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Human Impact on the Biosphere:
Natural Resources
Renewable Resource: nature can
replace it in the near future.
Sustainable Yield: the replacement of
renewable resources at the same
rate at which they are consumed.
•5 reasons that forests are valuable:
1. O2 – CO2 cycle
2. absorb air
3. prevent erosion
4. provide animal
5. people get useful products from
Non-Renewable Resource: cannot be replaced by nature;
or it takes more than a human lifetime to replace.
Sustainable Development: using natural resources without
depleting them or causing long-term environmental harm.
Environmental Viewpoints:
1. Development: exploit the land for human profit with little thought
to how it affects nature.
2. Preservation: leave the land as it is, keep nature in nature (often
referred to as tree huggers)
3. Conservation: we must coexist with nature. Using land and other
natural resources wisely to get what we need with the least
disruption to nature as possible.
The 3 R’s of conservation:
Energy Resources:
• Fossil Fuels: (non-renewable) – Coal, Oil, & Natural Gas
• Nuclear Fission: non-renewable; but produces
radioactive wastes
• Renewable Alternative Energy sources: Wind, Solar,
Geothermal, Hydroelectric, & Biomass
Human Impact on Air Resources:
• Burning of fossil fuels pollutes the air with S, N, & C
• Smog: fog or haze combined
with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants.
• Acid Precipitation: precipitation high in acid content,
caused by gases combining in the air to form a type of acid
(S & N compounds).
Human Impact on Air Resources:
• Ozone (O3) Layer: layer of the atmosphere that protects
Earth from harmful UV radiation. Release of CFC’s results
in depleting ozone in the atmosphere, concentrated in an
area over Antarctica.
• Greenhouse Effect: trapping of
heat by certain gases in the
atmosphere (water vapor,
carbon dioxide, methane,
nitrous oxide, and ozone.)
Human Impact on Air Resources:
• Global Climate Change: increased global temperature
caused by increased CO2 and other gases in the
atmosphere are leading to global climate changes.
Humans contribute to increased CO2 by the
burning of fossil fuels & deforestation.
Human Impact on Water Resources:
• Point Source Pollution: an identifiable source of pollution
from which pollutants are discharged, such as a sewage
treatment plant or industrial site.
• Non-Point Source Pollution: is pollution from a wide spread
area that gets carried into streams by rainfall (ex. Fertilizers,
pesticides, leaked oil, gas, or other chemicals; as well as,
solid wastes.
Human Impact on Water Resources:
• Wetland destruction: Wetlands are filled in for agriculture
and development. Wetlands naturally filter pollutants
keeping them out of our waterways; & provide habitats.
• Overuse: leading to drop in the water table; especially in
western USA due to irrigation for agriculture, lawn/flower
bed/garden watering, etc.
Human Impact on Water Resources:
• Bioremediation: using organisms to clean up or break down
toxic wastes (ex. Bacteria to clean up oil spills). This is a
positive solution to a negative impact.
the number different species in an area.
• KY has the 2nd greatest biodiversity in the world, behind
only the tropical rainforest. This is due to the variety of
habitats: Mountains in the east, Wetlands in the west,
Plains in the center, Caves, Cliffs, Lakes, Streams & Rivers;
however, KY leads the U.S. in habitat loss due to urban
sprawl: 100 acres/day.
• Threatened Species: one whose numbers have
dropped to the point that it may become
• Endangered Species: one whose numbers are so low
that it is in danger of extinction!!
• Extinct: this species no longer exists!!!
3 Ways to protect biodiversity:
1. laws and treaties to prevent the illegal sale of
endangered species or products made from them
2. captive breeding in zoos or wildlife refuges
3. habitat preservation (protecting entire ecosystems)
Humans Activities that reduce biodiversity:
1. Pollution: a negative effect change on nature caused by
human activities in which a substance enters Earth’s
biogeochemical cycles. .
2. Altering Habitats (development, habitat fragmentation,
mountain top removal mining, agriculture, etc.)
[Habitat Fragmentation occurs when development
splits an ecosystem into pieces.]
3. Over hunting (poaching, hunting out of season,
going over the limit, etc.)
4. Introduction of Exotic (Invasive) Species: a species
that is not native to the area, but have been
introduced by humans. Many of these have no
natural predators.