Environmental Encyclopedia (1,2 vol) by Marci Bortman

By Marci Bortman

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World forest losses have slowed, especially in Asia, where deforestation rates slowed from 8% in the 1980s to less than 1% in the 1990s. Forested areas have actually increased in many developed countries, providing wildlife habitat, removal of excess carbon dioxide, and sustainable yields of forest products. In spite of dire warnings in the 1960s that growing human populations would soon overshoot the earth’s carrying capacity and result in massive famines, food supplies have more than kept up with population growth.

Although science and technology have introduced many problems, they also have provided answers and possible alternatives as well. It may be that we are at a major turning point in human history. Current generations are in a unique position to address the environmental issues described in this encyclopedia. For the first time, we now have the resources, motivation, and knowledge to protect our environment and to build a sustainable future for ourselves and our children. Until recently, we didn’t have these opportunities, or there was not enough clear evidence to inspire people to change their behavior and invest in environmental protection; now the need is obvious to nearly everyone.

Acid deposition alone cannot account for the observed forest decline, and acid deposition probably plays a minor role in the areas where forest decline has occurred. Ozone is a much more serious threat to forests, and it is a key factor in the decline of forests in the Sierra Nevada and San Bernardino mountains in California. The greatest concern for adverse effects of acidic deposition is the decline in biological productivity in lakes. 0, several species of minnows, as well as other species that are part of the food chain for many fish, cannot survive.

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