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|-"Since virtually nothing remains of our pristine
wildernesses, perhaps we in Great Britain might be one
of the first to develop a truly integrated land policy in which there
will be place for all: for the farmer growing food for our stomachs as
well as the naturalist finding solace for the spirit: for the car owner
using the motorway as well as the walker strolling along a bridle-path;
and last, but surely by no means least, for the multitude
of species of animals and plants, which were here
long before we were."-
|David Attenborough - British broadcaster and author.
The United States public lands, one for
example the National Forests, fulfill the need for recreation of the public,
wildlife preservation and the use of natural resources. Unfortunately this
resource is one that everyone wants a piece out of.
- Forests wood products are used by timber companies.
- Farmers use them as grazing areas for sheep and cattle by getting permits.
- Miners mine for oil, gas, coal, and different minerals.
- Hunters and fisherman, hunt and fish the wildlife.
- Hikers hike and explore the back country.
- Many people come here to look at and discover different species of
you named it-birds.
- Game managers constantly carry out programs for endangered species.
With all of these different people
and organizations using public lands, controversy always erupts whenever
other activities occur on forest lands which interfere with their own.
For example when roads are built, it creates easy access for the miners,
hunters, fishers, loggers, and others, but it gets in the way of hikers
and campers, for they say it destroys the beauty and the serenity of the
forest and is a destructive intrusion.
No matter who is using these resources, exploring
them or admiring them, this land must be looked upon as a fragile ecosystem
that can very easily be destroyed through abuse and human activity.
A look at the different types of Public
- National Parks - The National
Park Service is funded by the Department of the Interior. It manages
more than 350 national parks, mounuments, recreation areas, historical
parks, memorials, and seashores. These all make up over 80 million acres
- National Wildlife Refuges- The fish and wildlife service,
a part of the Department of the Interior, manages 478 sites in every state
and the five U.S. territories, equaling almost 90 million acres. 77 million
of those are found in Alaska.
- National Forests- The Forest Service is an agency of
the Deparment of Agriculture, and over 191 million acres of forests and
grassland is looked over by this department. Most of these lands were used
originally for the management of timber and watershed protection. However
they are used for wildlife protection, grazing for livestock, mineral development,
and outdoor recreation.
- Federal Lands- These assorted lands are managed by The
Bureau of Land Management, which was founded by Congress in 1946, and is
under the Department of the Interior. The largest of them all, it contains
269 million acres, 48% of federal lands, and have the mineral rights to
millions of more acres.
- Department of Defense- The Navy , Air Force, Army, and
Corps of Engineers have close to 30 million acres of land, for bases, training,
and flood control areas. Most of these are in the Western United States.
Because of their large size, these areas are important lands for wildlife.
- Department of Energy- These lands, include memorials
like the ones to the nuclear arms race, they make up more than 1.5 million
Until very recently we have taken advantage
of the wildlife of the earth to the farthest possible extent, the worst
case scenarios being, bringing species to extinction. We need not exploit but be responsible towards animals which
we have endangered. We have taken the "wild"
out of wildlife. Wildlife preservation today really should be called wildlife
Here are some hopes for ecologists:
- Manage the biodiversity in forests and wetlands.
- Look for "indicator species" which act as aids who detect
if a ecosystem is crumbling.
- Concentrate more on prevention rather than finding a cure.
- Halt the human impacts on delicate environments, before there is a threat of extinction
- Keep the habitats for species well preserved and managed throughout
their entire life cycles, such as their breeding grounds and where they
spend the winter (in the case of birds).
Oceans and Marine Life
Water covers more than 70% of the earth.
Our bodies are made mostly of water, it is the greatest carrier and solvent.
Water protects life from rapid changes in temperature. It happens
to be a major factor in the way heat is distributed throughout the world.
Thus the cycles of climates and the water cycle are closely connected.
The oceans are thought to absorb half of the carbon dioxide that we produce.
Plankton can be a single or multiple
celled organism and it is the bases of the ocean's food web. Phytoplankton,
make 80% of the Earth's oxygen that is breathable. Plankton multiplies
in the spring when their is a lot of nutrients and eat the remains of plants,
fishskeletons, industrial wastes, sewage, and junk that we through
in the water. In recent years however there has been signs that they cannot
stand the contamination or organic matter which we are dumping upon them.
If more oxygen is needed than is supplied, there will be less oxygen in the water and later will result in the death for all life.
In the food chain with each transfer of material
ther is a 90% energy loss. For one human to 1 pound, (s)he would need to eat 10 pounds of fish. 10 pounds of fish would need to eat 100 pounds of zooplankton. The 100 pounds of animal plankton would need to eat 1,000 pounds of phytoplankton. Just think about this sometime when you're eating!
In our oceans not only do millions of species
of marine life live here, but there are valuable sources of iron, gravel,
sand, phosphates, oil, magnesium, natural gas, and many others.
Listed below are items which show how wasteful the human race really is
towards our oceans:
- While ships and fisherman try to catch other species, 12 to 20 billion
pounds of sea life that they don't want is caught, this is called "bycatch".
About 20% of all the fish caught never reaches the consumer.
- 10 pounds of young fish and other fish that are not marketed, are dumped
overboard, dead, for every pound of shrimp caught just in the Southern
- Out of the 153 species of fish that The National Marine Fisheries Service
stocks, 65 of them are over fished in the U.S. This means that they are being
caught faster than they can be replaced.
- Drift nets can be up to 40 miles long, and besides catching and
destroying populations of fish, they also drown marine mammals, turtles,
and migratory seabirds. Over 33,000 to 44,000 endangered sea turtles drown
in shrimp nets every year and the Stellar's Seal is now a threatened species
because of shrimp nets.
- The ocean is used as a dump site for many different man made or human influenced things,
such as sewage sludge, hazardous chemicals, industrial waste, soil exposed
to contaminated harbors, wastes from medical research which are radioactive, and mining activities. Other types of contamination are oil spills
which occur on a daily basis, runoff of groundwater from the streets and
farms, sewer releases and acid rain. Think about this: the increasing amount of mutation of marine animals have occurred in only the last 30 years.
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