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Basics of Environmental Science

153 Pages · 2009 · 6.97 MB · English

  • Basics of Environmental Science

    Basics of Environmental Science


    Basics of Environmental Science is an engaging introduction to environmental study. The book offers


    everyone studying and interested in the environment, an essential understanding of natural environments


    and the way they function. It covers the entire breadth of the environmental sciences, providing


    concise, non-technical explanations of physical processes and systems and the effects of human


    activities.


    In this second edition, the scientific background to major environmental issues is clearly explained.


    These include global warming, genetically modified foods, desertification, acid rain, deforestation,


    human population growth, depleting resources and nuclear power generation. There are also descriptions


    of the 10 major biomes.


    Michael Allaby is the author or co-author of more than 60 books, most on various aspects of


    environmental science. In addition he has also edited or co-edited seven scientific dictionaries and


    edited an anthology of writing about the environment. Basics of Environmental Science


    2nd Edition


    Michael Allaby


    London and New York First published 1996


    by Routledge


    11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE


    Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada


    by Routledge


    29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001


    Second edition 2000


    Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group


    This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2002.


    © 1996, 2000 Michael Allaby


    The right of Michael Allaby to be identified as the Author of this Work has been


    asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988


    All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or


    utilized in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now


    known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in


    any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing


    from the publishers.


    British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data


    A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library


    Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data


    A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress


    ISBN 0-415-21175-1 (hbk)


    0-415-21176-X (pbk)


    ISBN 0-203-13752-3 Master e-book ISBN


    ISBN 0-203-17969-2 (Glassbook Format) Contents



    List of Figures vii


    List of Tables xi


    Preface to the Second Edition xiii


    How to Use This Book xiii


    1 Introduction 1


    1. What is environmental science? 1


    2. Environmental interactions, cycles, and systems 4


    3. Ecology and environmentalism 7


    4. History of environmental science 10


    5. Changing attitudes to the natural world 13


    Further reading 17


    Notes 17


    References 17


    2 Earth Sciences 19


    6. Formation and structure of the Earth 19


    7. The formation of rocks, minerals, and geologic structures 23


    8. Weathering 27


    9. The evolution of landforms 30


    10. Coasts, estuaries, sea levels 34


    11. Energy from the Sun 37


    12. Albedo and heat capacity 42


    13. The greenhouse effect 44


    14. The evolution, composition, and structure of the atmosphere 51


    15. General circulation of the atmosphere 54


    16. Oceans, gyres, currents 59


    17. Weather and climate 64


    18. Glacials, interglacials, and interstadials 68


    19. Dating methods 73


    20. Climate change 76


    21. Climatic regions and floristic regions 81


    Further reading 86


    Notes 87


    References 87


    3 Physical Resources 90


    22. Fresh water and the hydrologic cycle 90


    23. Eutrophication and the life cycle of lakes 95


    24. Salt water, brackish water, and desalination 99


    25. Irrigation, waterlogging, and salinization 103


    26. Soil formation, ageing, and taxonomy 107


    27. Transport by water and wind 111


    28. Soil, climate, and land use 115


    29. Soil erosion and its control 119


    30. Mining and processing of fuels 123


    31. Mining and processing of minerals 130


    Further reading 135


    Note 135


    References 135


    Contents / v 4 Biosphere 137


    32. Biosphere, biomes, biogeography 137


    33. Major biomes 141


    34. Nutrient cycles 147


    35. Respiration and photosynthesis 151


    36. Trophic relationships 151


    37. Energy, numbers, biomass 160


    38. Ecosystems 163


    39. Succession and climax 168


    40. Arrested successions 172


    41. Colonization 176


    42. Stability, instability, and reproductive strategies 179


    43. Simplicity and diversity 183


    44. Homoeostasis, feedback, regulation 188


    45. Limits of tolerance 192


    Further reading 197


    References 197


    5 Biological Resources 200


    46. Evolution 200


    47. Evolutionary strategies and game theory 206


    48. Adaptation 210


    49. Dispersal mechanisms 214


    50. Wildlife species and habitats 218


    51. Biodiversity 222


    52. Fisheries 227


    53. Forests 233


    54. Farming for food and fibre 239


    55. Human populations and demographic change 249


    56. Genetic engineering 250


    Further reading 257


    Notes 257


    References 258


    6 Environmental Management 261


    57. Wildlife conservation 261


    58. Zoos, nature reserves, wilderness 265


    59. Pest control 269


    60. Restoration ecology 274


    61. World conservation strategies 237


    62. Pollution control 281


    63 Hazardous waste 287


    64. Transnational pollution 288


    Further reading 296


    References 296


    End of book summary 298


    Glossary 300


    Bibliography 307


    Index 316


    vi / Contents Figures


    2.1 Structure of the Earth 20


    2.2 Plate structure of the Earth and seismically active zones 22


    2.3 The mountain-forming events in Europe 25


    2.4 Stages in the development of an unconformity 26


    2.5 Gradation of clay and sand to laterite 29


    2.6 Slope development 32


    2.7 Drainage patterns 33


    2.8 Deposition of sand and formation of an estuarine sand bar 35


    2.9 The development of a sea cliff, wave-cut platform, and wave-built terrace 37


    2.10 Average amount of solar radiation reaching the ground surface 39


    2.11 Absorption, reflection, and utilization of solar energy 40


    2.12 The greenhouse effect 45


    2.13 Anticipated changes in concentration of three greenhouse gases 47


    2.14 IPCC estimates of climate change if atmospheric CO doubles 48


    2.15 Structure of the atmosphere 2 52


    2.16 Chemical composition of the atmosphere with height 55


    2.17 Seasons and the Earth’s orbit 56


    2.18 General circulation of the atmosphere 58


    2.19 The development of cells in jet streams and high-level westerlies 58


    2.20 Weather changes associated with El Niño-Southern Oscillation events 60


    2.21 Ocean currents 62


    2.22 Formation of cloud at a front 67


    2.23 Distribution of cloud around frontal systems 67


    2.24 Parts of the Earth covered by ice at some time during the past 2 million years 70


    2.25 Temperature changes since the last glacial maximum 71


    2.26 Orbital stretch 77


    2.27 Wobble of the Earth’s axis 77


    2.28 Variations in axial tilt (obliquity of the ecliptic) 78


    2.29 World climate types 82


    2.30 Floristic regions 84


    3.1 Water abstraction 91


    3.2 Principal cities bordering the Rhine 93


    3.3 The Rhine basin, draining land in six countries 94


    3.4 The life cycle of a lake 98


    3.5 Evolution of a lake into dry land, marsh, or bog 99


    3.6 Multistage flash evaporation 102


    3.7 Mole drainage 105


    3.8 Saltwater intrusion into a freshwater aquifer 108


    3.9 Soil drainage 108


    3.10 Profile of a typical fertile soil 109


    3.11 Flood plain development from meander system 114


    3.12 Modern soil developed over flood plain alluvium and glacial till 114


    List of Figures / vii 3.13 Profiles of four soils, with the vegetation associated with them 116


    3.14 World distribution of soil orders 118


    3.15 Two types of terracing for reducing runoff 122


    3.16 Effect of a windbreak in reducing wind speed 123


    3.17 Types of coal mines 124


    3.18 Structural oil and gas traps 126


    3.19 Blast furnace and steel converter 133


    4.1 Biomes and climate 139


    4.2 Marine zones and continental margin 140


    4.3 The nitrogen cycle 148


    4.4 The carbon cycle 149


    4.5 Photosynthesis 154


    4.6 Simplified food web in a pond 158


    4.7 Simplified heathland food web 159


    4.8 Pyramid of numbers per 1000 m2 of temperate grassland 161


    4.9 Flow of energy and nutrients 162


    4.10 Ecosystem 165


    4.11 Forest stratification 167


    4.12 Succession to broad-leaved woodland 169


    4.13 Succession from a lake, through bog, to forest 170


    4.14 The effect of fire on species diversity 173


    4.15 Effect of grazing on succession 175


    4.16 Establishment of colonizers in an area of habitat 177


    4.17 Island colonization as a ratio of immigration to extinction 178


    4.18 Population growth and density 181


    4.19 J-and S-shaped population growth curves 182


    4.20 Resilience and stability 186


    4.21 The edge effect 187


    4.22 Speed governor of a steam engine 189


    4.23 Feedback regulation of a population 190


    4.24 Density-dependent feedback regulation 191


    4.25 Limits of tolerance and optimum conditions 193


    4.26 Plant response to temperature 195


    5.1 Effects of natural selection 204


    5.2 Mendelian inheritance 205


    5.3 The Prisoner’s Dilemma 206


    5.4 Optimum foraging strategy 208


    5.5 Adaptive radiation of Darwin’s finches 211


    5.6 Adaptation by mangroves to different levels of flooding 212


    5.7 Common pattern for passive dispersal 215


    5.8 Expansion of the European starling’s range in North America 1915–50 218


    5.9 Habitats in a pond 220


    5.10 Population size needed for a 95 per cent probability of persisting 100 years 221


    5.11 Species richness 225


    5.12 Range and population increase 226


    5.13 World fisheries catch (marine and freshwater) 1972–92 228


    5.14 North Sea herring stocks 1960–90 230


    5.15 Commercial fishing methods 231


    5.16 Percentage of land area under forest in various countries 234


    viii / List of Figures 5.17 Tree cover in the British Isles about three thousand years ago 236


    5.18 Traditional tree management 237


    5.19 Ploughing and sowing 240


    5.20 Indices of per capita food production 1990–94 243


    5.21 World production of cereals during the 1990s 244


    5.22 Rate of world population growth 246


    5.23 World population 1850–2025 (median estimate) 248


    5.24 Estimates of the rate of global population increase since 1975 249


    5.25 One method of genetic engineering 252


    6.1 Effects on a population of fragmentation of habitat 261


    6.2 Population structure for three species within a habitat 263


    6.3 Island wildlife refuges 267


    6.4 Pesticide use and crop yield 270


    6.5 Even-sized droplets from the teeth of an ultra-low-volume pesticide sprayer 271


    6.6 A hand-held ultra-low-volume sprayer 272


    6.7 Florida, showing the location of the Everglades 275


    6.8 Living resources and population 278


    6.9 Resource consumption by rich and poor 278


    6.10 Kondratieff cycles 280


    6.11 Government assistance for environmental technologies in the EU 1988–90 284


    6.12 Private investment in pollution control during the 1970s and 1980s 285


    6.13 Carbon dioxide emissions in 1988 286


    6.14 Acid rain distribution 290


    6.15 Countries bordering the Mediterranean 292


    6.16 Areas included in the UNEP Regional Seas Programme 293


    List of Figures / ix


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