GEOG1220 - Human Impact on the Environment Exam Notes -...

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Final Exam Notes Week 7 – Environment Management and FisheriesThe Anthropocene The Anthropocene is an informal geologic term used to mark the evidence and extent of human activities that have had significant global impact on the earth’s ecosystems (anthro=human, cene =new) Coined by ecologist E.F. Stoermer and popularized by atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen. The Anthropocene is the most recent period of the Quaternary oQuaternary is a period of Earth’s history characterized by numerous and cyclical glaciations starting 2,588,000 years ago oQuaternary is divided into three epochs: the Pleistocene, the Holocene, and now the Anthropocene Pleistocene (2.588 Ma to 11.7Ka) More than eleven major glaciations Time of early humans Holocene (11.7Ka to 1800 AD): Time of relatively stable climate At the end of the last ice age 12,000 years ago, the ice gave way to temperate climates and humans were present on all continents We are officially still in the Holocene Anthropocene Relating to or denoting the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominantinfluence on climate and the environment Start date is debatableo10,000 years ago start of the agricultural revolution o250 years ago start of the industrial revolution Recall:
Population Demographic Transition oPre-Industrial Stage Birth rate and death rate are high oTransitional Stage Death rate declines due to increased food production and improved medical care oIndustrial StageBirth rate declines due to increased opportunities for women and access to birth control oPost-Industrial Stage Birth rate and death rate are low Population growth rate for developing countries is much higher than that of developed countries Carrying Capacity Maximum population of a species that a given habitat can support over a given period of time Knowing the carrying capacity of an ecosystem is an important planning tool as it provides information on when the services of the ecosystem are being exceeded, leading to its possible collapse and the total or partial loss of the services of the system
Carry capacity constraints oHuman carrying capacity depends on both natural constraints and cultural choices oNatural constraints include the distribution and availability of portable water,the quality of soil, ecosystem biodiversity, weather, terrain, and the occurrence of natural disasters oCultural constraints: economic system, political institutions, values, tastes, fashion, religion, family structure, educational concepts, and the handling of externalities Cultural Carrying Capacity oThe number of people an area can support given the prevailing technologyoImplies ecological, technological, social and political components Arguments against Carrying Capacity oReserves of natural resources are predicated on the technology developed fortheir extraction, consequently technology ultimately defines the economics of resource extractiono

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