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Geography - Essay Example

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1. What geographical theory best fits global land use: environmental determinism, possibilism, or probabilism? Why?  The main theories, which describe human treatment of environment, include environmental determinism, possibilism, and probabilism. The central idea of environmental determinism is that the main factors, which have prevalent impact on people’s activities, are physical surrounding while social conditions have less influential power…
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Download file to see previous pages... Physical determinism was heavily criticized and it was stated that the theory favored imperialism and racism. Therefore, it was recognized as inappropriate base for ethical considerations how interactions between people and nature, particularly, global land use, should be built. Environmental possibilism is not as strict as determinism and states that physical conditions determine human culture only to certain extent. In other words, people take to account their physical environment while building society, but are not defined by it1. Environmental probabilism extends the previous theory and argues that physical conditions allow for numerous variations in ways how people could interfere with nature. Particularly, the concept describes that there could develop a lot of probable human behaviors within one region2. In such way, environmental probabilism explains such phenomena as different cultures existing at the same areas and is one of the least controversial and most powerful geographical theories, which provide explanations what the relationship between humanity and surrounding is, how people are supposed to exploit natural resources and specifically could be used as valid guide for global land use considerations. 2. What is the most important human land use? What land use is the least important?  The main spheres, which are associated with human land use, include agriculture, mine-working, development of urban areas, deforestation in the process of wood harvesting in order to use it for further house-hold use and construction, using land for animal husbandry. Such heavy exploitation of land resources has led to various negative consequences like deforestation and irrigation of land3. According to IPCC Special Report on Climate Change (2000), there are seven spheres of human land-use activities, which essentially influence environment: “conversion of natural ecosystems to permanent croplands, conversion of natural ecosystems for shifting of cultivation, conversion of natural ecosystems to pasture, abandonment of croplands, abandonment of pastures, harvest of timber, and establishment of tree plantations” (Sutton, 2004).  On contrary the following categories are supposed to be less exploited in human land use: Land under Residential/Industrial/Transportation Facilities, Land under Protective Cover (greenhouses and other urban use; vegetable growing, home gardening, residential parks, golf courses, etc.), Land under Temporary Crops Requiring Wetland Conditions (wet-foot crops such as irrigated rice and jute), Land under Temporary Crops (annuals; cultivated with crops with a growing cycle of under 1 year) (IPCC Special Report on Climate Change 2000) 3. Are global land uses sustainable? Are U.S. land uses sustainable? Why or why not? According to An Overview of Key Environmental Issue, “land use refers to the purposes to which humans commit land cover such as forests and grasslands”4.  Nowadays it is commonly accepted that human land use could cause undesirable changes to ecosystem affecting land cover and land water greatly5. Such human activities as agriculture, logging, ranching, and industrial performance, lead to increased emissions of carbon dioxide gases ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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