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2.2: Competition from introduced rats as well as avian diseases; it was evidenced that the Polynesian rat, which was once introduced on the landscape by humans brought in competition with native birds for food and obstructed the development of the palm trees by eating the nuts…
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Coursework 8
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Evaluation of Easter Island Article work AS and A-Level, Environmental studies work 8 Evaluation of Easter Island Article
A. 1. Environmental conditions (natural systems) that existed on Easter Island before humans arrived
1.1: A resource affluent and bountiful tropical land. This was enhanced by the fresh water lakes of three extinct volcanoes that provided a supply of fresh water for agriculture and subsistence.
1.2: A mild climate and volcanic origins. For example, the forest supported a wide range of at least twenty-five sea bird species.
2. Two unsustainable practices (human systems) that contributed to the later collapse of ecosystems after civilization took hold:
2.1: Predation; for example, the inhabitants hunted for birds and original animal species, leading to general decline and final extinction of 23 of the initial 25 bird species (Diamond, 1995).
2.2: Competition from introduced rats as well as avian diseases; it was evidenced that the Polynesian rat, which was once introduced on the landscape by humans brought in competition with native birds for food and obstructed the development of the palm trees by eating the nuts and seeds.
3. Two ways that unrestricted population growth seems to have contributed to the decline in environmental quality
3.1: unrestricted population growth worn out the natural resource foundation and finally overshot the carrying capacity. This caused social upheaval linked to resource competition and then collapse of society.
3.2: Competition; caused gradual collapse because there would be no quality time for trees to regenerate, while birds and other species were overhunted.
4. Environmental issues caused by the way inhabitants used the Island’s resources
4.1: food shortages became rampant as the native flora and fauna species decreased and finally died out. For instance, deep-sea fish became fewer and fewer due to the reduced number of canoes.
4.2: less productive regions of land increased as the increased population cleared trees and over cultivated the former fertile land (Diamond, 1995).
5. Ways that resource management could have been applied.
5.1:The Islanders could have administered sufficient control method over common resources to protect them from being overused. For example, the inhabitants could have cooperated and authorized this as a rule to be followed by all.
5.2: Considering the then and future generations in the processes of decision making. This could have been more efficient by establishing most favourable resource management institutions.
6. Political and/social “costs” that came about as a result of growing population
6.1: A top down hierarchy came up, under a king’s supervision. Common-pool resources were managed according to tradition and rituals as a means of avoiding overexploitation. However, the traditions did not materialize.
6.2: Group cooperation among societies disintegrated into competition and mutual suspicion. For instance, the reciprocity and trust among tribes disintegrated just like the king’s autonomy to give orders and enforcing them (Diamond, 1995).
B. 1. Due to overpopulation, there was deforestation, which in turn led to soil erosion and nutrient leaching, soil evaporation, wind damage, and final crop yield reduction. This meant that food was insufficient to sustain the population as a result of low harvest and competition for the same. There was also class conflict, where the king was accused of the incapability to avert environmental collapse. Power was then assumed by the warrior class. Jointly, destabilization and inadequate response to circumstances as well as the deterioration of resources combined to cause collapse.
2. Just like Islanders, the current human population struggles to balance between preventing the harmful effects of practices like deforestation, soil erosion, and energy conservation. Most societies in the developing world are overpopulated and this continues to be a challenge to the limited amount of food produced. The historical account of Easter Island serves as a warning sign in regard to the need to address environmental issues in such a way that, it illustrates how lack of thoughtful environmental stewardship and careful planning can lead to failure of sustainable management of resources.
Reference
Diamond, J. (1995). Easter Islands end. Retrieved from: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v403/n6771/full/403709a0.html. Read More
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