Thursday, June 30, 2016

ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW PLANT POPULATIONS


Methods to establish new plant populations are different from establishing vertebrate or animal populations. Animals can move from one place to another in search of food or moisture conditions. In plants the seeds are dispersed to the other sites through wind, water and animals or by conservation biologists activity.
When a seed is planted on a site it is unable to move even if a suitable site exists at few meters distance. The immediate small suitable site is necessary in case when environmental conditions become harsh e.g. the weather is too hot, too wet, too dry or too shady. In these conditions the seeds either don't germinate or plants die. Plants are vulnerable to attacks by insects, pests and fungi. Fire also disturb the seeds establishment.

Considerations while reintroduction of Plants
  • Careful site selection should be taken into account otherwise plants will not be able to survive or flower.
  • Those factors should be identified that cause the decline in plants species.
  • Management techniques should be developed to manage the introduce and native species.
Some plant populations fail to establish when seeds are planted at the sites even sites were found suitable for them. In a case seeds of 6 annual plants species were planted in 48 suitable sites. After 2 years the plant population persisted on 5 sites and after 6 years population persisted on only 1 site. At these successful sites the population size of species of plants increased to 10,000 and it spread to 30 m around margins of marshy pond.
In another case seeds of 35 perennial herbs species were sown at 173 sites. No seedling was observed at 167 sites out of 173 sites. No individuals were seen at 32 out of 35 species.

The problem arise while sowing the seeds is that the species did not mimic the natural process exactly. To overcome these problems new techniques were introduced such as:
  • Fencing to exclude animals
  • Removal of existing vegetation
  • Plant nurse plants in arid regions
  • Adding mineral nutrients

Keys to Success

The keys to success are as follows:
  • using as many sites as possible
  • use as many seeds and adult plants as possible
  • reintroducing species year after year at many sites
  • careful monitoring of seedlings and adults
Case Study

The large flowered fiddleneck is an annual plant belonging from northern California. It has not a wide range. These species decline due to livestock grazing and fire suppression. Reintroduction of these fiddleneck was done with careful considerations such as management of grass specific herbicides and burning. This was first implemented in experiment than it was applied to natural population resulting in increase in plant population.



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

CONSIDERATIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS


Establishment of new populations is quite difficult and expensive and it requires long term and serious commitments. The programs to capture, raise and monitor the species such as condor, peregrine falcon, ferrets millions of dollars are required and millions of year work is needed. When species are long lived they required that much time to take care of the program. Emotional public issues were raised while decision making of reintroduction of grizzly bears, grey wolf programs, black footed ferrets and California condor.

Criticism

Criticism regarding this reintroduction programs raised were:

  • Waste of Money
  • Unnecessary
  • Intrusive
  • Poorly run
  • Unethical
Answers to these Questions

The answers to these questions is simple that not every endangered specie is suited for reintroduction program. A well designed and well run reintroduction program proves to be best option for the endangered species that are at the verge of extinction. It is very important to explain the goals of programs to the local people. Public acceptance should be involved. Local community should be addressed with the need of these programs rather than the enforcement by laws and regulations. 

Genetic component should be taken into account in reintroduction programs. Captive bred animals lose their genetic variability. The captive animals grown in captivity from generations leads to gene frequency changes such as in Pacific Salmon. Careful selection of animals should be done against inbreeding depression and to produce more genetically diverse populations.

Soft Release

"Animals need special care and attention during and after the release of species. This approach is known as soft release."

Animals have to be fed and sheltered at release point. They are initially kept in cages at release point so that they are familiar of the area and than they are gradually released into the wild. 

Hard Release

"Release of animals from captivity to wild without any initial subsistence such as food supplementation is known as hard release."

This results in the dispersion of groups from the protected areas and it proves to be a failed effort.

Interventions are necessary for the survival of species especially in droughts or low food abundance conditions. Outbreaks of diseases and pests must be monitored. Impact of human activities such as agriculture and farming must be seen. 

Reintroduction programs have gained educational value. The efforts to reintroduce and preserve the Golden Lion Temarins in Bazil has become a rallying point for protecting the last fragments of Atlantic coastal forests.
Captive bred Arabian Oryx has become a national symbol and became the employment source for people of Bedouins.

Monitoring Programs

These programs are important in determining whether the reintroduction programs are achieving their stated goals. Monitoring elements are:
Determining the animals that are released are survived or not? 
Establishing breeding population than seeing if this population is increasing over time and geographical range.

A Case Study
Red Wolves Reintroduction

Red Wolves were reintroduced in Alligator river National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern north California. 42 captive bred species were introduced. Survival observed was 50 % after 3 years and 23 pups were produced. Animals established here survived by hunting on raccoons and eating carrion. This program was proved to be successful effort.



BEHAVIORS OF RELEASED ANIMALS WHILE INTRODUCTION AND REINTRODUCTION PROGRAMS




If we want to make reintroduction and introduction programs successful than behaviors of released animals should be addressed while releasing the animals in any habitat.
Social Animals Learning: When social animals such as mammals and birds grow in wild, they learn about their environment from their members of community especially from their partners. They learn how to interact with other members of the population. They learn how to search for food, how to get that and consume that food. 
For Carnivores such as lions and wild dogs, hunting techniques are complex and these require a teamwork.
Herbivores such as Hornbills and Gibbons have to learn the seasonal migration patterns to obtain the variety of food by covering a large area to make them alive. They are also taught in family groups how to capture  and find food. Many species perform some cues or rituals to attract the mate. 

ANIMALS RAISED IN CAPTIVITY

Animals that are raised in captivity (in separate preserved area species are grown with special conditions provision) they are restricted to a cage or pen and no exploration to other animals in wild is required. They have no need to learn how to search food or how to compete with other species for food. They are not learned how to interact with other species. They are given food on schedule in their cages. Social behavior of species are greatly effected by captivity because they are grown alone in unnatural grouping e.g. single gender or same age groups). Social skills are not developed in that individuals such as find food, sense, danger finding mate partners, raise young ones. 

TRAINING FOR BUILDING BEHAVIORAL SKILLS 

For overcoming this problem captive bred mammals and birds should be trained before and after releasing into the environment. They must learn how to avoid predators, find food, interact with other species. Captive animals are learnt how to fear from potential predators by frightening by a dummy predator. Captive techniques should be built. 
Examples
Captive Chimps for example are learnt how to use twigs to feed on termites or how to build nests in captivity.
Red Wolves are learnt how to kill live prey.

SOCIAL INTERACTIONS

Social interactions are one of the difficult behavior being adopted in species. One successful attempt used is to pair the captive bred individual with the wild animals and released together. Wild animals acted as instructors.
For example, Golden Lion Temarin wild specie is introduced with captive bred Golden Lion Temarin specie. Captive bred specie learn from wild ones.

Humans also mimic as predators to captive bred individuals so  to adapt them from predators. 
For Example, Condor hatchlings are not adapted to learn behavior of their relative wild species. They are fed with condor puppets and kept from sight of visitors so that they could recognize their own species and could differentiate their species from humans.
Some captive bred species when released in wild they mate with wild species and make a social group. They learned from them. But it is not a successful practice for birds. Wild birds during migration became a cause of high mortality rate of captive bred bald ibis.



Monday, June 27, 2016

THE EARTH SUMMIT AND AGENDA 21


INTRODUCTION

The United Nations Conference on Human and Environment was a large event in Rio de Jenario Brazil in 1992 that bring together the Heads of State, Chief of Governments, Senior Diplomats, Government Officials, delegates from UN agencies, NGOs, Journalists and officials of International Organization.
The issues such as global climate change, biological diversity, deforestation, and desertification were concluded at Earth Summit. 
Agenda 21 was a special product of Earth Summit. It was a program for 21st century, approved by consensus among world leaders in Rio that represent 98 % of world population. This document is 700 pages long and covers all the areas of sustainable development.

OVERVIEW OF AGENDA 21

SECTION ONE: SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC DIMENSIONS

1. PREAMBLE

Agenda 21 is a dynamic program. This process marks the start of global partnership.

2. ACCELERATING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It calls for global partnership to increase the global economy by increasing the sustainable patterns of life.

3. COMBATING POVERTY

This objective is to improving access to safe drinking water and better sanitation to poor. improving education facility to poor, restoration of degraded land. It ensures the men and women equal rights and free decision making to spacing the number of children.

4. CHANGING CONSUMPTION PATTERNS

It focus on less dependence on earths finite resources, greater efficiency in energy and resources and changing unsustainable consumption patterns.

5. POPULATION AND SUSTAINABILITY

In this it is emphasized that health services should be women centered, women managed, safe reproductive health care  and affordable services. It also focus on reduction of infant death rate and low birth rate that stabilize the population at the end of century.

6. PROTECTING AND PROMOTING HUMAN HEALTH

It focus on fulfilling the basic health needs of populations especially in rural areas where health service facilities are less and they should be enhanced with advance health care services.

7. SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SETTLEMENT

It deals with access to land, credit, low cost building materials for homeless poor, upgrading of slums, access to services such as safe drinking water, sanitation, waste collection, increase use of public transport, use of bicycles ad pathways and improved living conditions in rural settlements. 

8. DECISION MAKING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It calls for the government to create the sustainable strategies and policies in all ministries. It encourages the nations and corporate enterprises to include environmental protection, degradation, and restoration cost in decision making. 

SECTION TWO: CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF RESOURCES

9. PROTECT ATMOSPHERE

It focus on expansion of renewable resources, enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases and control of transboundary pollution. Government shall develop the programs to detect the atmospheric pollutants, modernize the energy efficiency gaining power systems  and increase energy efficiency education.

10. MANAGING LAND SUSTAINABILITY

It calls for government to make policies for land resources base, enforce the laws and regulations for sustainable use of land and restrict the use of arable land to other uses. Use techniques that focus on ecosystems and watersheds such as landscape ecological planning.

11. COMBATING DEFORESTATION

It calls for international search and efforts to control forests cutting, uncontrolled degradation and conversion of other types of land use. Government shall plant trees to reduce pressure on old forests, breed more trees that are more productive and resistant to stress, protect the forests and reduce the pollutants.

12. COMBATING DESERTIFICATION AND DROUGHT

Government must adopt national land use plants, sustainable manage water resources, plant trees and reduce fuel wood and shift towards other energy efficient resources.

13. SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Population food demand must be fulfilled by increased productivity, increase cooperation of rural people, national governments, private sectors and international community. Techniques should be adopted for reducing food spoilage, loss of pests, water resources management and conserving soil.

14. CONSERVATION OF BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

I involves the adopting of strategies for sustaining and preserving biological diversity.


15. MANAGEMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY

It includes developing vaccines and use of techniques for preventing diseases and toxins, increase crop resistance to pests and diseases. There shall be less use of chemical pesticides.

16. PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT OF OCEANS

It deals with protection o oceans. Application of Polluter Pay Principle and giving incentives for reducing polluting in the oceans proves to be better management practices for oceans.

Other Points that comes under section 2 are :

17. PROTECTING AND MANAGING FRESHWATER (deals with fresh water resource management)
18. SAFE USE OF TOXIC CHEMICALS (deals with handling, disposal and safe use of chemicals)
19. MANAGING HAZARDOUS WASTES (deals with handling, safe use and disposal of hazardous waste)
20. MANAGING SOLID WASTE AND SEWAGE (deals with reduction of solid waste, proper management of sewage)
21. MANAGING RADIOACTIVE WASTE ( deals with great care taken for handling this waste and proper disposal techniques for waste handling)
22. SUSTAINABLE MOUNTAIN MANAGEMENT (deals with strategies for sustainable mountain ranges management)

SECTION THREE: 
STRENGTHENING ROLE OF MAJOR GROUPS

23. PREAMBLE

Implementation of objectives and policies in all programs of Agenda 21 and involvement of all social groups is the commitment described by this section.

24. WOMEN IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It describes that girls should have equal access to education, reduce workload on women, health care facilities should be provided to them and bring women in participation of cultural and public life. 

25. CHILDREN AND YOUTH IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Access of secondary schooling should be given; Youth should be involved in  decision making to make environment effective; Youth International meeting should be held; they should have right to participate in the decision making at UN.

26. STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Government should enroll indigenous people in global partnership, their rights should be saved and indigenous land should be protected from harmful environmental activities.

27. PARTNERSHIP WITH NGOs

NGOs should be involve in making policies and making decisions.

28. LOCAL AUTHORITIES

Local authorities such as women and youth should be involved in decision making planning and implementation process.

29. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS

Goal of employment and sustainable livelihood could be achieved by workers and trade union cooperation.

Other groups involved are:

30. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY
31. SCIENTISTS AND TECHNOLOGISTS
32. STRENGTHENING ROLE OF FARMERS

SECTION FOUR: MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION

33. FINANCING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Huge sustainable development programs of Agenda 21 require developing countries for new additional financial resources.

34. TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

Developed countries transfer the economic assistance n the form of technology to developing countries. 

35. SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

It focus on development of scientific enterprises. Lack of scientific information will not be an excuse for postponing the actions.

36. EDUCATION, TRAINING AND PUBLIC AWARENESS

Illiteracy must be reduced to half of its 1990 level. Environment and development should be included in the education and curriculum.

37. CREATING CAPACITY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

Developing countries need more technical assistance and cooperation
Assistance in the form of skills, knowledge and technical know how

38. ORGANIZING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

To monitor the implementation of Agenda 21 includes organizing authorities such as General Assembly, Secretary General and commission on sustainable development.

39. INTERNATIONAL LAW

The goals in international laws on sustainable development include: development of universal agreements that create environmental standards for environment protection, international review of rights and obligations of nations and measures to avoid international disputes.

40. INFORMATION FOR DECISION MAKING

Information of status of urban air, water, land, desertification, biodiversity, seas, urbanization, poverty and health is needed for sustainable decision making of environment.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

NATIONAL POLICY OF PAKISTAN 2005


POLICY VISION

"The National Environmental Policy aims at improving the quality of life of Pakistan by conserving, protecting and improving the Pakistan's environment and cooperation among the civil society, government agencies, private sectors and other stakeholders."

OBJECTIVES
  • Maintain clean and healthy environment for the people of Pakistan.
  • Achieve sustainable economic development by conserving and protecting the resources.
  • Effective management of Pakistan's environment by involvement of stakeholders.
SECTORAL ISSUES

1. Water Supply and Management

To promote the clean and improve water supply and effective management of water resources the government shall:
  • develop legal and policy frameworks
  • increase water supply and water treatment facilities
  • do water quality monitoring
  • install water treatment plants
  • promote metering of water consumption
  • promote technologies for rain water harvesting
  • enact Water Conservation Act
2. Energy Efficiency and Renewables

To promote energy efficiency and renewable resource use government shall:
  • implement National Energy Policy
  • enact energy conservation legislation
  • strengthen financial mechanisms, institutions, policies and regulations
  • promote energy efficiency imports
  • implement a plan for shift of public transport to CNG
  • promote renewable forms of energy
  • institute National Energy Conservation Award
3. Agriculture and Livestock

To achieve sustainable agriculture and livestock government shall:
  • promote organic farming
  • launch programs to prevent soil degradation
  • promote integrated pest management, safe use of insecticides, weedicide, fungicide and herbicide
  • develop National Desertification Control Fund
  • enhance compatible ecological cropping system
  • increase livestock production
  • promote recycling of agricultural products
  • promote high productivity varieties of livestock
4. Forestry and Plantations

For better management of forests and enhance plantations government shall:
  • finalize National Forest Policy
  • set up institutions and legal frameworks to promote forest governance
  • promote social forestry
  • promote farm forestry and irrigated plantation
  • sustainably manage riverine forest
  • Develop a strategy and plan for managing mangrove forests
  • strengthen forestry research and training institutions
  • promote sustainable management of rangelands and pastures
5. Biodiversity and Protected Areas

To promote sustainable use of sustainable biodiversity and management of protected areas government shall:
  • implement Biodiversity Action Plan
  • create new national parks and protected areas
  • make a strategy to combat invasive species
  • make wise use of wetland resources
  • promote ex situ conservation of biodiversity
  • implement national wetland policy
  • protect fish habitat and harvest fisheries in sustainable way
6. Air Quality and Noise

To prevent air pollution and noise government shall:
  • enforce ambient and indoor air quality standards
  • enact National Clean Air Act
  • enforce National Environmental Quality Standards
  • use catalytic converters in vehicles
  • promote cleaner production technologies
  • phase out two stroke vehicles
  • establish and enforce ambient noise standards
  • implant the Pakistan Clean Air Program
7. Climate Change and Ozone Depletion
To address the challenges faced by climate change and ozone depletion government shall:
  • implement national climate change action plan
  • develop National Clean Development Authority
  • phase out ozone depleting substances
8. Pollution and Waste Management

To prevent pollution and waste management government shall:
  • enforce National Environmental Quality Standards
  • introduce discharge licensing system for country
  • develop and implement National Sanitation Policy
  • promote reuse, recycle and reduce mechanism for waste handling
  • promote ISO 14000 certification
  • implement strategies to manage municipal, industrial and hospital waste at national, local and regional levels
CROSS SECTORAL ISSUES

1. Population and Environment

To address population environment nexus government shall:
  • incorporate environmental considerations into population policies, projects and programs
  • increase public awareness of  problems of population 
  • ensure equal access of land and resources to population
2. Gender and Environment

Environmental policies programs and projects are gender sensitive. For this government shall:
  • ensure women active participation in all environmental projects and programs
  • mainstream gender in all policies and programs
3. Health and Environment

To reduce health hazards due to environmental degradation government shall:
  • develop and implement Occupational Health and Safety Rules
  • include effective waste management system in all health care facilities
4. Trade and Environment

In this case government shall:
  • certify the public and private sector environmental laboratories
  • provide financial and other incentives
5. Poverty and Environment
  • Government shall integrate poverty environment issues in economic policies and plans.
  • It shall enhance community level environmental management.
6. Environment and Local Governance
  • Government shall establish nationwide district environment offices and district environment committees.
  • establish district development funds
7. Natural Disaster Management
  • Government shall develop a national disaster management strategy.
  • It shall also establish national disaster management centers at federal and provincial level.
POLICY INSTRUMENTS

The key instruments for implementation of policies are listed as:
  • Integration of environment into development planning
  • Legislation and regulatory framework
  • Capacity Development
  • Economic and Market based instruments
  • Public Awareness and Education
  • Public Private Partnership

Friday, June 24, 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS


Environmental Ethics assume that moral norms govern the
human behavior towards natural world.

Many ethics regarding the environment were presented by environmentalists. These are as follows:

UNIVERSALISTS 

  • Plato and Kant presented this ethic. The concept describes that fundamental ethics are universal and  unchanging. 
  • The rules of right and wrong are valid without concerning the interests, desires and attitude.
  • God has created these rules or these are revealed for any reason and knowledge.
RELATIVISTS

  • This ethic was of Sophists. It claims that moral principles are relative to any particular person, society or condition.
  • Ethical values are context based.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche's said that there are no facts only interpretations.
NIHILISTS

This ethic was given by Schopenhauer. Very dark view was given by him. He said the World has no sense at all. Life is dark. To exist on earth unceasing struggle is required. Its just like eat or to be eaten. There is no such thing that is good in life. Life is about suffering, pain, uncertainty and despair.

LAND ETHIC

  • Land Ethic was presented by Aldo Leopold. According to this ethic, Land is not considered as mere object or dead thing to be owned as property. 
  • Land life is a living thing. It should be viewed as living organism...
  • According to this, preserve all the forms of life on the earth to maintain the stability of world. When small changes occur in the system, the system self sustained it.
  • Leopold made a conclusion that a thing is right when it maintains the integrity and stability of biotic community  otherwise it is wrong.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

  • This ethic represents the views that there should be care of the place and to manage it properly.
  • We are partners of nature rather than masters of it.
  • There should be collaboration with nature to sustain it and make it a better place.
  • According to Islamic Scholar Dr. AbuBakar Ahmad Bagader " everything in this universe has the value. God gives the humans stewardship on the earth. And man is a manager on earth not a proprietor, a beneficiary not a disposer; Man should care the earth and use it as trustee.
ECOFEMINISM

  • It is a pluralistic (Freedom of Thought), relationship oriented and non hierarchical philosphy. 
  • According to this people see themselves in coperation with others not in competition, network of personal relationships rather than isolated egos.
UTILITARIANS

  • This ethic is about utilization of resources.
  • Jeremy Bentham has the philosophy that said Goodness brings happiness and happiness brings pleasure.
  • John Stuart Mill said that pleasures of intellect are greater than pleasures of the body.
  • By inspiring these philosophies Giffort Pinchot believed that greatest good for the greatest number of people for long time.

ANTHROPOCENTRISM

  • It is a human centered approach.
  • It describes that humans only have intrinsic values that have only worth.
  • Things are good because they are human interest.
  • Animals are valuable because humans use them for various purposes for their ease.

BIOCENTRISM

  • It is a life centered approach.
  • Famous phrase regarding this ethic is revenge for life means to enhance life not to harm it.

ECOCENTRISM

  • It is based on ecological perspective.
  • This depicts that not only living organisms but also non living things such as forests, rivers, also have moral values.   


Thursday, June 23, 2016

EVOLUTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL THINKING AND CURRENT ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES


EVOLUTION OF ENVIRONMENTAL THINKING

The impacts caused by human activities to environment were recognized globally known as environmental impacts.

1940s

In 1948 IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) was made.  It acted as Inter governmental body. IUCN in current time has several civil socirty organizations as its members.

1950s

  • DDT (Dichloro diphenyl trichloroethane) was detected in the flesh of flightless penguins of Antarctica.
  • Letchworth Garden City was built in this time period.
  • Electron capture detector was invented that could measure the man made chemicals in minutes quantities.

1960s

  • In 1962 a book Silent Spring was published by Rachel Carson.
  • Wildlife was diminishing in this time so attention was given to wildlife protection.
  • Lacey Act: Lacey Act was proposed for the prohibition of animals killing and to ensure to increase the number of game animals and birds. 
  • Endangered Species Protection Act was proposed in 1966.
  • Endangered Species Conservation Act was introduced in 1969.
  • Different environmental NGOs were set up in 1960s such as:
  • Sierra Club
  • Nature Conservancy
  • Friends of Earth
  • WWF (World Wildlife Funds) was set up in 1961 initially for the purpose of protection of animals.

1970s

  • Pakistan Wildlife Appeal was set up i 1971 that later on became the National Organization of WWF as WWF Pakistan.
  • Acid Rain concept was initialized in industrialized countries.

1980s

Following events took place in this time period:
  • Ozone Depletion
  • Greenhouse Effect
  • Chernobyl Nuclear disaster
  • Protection of animals and plants that depends on perticular habitat.
  • World Wildlife Fund become World Wide Fund (WWF) 
  • Development of World Conservation Strategy
  • Development of Pakistan Conservation Strategy

1990s

In 1990s following acts were proposed:
  • United Nations Conference of Environment and Development ( Earth Summit) in Rio de jenario Brazil.
  • Pakistan Environmental Protection Act (PEPA), 1997
  • National Environmental Quality Standards (NEQS)

2000s

World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesurg in 26 August to 4 September 2002.

ISSUES IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES

  • Food Shortage
  • Illiteracy
  • Deforestation, Overgrazing
  • Inadequate supply of drinking water
  • Foreign debt burden
  • Poverty
  • Increase in human poplation
  • Poor enforcement of laws
  • Poor Sanitation
  • Urbanization
  • Industrialization 
Major Issues
  • Acid Rain
  • Ozone depletion
  • Ozone Depletion
  • Threat to biological diversity



Saturday, June 18, 2016

THE DUST BOWL OF AMERICA IN 1930's


Introduction

The dust bowl in America is a catastrophe event occurred in early 1930's. It caused the Midwestern and western farmlands conversion to wastelands. The major reason behind the dust bowl was series of dry years faced in America with vast agricultural practices in unsuitable areas. 

Impacts 

  • Poor tillage practices causes the dust storms and droughts that that devastated the farm lands and ranches in Great Plains.
  • This disaster left nothing behind no humans no nutrients and no plants cover.
  • The humans moved towards other areas that have more fertile farmlands

Events that led to Dust Bowl

  • The European settlers arrived in the Great Plains. 
  • They build the farms and ranches. Cattle ranching provide the benefit for users but ranching caused the overgrazing and degradation of soil.
  • Farmers plow the natural grass and replace them with their own crop.
  • Row crops caused the damage to soil because the land between the rows is barren and it is exposed to wind so it leads to soil erosion. 
  • Precipitation was less in the region. Less rainfall left the soil dry and it was impossible than to cultivate that land again.
  • The dry soil blew with wind and carried the soil dust to 100 of miles. It led to dust storm and dust bowl event.
  • These dust storms buried the roads and buildings under sand.

Agricultural Practices and Factors that control Wind Erosion

  • Cover Crops are used to cover when low residue crops are used.
  • Crop Rotation is a good practice. It is the practice in which different types of crops are grown in the same area for many benefits such as to avoid pests and pathogens, to increase the fertility demands. 
  • Tillage Practices control wind erosion
  • Irrigation is good practice, because wet soil blows less.

Government Efforts

  • Extensive efforts were done by both Federal and State Government.
  • Develop many programs for soil erosion
  • Rehabilitation for settlers who are affected.

Lessons Learnt

  • Farmers learnt how to return wheat stubble and straw from harvesting
  • Plantation of clover and alfalfa produce organic matter, nitrogen, and it binds the soil. It also absorbs the rain water.
  • Instructions were given to cattle ranchers to prevent overgrazing.





Friday, June 17, 2016

GLOBAL WATER PROBLEMS


The freshwater available on the planet earth is enough that it can meet the demands of humans. But the distribution of water is not proper. For Example the Citizens of Bahrain, a tiny island in Persian Golf, have no freshwater availability and they desalinize the water for use. The per capita utilization of water vary from continent to continent and from one country to other country. Some countries receive the more water but their utilization is not proper while some have low water availability but they use it in effective way. South America and Asia together receives almost half the share of water resources of world. South America receives more water compared to Asia but South America has not the much potential to support the people with water. That's why the water falls in Amazon River that has poor soil and it does not support the agriculture. Asia receives less water than South America but water supply support the humans because the land where precipitation falls is suitable for agriculture. 

Global water supply greatly depends on the stable runoff. For example, India has wet season from June to September. Although the precipitation is high but their utilization is low because the water quickly runoff to the rivers and water is not available during rest of months.

Drinking Water Problems

Many developing countries have lack of water supply for drinking purpose. According to WHO there are about 1.4 billion people that  lack the access to safe drinking water supply. These estimates also represents that 2.9 billion people have not the access to dispose wastewater and fecal waste. According to WHO 80 % of human illness are caused by insufficient water supply, water poor quality and lack of sanitation facility. The US agency for International development assisted the areas that are subject to drought in the Sahel regions of Africa. Both United Nations and World Bank are dealing with water management projects.

Water Problems and Population Growth

Population growth is exceeding the water demands of countries. In India 20 % of population has the access to only 4 % of world's freshwater and 8000 villages have no local water for use. One third of wells in Beijing have been dried. The main aquifer that is supplying water to Mexico is dropping at the rate of 3.5 m per year. Global water shortage also leads to shortage of food supply.

Water Resource Sharing among Countries

Water is often an international  resource. About three fourth of world's 200 watersheds are shared between atleast 2 countries. Management of rivers are are on cross boundaries needs international cooperation between countries.


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