Environmental Archaeology - Essay Example

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Environmental Archeology Name: Institution: Environmental Archeology Environmental archeology studies the mutual effects of human activities on the environment by analyzing the paleoenvironment around the area of study. Human societies around the globe are closely associated with their natural surrounding…
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Environmental Archaeology
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Download file to see previous pages Most studies, since the ancient times, have indicated that increased human activities on the environment have led to environmental degradation and transformation. However, this paper presents environmental, archeological view that lack of human activities on the environment leads to land degradation and transformation. Since the ancient periods, it is highly believed that increased human activities on the environment have caused environmental transformation and degradation. Almost all human activities have either positive or negative effect on the environment. For example, all types of pollutions are because of human activity. The pronounced sources of pollution are water pollution, air pollution, and farming (Chambers, 2004). Farming is one of the main causes of environmental degradation and pollution. This is because most farmers are determined to practice only one form of animal husbandry, and produce a single crop. This is believed to fuel the loss of biodiversity since natural forests are cleared to create space for these human activities. Clearing of land exposes the soil surface to rainfall and surface run-offs, which causes soil erosion (Chambers, 2004). In addition, cleared forests reduce the amount of natural habitat available for wildlife. Unlike the traditional assumptions that increased human activity leads to environmental degradation and transformation, “culture-centric” perspective on the environmental archeology argues that lack of human activities leads to environmental degradation and transformation (Chris, 2003). Deforestation caused through human activities, such as logging and burning, is at times beneficial to both plants and animals. Animals, plants, and trees naturally recover from burnt forests if the space is not occupied by human settlements. Birds such as woodpeckers survive well in freshly burned areas more than thickets where they feed on insects that occupy the burned area (Hall & Harry, 2006). In addition, seed dispersion is enhanced through human activities such as the search for food. Trees like lodgepole produce serrotonous cones. These cones are fused shut, and they only burst when burnt. Wildfires set by human burn these cones, thereby spreading their seeds into burnt areas with little competition (Hall & Harry, 2006). After 20 years of growth, the burned area soon becomes fully occupied by medium-height lodgepole pines. An example of such area is Yellowstone National Park (Chambers, 2004). This, therefore, indicates human activities such as deforestation can enhance dispersion of seeds from one area to another, thus the spread of plant and tree species. Human’s ability to confine wild animals into specific areas has also created order in the environment. Wild animals are an integral part of the natural environment, and their existence creates a balance in the ecosystem. However, due to dynamic environmental degradations and transformations, human realized the need to conserve the wild animals in parks and zoos to protect them from drought and poaching among other factors (Rashid et al, 2005). Through conservation, animals are protected from the loss of habitat, climatic changes, hunting, natural calamities, pollution, over-exploitation, pesticides, and toxic chemicals (Rashid et al, 2005). This has ensured successful utilization of available natural resources by regulating the rate of competition among the animals, and protecting them from external threats (Rashid et al, 2 ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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