This chain of unpredictable events illustrates the

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Unformatted text preview: land became uncultivable. When Hurricane Mitch struck in 1998, much of the soil was washed away in mudslides that displaced half the population and reduced agricultural production by 95 percent. Meanwhile, communities in the area developed a lower immunity to malaria. When the low-immunity population moved north to rainforests that could support them, they encountered high concentrations of malaria-bearing mosquitoes, which lead to a rapid rise in the number of malaria cases. This chain of unpredictable events illustrates the complexity of our environment and its sensitivity to human-driven change. To reduce the potential for negative “environmental surprises,” we should practice the precautionary principle and minimize how much change we introduce to the environment. As an example of ecosystem services and the effects of environmental degradation we will look at forest ecosystems and the problem of deforestation. Later we will cover most of the ecosystem services listed in Table 1.5....
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