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Chapter 9 : Endangered Ecosystem

Human activities usually affect and harm the ecosystem Among the activities are : (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) Deforestation Industrialisation Urbanisation Farming Burning

Deforestation 1. Deforestation is the act of extensive cutting down or burning of trees in a forest. 2. Large area of forests are cleared for their timber, urban development & agriculture purpose. 3. The following are the impacts of deforestation. (a) Soil Erosion 1. Soil erosion happens when the stability of soil is lost due to deforestation. 2. Clearing of trees causes the soil to be exposed to rainfall. 3. The rainfall softens and washes away the top layer of soil and this leads to soil erosion. 4. The eroded soil is carried away by the water and may be deposited in rivers. 5. Soil erosion also leads to loss of minerals for the land. 6. The land cannot be used for cultivation (b) Flash Floods 1. Flash flood happens when rainwater flows quickly into rivers where there is no retention of water by plant roots as well as water catchment areas. 2. Due to sitling in the rivers, the water flow is blocked. 3. So, water flows inland and causes flash flood in low areas. (c) Landslides 1. Landslides happens when its raining for a long period of time mostly during rainy seasons. 2. At steep hillsides, the top layer of soil loosens and slides down or crumble causing a landslides

(d) Extinction of flora and fauna 1. Deforestation causes loss of habitats for many species of flora and fauna. 2. This will lead to an increased rate of extinction of plants and animals. 3. As a result, it reduces biodiversity, source of food and valuable medicines for humans. (e) Greenhouse Effect & Global Warming 1. When large area of trees are burned and cut down, the rate of photosynthesis decreases. 2. Burning of forests also releases large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. 3. Carbon dioxide prevented the heat from sunlight from escaping to the space. 4. Thus, the global temperature increases when the level of carbon dioxide increases. 5. Increasing global temperature may harm the ecosystem and it is called global warming

Industrialisation & Urbanisation 1. The amount of industrial and domestic wastes increases as human population increases. 2. Uncontrolled development of resources leads to the dumping of industrial and domestic waste in landfills. 3. The harmful substances from the dumpsites flow to the ground and pollute the surrounding water sources like rivers and ponds. 4. Toxic gases released by industries causes air pollution.

Farming 1. In intensive farming, farmer uses inorganic fertilisers, which contain mainly nitrates and phosphates, to improve crops production. 2. However, nitrate and phosphate are very soluble in water and do not remain in the soil for long and rapidly leached into the surrounding rivers and ponds. 3. This process may lead to eutrophication in ponds and rivers.

Burning 1. Burning of rubbish, forests and fossil fuels releases a large amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which leads to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Pollutions 1. Pollution is an undesirable change in the environment causes by the releases of harmful substances from human activities. 2. Pollution threatens the health of the organisms and environment. 3. Pollutants are harmful substances which has damaging effects towards the environment and living organism. 4. There are four main types of pollution that is : (a) Air pollution 1. Air pollution occurs when pollutants such as smoke, dirt, dust and poisonous gases are released into the atmosphere harming human lives and the other living organisms. Acid Rain 1. Acid rain was formed when sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide released from vehicles and factory reacted with water vapour to form sulphuric acid and nitric acid. They fall to the earth as acid rain. 2. Acid rain increases the acidity of the water, harming the aquatic lives. 3. Acid rain also corrode metals, stoneworks and buildings. 4. It also causes the soil become acidic making it not suitable for farming and destroy forests .

(b) Water Pollution 1. Water pollution is caused by industrial, agriculture and domestic waste discharged directly into water source like ponds and rivers. 2. This causes the water not safe for human consumption and harm the aquatic lives in the rivers and ponds.

Eutrophication 1. Eutrophication is a natural process whereby an aquatic ecosystem is enriched with nutrients causing an excessive growth of aquatic plants. 2. Nutrients came from many sources such as : (a) Fertilisers( mainly nitrates and phosphate) (b) Untreated sewage (c) Run-off of animal waste

3. The excessive growth of algae is often called an algae bloom.

4. Algae bloom can harm the ecosystem when : (i) The overpopulated algae will cover the water surface and block the sunlight from entering into the water. (ii) This causes the aquatic plants in the water unable to carry out photosynthesis and die. (iii) When the plants die, the oxygen content in the water decreases and the aquatic animals lose their food source and habitat. These also interrupt the food chain and the ecosystem.

5. A depletion of oxygen leads to an increase in Biochemical Oxygen Demand (B.O.D.) 6. Eutrophication increases the B.O.D. value of the water. 7. B.O.D. refers to the rate of uptake of oxygen by the microorganisms in the water. 8. The higher the B.O.D. value, the more polluted the water as the dissolved oxygen level decreases.

(c) Thermal Pollution 1. Thermal pollution is the production and release of excessive heat into the environment

Causes Discharge of hot water from power stations and factories into rivers and ponds. Reflection of heat from glass buildings. -

Effects Reduced the oxygen content in the water. This will lead to the death of aquatic animals and affect the ecological balance. Leads to faster growth of algae and higher BOD in water.

(d) Noise Pollution 1. Noise pollution occurs when our daily lives are disturbed by high levels of noises. 2. There are many sources leads to noise pollution and most of the related to the urban development. Example : (a) Vehicles (b) Jet planes (c) Construction sites (d) Machines 3. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended a noise level not more than 55 decibels (dB) 4. When the noise level reaches 80dB or more, it will lead to discomfort and affect human health like causing headache, hypertension, depression and deafness.

The Greenhouse Effect and the Thinning of the Ozone Layer The Greenhouse Effect 1. 2. 3. 4. Heat energy from the sun reaches the Earth through radiation Some of this radiation is absorbed by the Earth to warm up the surface of the sea and land. The heat in the form of infrared radiation is radiated back into space as the Earth is warmed. However, the increasing amount of greenhouse gases prevented the heat from escaping into space instead, the heat is radiated back to the Earths surface, warming the Earth further. 5. Greenhouse gases include : - Carbon dioxide released by vehicles, power station and burning of fossil fuels - Chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) leak from refrigerator coolants and the aerosol propellants 6. The increase of Earths average temperature is called global war

Melting of polar ice and glaciers causing a rise in sea level

Floods in low-lying countries

Change in wind directions and weather patterns

Effects of global warming

Increase of droughts

Spread of pests and disease-carrying vectors to new areas increases the outbreak of diseases

Intense rain in some regions

Decline in the yield of crops due to dry and fertile soil

Thinning of the Ozone Layer 1. Ozone layer is located in the stratosphere, which is approximately 12-25km above the Earths surface. 2. The ozone layer is important because it absorbs the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. 3. The thinning of the ozone layer is caused by the increase of chloroflurocarbons (CFCs) in the temperature. 4. CFCs are used as coolants in the refrigerators and air conditioners, as propellants in aerosol cans and also foaming agents in the making of polystyrene boxes. 5. CFCs releases chlorine atom when reacted with UV radiation at high altitudes. 6. The chlorine atoms will destroy ozone molecules and can remain in the stratosphere for 100 years. 7. The thinning of ozone layer will lead to the increase of UV radiation reaching the Earths surface.

Exposed to UV radiation for a long period of time may lead to : (a) Human health 1. Skin cancer 2. Eye damage like cataract 3. Lowering of bodys immune system (b) Plants 1. Damage the leaf cells and the chlorophyll, reducing the rate of photosynthesis. 2. Decrease in nutrient content

The Importance of Proper Management of Development Activities and the Ecosystem The Need of Development and the Effects of an Increasing Population on the Ecosystem 1. Development is needed to improve the quality of living and meet the requirements of an increasing population. 2. As the human population increases, so do the needs for survival such as water, food and shelter. 3. This has lead human to activities like burning of fossil fuels, deforestation and the release of more industrial and domestic waste. 4. These activities has disrupt the balance of nature and pollute the environment. 5. Therefore, efforts must be taken to control this development project to decrease the negative impact of the development towards the environment.

Measures taken to ensure a balanced ecosystem Implementation of laws 1. Many laws and regulations has been enacted by the government in order to protect the environment. These include : (a) Environmental Quality Act (EQA), 1974 (b) Environmental Quality (Clean Air) Regulations, 1978 - To control air pollution. (c) Environmental Quality(Sewage And Industrial Effluents) Regulations, 1979 - To control water pollution. (d) Environmental Quality(Motor Vehicle Noise) Regulations, 1987 - To control noise pollution. (e) Environmental Quality(Refrigerant Management) Regulations, 1999 To control CFC emissions. (f) Environmental Quality Impact Assessment Order, 1987

Use of technology 1. 2. 3. 4. Formal education is carried out in schools, colleges, universities and other institutions. Informal education is carried out through posters, mass media and campaigns. The concept of 3Rs(reduce, reuse & recycle) in our daily living. Reusing bottles and containers can reduce wastage. Old newspaper can be reused to warp materials and old books, furniture or clothes can be donated to be reused by people who need these items. 5. Reduce the use of plastic bags which is non-biodegradable to protect the environment. People are encouraged to bring their own food container when buying food to reduce the use of polystyrene boxes.

Preservation and conservation 1. Preservation is to protect the ecosystem and to maintain the balance of nature. 2. Conservation is to recover the imbalanced ecosystem to its natural equilibrium. 3. Preservation and conservation of soil is required to reduce soil erosion and landslides Steps taken including : (a) Farming along contours (b) Crop rotation(Different crop plants are grown in a regular rotation) (c) Proper use of fertilisers (d) Management of drainage and irrigation 4. Water sources and water catchment areas can be preserved and conserved by educating the public to protect the rivers, lakes and enforcing laws to prevent water pollution. 5. Forests need to be preserved and conserved because : (a) They absorbs large amount of carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and releases oxygen for cellular respiration. (b) They help to prevent soil erosion and landslides. (c) They provide timber and other products such as fruits, rattan and herbs. 6. Mangrove forests are important because : (a) They are rich in biodiversity and provide habitats and food for living organism and also source of raw material for building. (b) They play vital roles in flood control, coastal erosion prevention, sediment control and as a barrier against strong sea waves and filter water and other effluents. 7. Thus, forests management like replanting of trees and forests reserves to be gazetted must be carried out to ensure the forest can provide a continuous supply of vital products.

Biological control 1. Biological control is the use of pests natural predator to control the population of the pest in the minimum level. 2. Using biological control can avoid the use of pesticide on food and it is not costly.

Use of renewable energy 1. Renewable energy is the energy that happens naturally, inexhaustible and does not pollute the environment. 2. Examples of renewable energy : (a) Wind energy (b) Solar energy (c) Hydroelectric power (d) Biological fuels

Efficient use of energy 1. Use of non-renewable energy like fossil fuels will be exhausted and cannot be renewed if its usage is not controlled 2. Modifying the engines and machines in vehicles can improve fuel effieciency.