbanisation

· Agriculture

· Wood for building

Deforestation causes soil erosion and watershed destabilisation, and
this regularly results in flooding and droughts. It also reduces
bio-diversity and this is particularly significant in the tropical
rainforests. The culture of many forest-peoples has been destroyed and
deforestation also affects the livelihoods of between 200 and 500
million people, who depend on the rainforest for their shelter and
food. Deforestation may also lead to global climate imbalances. There
is also a major problem when it comes to carbon storage. With the
removal of the trees excessive carbon dioxide levels in the
environment may lead to global warming, with many problematic side
effects. While deforestation is now viewed as problem, historically it
was considered to assist natural development and so now some countries
rely on the rainforest for income and the problem will continue whilst
they have no alternative.

Another problem caused by humans is as a result of the increase in
demand for extensive farming throughout the world. In order for crops
to be grown trees have to be cut down and I have explained the effects
of this already. As well as deforestation, agriculture has also called
for the use...

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