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Human impact on the natural enviornment - Research Paper Example

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Human Impact on the Natural Environment Introduction The natural environment is an integral part of human existence. It provides food, shelter and most of the leisure activities experienced by mankind. Fuel, for instance is an important and indispensable component in every day life…
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Human impact on the natural enviornment
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Download file to see previous pages People for instance need timber for building and for fuel, but obtaining it means cutting down trees that are an important aspect of the natural environment. In view of this, the purpose of this paper is to explore the actual human impact on the natural environment. Human impact on vegetation Human existence has a significant impact on plant life. Since the pre-historic times, human beings have greatly relied on plant life for food, shelter and clothing among other uses. With rapid urbanization and the growth of populations, green patches have shrunk to alarming levels, thus requiring a re-evaluation of the interactions between humans and the natural vegetation. Human beings impact the vegetation in various ways. Some of the disruptions to the natural vegetation are fire, deforestation for building materials and cultivation of land. Human beings have used fire since pre-historic times. Fire was an important resource for various reasons such as protection from wild animals at night, communication, clearing forests and in war. Similarly, the impact of fire on the natural environment has been immense. Fires may be caused by human beings or they may occur naturally. Natural fires may be as a result of lightening strikes, sliding rocks and land slides. They may also result from spontaneous combustion, which is the accumulation of heat as a result of thick, compacted and rotten plants (Goudie 26). The effects of fire on the environment depend on its scope, duration and intensity. The nature of fire will determine the extent of the destruction it causes. While some only affect ground vegetation, others will burn out whole forests (Goudie 27). The impact of fire on the vegetation is sometimes positive. The existence of some landscapes on earth such as tropical savannas, medium latitude savannas and grasslands is attributed fires. In some instances, fires are believed to help in the germination of dormant seeds, whereby once a fire burns out, seeds that were lying dormant in the soil start germinating naturally (Goudie 29). At the same time, some plants have become adapted to fire as it facilitates their germination and decomposition. Some areas which are prone to fires actually show greater diversity in terms of different species thus enhancing the stability of the natural environment (Goudie 30). Human impact on water Water is an important element of the natural environment. One of its key roles in the environment is the recycling of different substances. As a solvent, it carries suspended materials as it flows through and into the earth’s surface. Effects of human beings on water areas include the direct pollution of water resources, through directing noxious wastes into water bodies. The cutting down of trees also impacts water resources, as it leads to increased down stream flow by decreasing evaporation and transpiration. Trees, through their own transpiration process increase evaporation, which then turns into precipitation on encountering cold air. As a result, cutting down trees reduces the chances of precipitation, which in turn affects the amount of water available to flowing streams (Haigh and Krecek 2). Human activities such as clearing of forests and plowing of grasslands change the rate at which water and streams flow and the level water infiltration (Meyer 172). Other human activities that affect water include irrigation, which lowers the intensity and volume of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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