Monday, December 18

The Human Impact Upon The Environment

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The removal of hedges

·Governments and farmers wanted to increase the use of their land, and thought that hedges were taking up too much space. It was also difficult for farmers to use their tractors and other large machines in smaller fields which had too many hedges.

·Hedges are homes to lots of different animals and by removing them, many species’ habitats will be permanently destroyed. The hedges are also home to many plant species, some of which may not be found anywhere else in the UK.

·Soil becomes exposed to wind erosion causing it to be stripped of its nutrients and the fertile top soil.

·There is less a farmer can do with the land due to monoculture as it means growing only one type of crop of one type of animal; it therefore becomes less flexible and unprotected.

·Hedges act as ‘corridors’ for small animals, such as Rabbits to travel between woodlands. Without the hedges, animals are more at risk.

·The use of pesticides is increased as there is greater exposure to them, with no predators able to live in the hedges.

·Reductions in mineral ions affect the soil structure.

·Overproduction of crops due to extra space. Grants were given to farmers to stop them producing too much.

Eutrophication

·The effect of nutrients on aquatic ecosystems.

·Main causes are leaching and sewage, caused by human activity. Fertiliser often leaks into surrounding waters.

·Nitrates and phosphates cause rapid plant growth, and enrich the water. This leads to an algal bloom.

·The oxygen in the water is reduced due to the temperature increase, and ecosystems suffer the loss. Eventually an entire ecosystem will be destroyed, leaving green, algae filled water.

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