Agriculture and Wiley
Minerals can affect society in many ways for example; Surface mining destroys vegetation across large areas, increasing erosion. Open-pit mining uses huge quantities of water. Acid mine drainage is pollution caused when dissolved toxic materials wash from mines into nearby lakes and streams. Minerals is approximately 80 percent of mined ore consists of impurities that become wastes after processing. These wastes, called tailings, are usually left in giant piles on the ground or in ponds near the processing plants (Figure 12. 9). The tailings contain toxic materials such as cyanide, mercury, and sulfuric acid.
Left exposed, they contaminate the air, soil, and water (Wiley, 2009). What is the difference between metallic and nonmetallic minerals? Provide two examples from each category and discuss their uses. Earth’s minerals are elements which are typically compounds of elements and have precise chemical compositions. Sulfides are mineral compounds in which certain elements are combined chemically with sulfur, and oxides are mineral compounds in which elements are combined chemically with oxygen. Minerals are metallic or nonmetallic (Figure 12. 5).
Metals are minerals such as iron, aluminum, and copper, which are malleable, lustrous, and good conductors of heat and electricity. Nonmetallic minerals, such as sand, stone, salt, and phosphates, lack these characteristics (Wiley, 2009). These valuable minerals are used for aircrafts, faucets, nails, wire, and alloy steel products. Mining How are minerals extracted from the Earth and processed? In extracting minerals first they need to decide which mining will be determined surface or subsurface mining will be used. Surface mining just means minerals extracted are close to the surface. Surface mining is much
less inexpensive and is more commonly used. Because even surface mineral deposits occur in rock layers beneath Earth’s surface, the overlying soil and rock layers, called overburden, must first be removed, along with the vegetation growing in the soil. Then giant power shovels scoop out the minerals (Wiley, 2009). Processing minerals often uses a procedure known as smelting. Purified copper, tin, lead, iron, manganese, cobalt, or nickel smelting is done in a blast furnace. Figure 12. 7 shows a blast furnace used to smelt iron. The iron ore reacts with coke (modified coal) to form molten iron and carbon dioxide (Wiley, 2009).
What are the different ways minerals can be mined? Provide a brief description of at least three types of mining. There are two kinds of surface mining, open-pit surface mining and strip mining. Iron, copper, stone, and gravel are usually extracted by open-pit surface mining, in which a giant hole, called a quarry, is dug in the ground to extract the minerals (Figure 12. 6A). In strip mining, a trench is dug to extract the minerals (Figure 12. 6B). Then a new trench is dug parallel to the old one, and the overburden from the new trench is put into the old one, creating a hill of loose rock called a spoil bank (Wiley, 2009).
What effect does extracting minerals have on the environment? Mining, particularly surface mining disturbs large areas of land. In the United States, functioning and abandoned metal and coal mines occupy an estimated 9 million hectares (22 million acres). Because mining destroys existing vegetation, this land is particularly prone to erosion, with wind erosion causing air pollution and water erosion polluting nearby waterways and damaging aquatic habitats (Wiley, 2010). Soil What is your definition of soil? What is soil composed of? Why is soil important to the environment?
Soil is the uppermost layer of Earth’s crust and supports terrestrial plants, animals, and microorganisms. Soil is formed from parent material—rock that is slowly fragmented into small particles by biological, chemical, and physical weathering processes. Soil is composed of mineral particles, organic matter, water, and air. Soil horizons are the horizontal layers into which many soils are organized, from the surface to the underlying parent material. Vast numbers and kinds of organisms, mainly microorganisms, inhabit soil and depend on it for shelter, food, and water.
Plants anchor themselves in soil, and from it they receive essential minerals and water. Terrestrial plants could not survive without soil, and because we depend on plants for our food, humans could not exist without soil either (Wiley, 2013). What types of organisms are found in soil? Determine the relationship between soil and organisms. Soil organisms carry out nutrient cycling, the pathway of nutrient minerals or elements from the environment through organisms and back to the environment. What is soil erosion?
How can soil become polluted? What effect does soil erosion and pollution have on the environment? Soil organisms provide ecosystem services such as maintaining soil fertility and preventing soil erosion. Water, wind, ice, and other agents cause soil erosion, the wearing away or removal of soil from the land. Soil erosion reduces fertility because essential minerals and organic matter are removed. Erosion causes sediments and pesticide and fertilizer residues to pollute nearby waterways ( Wiley, 2009). What is the purpose of soil reclamation?
To undertake soil reclamation, erosion protection, Site restoration and reinstatement, taking into account natural processes, operational requirements and technical feasibility, to deliver post-construction land conditions as similar as possible to those prior to construction or as agreed with the relevant authorities and/or landowner (LMS, 2013). Forestry and Rangeland Resources and Management Strategies Differentiate between government-owned lands and public lands. Which government agencies are involved with government-owned lands? What is the purpose of government-owned lands?
Private Citizens, corporations, and nonprofit organizations own about 55 percent of the land in the United States, and Native American tribes own about 3 percent. State and local governments own another 7 percent. The federal government owns the rest (about 35 percent). Government-owned land encompasses all types of ecosystems, from tundra to desert, and includes land that contains important resources such as minerals and fossil fuels, land that possesses historical or cultural significance, and land that provides critical biological habitat.
Most federally owned land is in Alaska and 11 western states (Figure 13. 1). Federal land is managed primarily by four agencies, three in the U. S. Department of the Interior—the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the National Park Service (NPS)—and one in the Department of Agriculture—the U. S. Forest Service (USFS) (Table 13. 1) (Wiley, 2009). Why is the forest an important ecosystem? Forests, important ecosystems that provide many goods and services to support human society, occupy less than one-third of Earth’s total land area.
Timber harvested from forests is used for fuel, construction materials, and paper products. Forests supply nuts, mushrooms, fruits, and medicines. Forests provide employment for millions of people worldwide and offer recreation and spiritual sustenance in an increasingly crowded world (Wiley, 2009). What is your definition of forest management? What is its purpose? Describe the concept of sustainable forestry. Management for timber production disrupts a forest’s natural condition and alters its species composition and other characteristics.
Specific varieties of commercially important trees are planted, and those trees not as commercially desirable are thinned out or removed. Traditional forest management often results in low-diversity forests. In recognition of the many ecosystem services performed by natural forests, a newer method of forest management, known as ecologically sustainable forest management, or simply sustainable forestry, is evolving. Sustainable forestry maintains a mix of forest trees, by age and species, rather than imposing a monoculture (Wiley, 2009).
What effect does the harvesting of trees and deforestation have on forests and the environment? Is there a preferred method for harvesting trees? Explain. In seed tree cutting, almost all trees are harvested from an area; a scattering of desirable trees is left behind to provide seeds for the regeneration of the forest. Clear-cutting is harvesting timber by removing all trees from an area and then either allowing the area to reseed and regenerate itself naturally or planting the area with one or more specific varieties of trees. Timber companies prefer clear-cutting because it is the most cost-effective way to harvest trees.
The preferred method of harvesting tree is tree cutting as oppose to the other 3 methods (Wiley, 2009). What is a rangeland? Describe rangeland degradation and desertification. What effect does degradation and desertification have on the environment? Rangelands are grasslands, in both temperate and tropical climates, that serve as important areas of food production for humans by providing fodder for livestock such as cattle, sheep, and goats (Figure 13. 8). Rangelands may be mined for minerals and energy resources, used for recreation, and preserved for biological habitat and for soil and water resources.
The predominant vegetation of rangelands includes grasses, forbs (small plants other than grasses), and shrubs. Land degradation is a natural or human-induced process that decreases the future ability of the land to support crops or livestock. This progressive degradation, which induces unproductive desert-like conditions on formerly productive rangeland (or tropical dry forest), is desertification (Figure 13. 9). It reduces the agricultural productivity of economically valuable land, forces many organisms out, and threatens endangered species. Worldwide, desertification seems to be on the increase.
The United Nations estimates that each year since the mid-1990s, 3,560 km2 (1,374 mi2)—an area about the size of Rhode Island—has turned into desert (Wiley, 2013). What is overgrazing? What effect does this have on rangelands? Overgrazing is the destruction of vegetation caused by too many grazing animals consuming the plants in a particular area, leaving them unable to recover. Overgrazing accelerates land degradation, which decreases the future ability of the land to support crops or livestock. Desertification is the degradation of once-fertile rangeland or tropical dry forest into nonproductive desert (Wiley, 2009).
What strategies can be employed for the management and conservation of forests and rangelands? Endangered U. S. ecosystems include the south Florida landscape, southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests, and longleaf pine forests and savannas. Criteria used to evaluate whether an ecosystem is endangered and to what degree it is threatened include its history of land loss and degradation, its prospects for future loss or degradation, the area the ecosystem occupies, and the number of threatened and endangered species living in that ecosystem (Wiley, 2009). Agriculture
What is the difference between industrialized agriculture and subsistence agriculture? Industrialized agriculture uses modern methods requiring large capital input and less land and labor than traditional methods. Subsistence agriculture requires labor and a large amount of land to produce enough food to feed a family. There are three types of subsistence agriculture. In slash-and-burn agriculture, small patches of tropical forests are cleared to plant crops. In nomadic herding, carried out on arid land, herders move livestock continually to find food for them.
Intercropping involves growing a variety of plants simultaneously on the same field. What effect do these methods of agriculture have on the environment? Environmental problems caused by industrialized agriculture include air pollution from the use of fossil fuels and pesticides, water pollution from untreated animal wastes and agricultural chemicals, pesticide-contaminated foods and soils, and increased resistance of pests to pesticides. Land degradation decreases the future ability of the land to support crops or livestock.
Clearing grasslands and forests and draining wetlands to grow crops have resulted in habitat fragmentation, the breakup of large areas of habitat into small, isolated patches (Wiley, 2013). What is one agricultural challenge, other than soil erosion, that society faces? Explain your answer. Prime farmland in the United States is being lost to urbanization and urban sprawl. Global declines in plant and animal varieties have led many countries to collect germ plasm, plant and animal material that may be used in breeding.
Farmers and ranchers strive to increase yields in many ways, including by administering hormones and antibiotics to livestock (Wiley, 2013). How would you describe sustainable agriculture? How does it affect the environment? In regards to agriculture, what are the advantages and disadvantages involved with genetic engineering? Sustainable agriculture uses methods that maintain soil productivity and a healthy ecological balance while minimizing long-term impacts.
Genetic engineering, the manipulation of genes to produce a particular trait, can produce more nutritious crops or crop plants that are resistant to pests, diseases, or drought. Concerns about genetic engineering include unknown environmental effects (Wiley, 2009). References WILEY PLUS: Berg, L. R. , & Hager, M. C. (2009). Visualizing Environmental Science (2nd. ed. ). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. http://www. sakhalinenergy. ru/en/documents/45_Soil_Reclamation_and_Site_Reinstatement_E. pdf `University of Phoenix Material Environmental Resources Worksheet