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ECOL-10 Study guide 3
Terms in this set (38)
a body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.
a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms.
Fracking (hydraulic fracturing)
is a process used in nine out of 10 natural gas wells in the United States, where millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals are pumped underground to break apart the rock and release the gas.
Genetically modified organisms
is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.
is a form of modern farming that refers to the industrialized production of livestock, poultry, fish, and crops. The methods of industrial agriculture are technoscientific, economic, and political.
Integrated pest management
is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties.
the cultivation of a single crop in a given area.
is a resource of economic value that cannot be readily replaced by natural means on a level equal to its consumption. Most fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas and coal are considered nonrenewable resources in that their use is not sustainable because their formation takes billions of years.
is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects.
the hypothetical point in time when the global production of oil reaches its maximum rate, after which production will gradually decline.
the cultivation of waste land or land formerly under water.
is the movement of saline water into freshwater aquifers, which can lead to contamination of drinking water sources and other consequences. Saltwater intrusion occurs naturally to some degree in most coastal aquifers, owing to the hydraulic connection between groundwater and seawater.
stores [seed]s to preserve genetic diversity; hence it is a type of gene bank.
is a broad category of mining in which soil and rock overlying the mineral deposit (the overburden) are removed.
is the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.
contains a gene or genes which have been ... inserted instead of the organism aquiring them through reproduction.
is the process where plants absorb water through the roots and then give off water vapor through pores in their leaves. An example of transpiration is when a plant absorbs water in its roots.
the level below which the ground is saturated with water.
Why do we experience water shortages?
water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in infrastructure or technology to draw water from rivers, aquifers or other water sources, or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water.
What three sectors consume the most water globally in order of greatest to least consumption?
agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared to 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use.
What is treated wastewater (and pros and cons)?
• Purify and pump used water and
• Pros: reduces dependence on
precipitation to refill aquifers;
effective in reducing saltwater
• Cons: If water is not treated
properly, it can spread disease.
What are Dams and reservoirs (and pros and cons)?
• Dams block the flow of freshwater
and fill reservoirs
• Pros: additional benefits of
generating electricity, flood
control, and recreation
• Cons: potential political conflicts
as building a dam in one region
alters water flow to another
region; redirecting water changes
local ecosystem; much water in
reservoirs is lost to evaporation
What is Desalination (and pros and cons)?
• Converting seawater to
removing salt and minerals
• Pros: Virtually unlimited
• Cons: Expensive and energy
List technologies and lifestyle choices that conserve water.
• Water recycling- reusing water
for appropriate purposes
• Agriculture- drip systems;
watering at night or early in the
morning; drought-tolerant crops
• Industry- reuse rather than
• Personal- limit water use and
choose products that also limit
What was the Green Revolution? Detail its positive and negative impacts.
•International effort to distribute agricultural technology throughout the world to prevent hunger • High-yield varieties of crops (produced via artificial selection) • Pesticides and fertilizer • Irrigation technologies • Additionally, new policies promoted increased farming in developed countries.
•Positive consequences • 1000% increase in food production • 20% reduction in food shortages
•Negative consequences • Use of industrial agriculture which ultimately... • Caused water shortages. • Increased need for additional fertilizer, pesticides, and fossil fuels. • Promoted corporate rather than family farming. • Reduced genetic diversity of crops
Describe the process of producing a genetically modified organism.
•Delayed rotting - inhibit gene responsible for breaking down tomato cell walls
•Nitrogen fixation (not yet developed) - allow plants to make usable nitrogen from nitrogen gas (naturally, only bacteria can do this)
Compare and contrast industrial and sustainable agriculture. Be sure to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches.
•Industrial agriculture • Method of farming that involves use of herbicides, pesticides, and machinery • Relies on large economy • Employs monoculture farming- growing only one species of crop in a large area
•Sustainable agriculture • Method of farming that does not deplete natural resources or degrade the environment • May mimic local ecosystem in which native species break down waste and predation or competition controls pests • Often involves renewable energy
•Barriers to employing sustainable agriculture • Requires money, effort, and education to adopt • Industrial agriculture may produce higher yields in the short-term. • Additionally, sustainable agriculture can be labor intensive and depends on specific ecological knowledge.
•Sustainable consumer choices • Local food is fresher and requires fewer food miles • Purchasing organic food discourages environmental degradation and limits the carbon footprint associated with machinery, pesticides, and fertilizers required for industrial farming • Some foods, such as beef, have higher carbon and water footprint than others
Describe sustainable farming techniques that can maintain soil fertility
•Contour farming is growing crops "on the level" across or perpendicular to a slope rather than up and down the slope. The rows running across the slope are designed to be as level as possible to facilitate tillage and planting operations on the contour.
•Terrace farming is a type of farming that consists of different "steps" or terraces that were developed in various places around the world. The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (hills and mountains) is a World Heritage Site. It dates back two thousand years.
•Reduced tillage is any farming practice which involves fewer cultivations than used in conventional fallowing. Conventional fallowing is where stubble is burnt or grazed and weeds are controlled by cultivation.
•Cover Crops a crop grown for the protection and enrichment of the soil.
•Strip Cropping cultivation in which different crops are sown in alternate strips to prevent soil erosion.
•Crop rotation is the practice of growing a series of dissimilar or different types of crops in the same area in sequenced seasons. It is done so that the soil of farms is not used for only one set of nutrients. It helps in reducing soil erosion and increases soil fertility and crop yield.
What consumer choices promote sustainable farming practices?
•Local food is fresher and requires fewer food miles
•Purchasing organic food discourages environmental degradation and limits the carbon footprint associated with machinery, pesticides, and fertilizers required for industrial farming
•Some foods, such as beef, have higher carbon and water footprint than others
Distinguish among each of the following fossil fuels: coal, oil, and natural gas. Additionally, discuss how each formed and the advantages and disadvantages of using each as an energy source.
•Coal- coal we use now was formed about 300 million years ago, when much of the earth was covered by steamy swamps. As plants and trees died, their remains sank to the bottom of the swampy areas, making layers and layers of plant material and eventually forming a soggy, thick material called PEAT.
•Oil- Crude oil is formed from the remains of small animals and plants that died and fell to the bottom of the sea. Their remains were covered by mud. As the sediment was buried by more sediment, it started to change into rock as the temperature and pressure increased.
•Natural Gas- natural gas was formed millions of years ago when plants and tiny sea animals were buried by sand and rock. Layers of mud, sand, rock, plant, and animal matter continued to build up until the pressure and heat turned them into oil and natural gas.
To what extent have we depleted our conventional oil reserves? What are our options for meeting our energy needs as conventional oil reserves dwindle?
•The International Energy Agency (IEA) believes that oil will peak between "2013 and 2037" and Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran, four countries with much of the world's known reserves, report little if any depletion of reserves.
•renewable energy- The replacement fuel would likely be hydrogen.
•Solar energy is a source of inexhaustible energy. There is more solar energy that reaches the surface of the Earth each hour than the amount of energy consumed by the world in a year.
Summarize the process of extracting oil and natural gas through conventional wells, distinguishing among primary, secondary, and tertiary production.
• Conventional Wells - Conventional Oil and Gas is simply known as the traditional way to drill for raw natural gas, crude oil, and petroleum. So, what do I mean by traditional? After a well is drilled, oil and gas is extracted by the natural pressure from the wells and pumping operations. Over time, the well may decrease in production. Now, a conventional well will use an artificial lift or water and gas injections to help increase production.
• Primary production (5-15%)- once cap rock is pierced, pressure
pushes oil out of the well
• Secondary production (20-40%)- water is pumped through injection
wells to exert more pressure, further driving oil up the oil well
• Tertiary production (up to 15%)- injecting steam or carbon dioxide
further drives oil up the well.
What are products of processing crude oil, and how are they used?
Petroleum refining processes are the chemical engineering processes and other facilities used in petroleum refineries (also referred to as oil refineries) to transform crude oil into useful products such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), gasoline or petrol, kerosene, jet fuel, diesel oil and fuel oils.
Describe the environmental degradation associated with (a) conventional extraction of oil and natural gas, (b) fracking, and (c) coal mining.
(a)Conventional oil and gas refers to petroleum, or crude oil, and raw natural gas extracted from the ground by conventional means and methods.
(b)Fracking - the process of injecting liquid at high pressure into subterranean rocks, boreholes, etc., so as to force open existing fissures and extract oil or gas.
(c)Coal mining definition: the act, process, or industry of extracting coal from the earth | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples.
Contrast the following methods of mining coal: mountaintop removal, strip mining, and subsurface mining.
•Mountaintop removal mining (MTR), also known as mountaintop mining (MTM), is a form of surface mining at the summit or summit ridge of a mountain. Coal seams are extracted from a mountain by removing the land, or overburden, above the seams
•"Strip mining" is the practice of mining a seam of mineral, by first removing a long strip of overlying soil and rock (the overburden). It is most commonly used to mine coal and lignite (brown coal). Strip mining is only practical when the ore body to be excavated is relatively near the surface.
•Subsurface mining is the extraction of minerals and ores from underground. It consist of digging shafts into the earth for ore. One con would be that the mines make a lot of hazardous acid mine drainage.
Describe the process of producing electricity from coal.
Electricity from coal is the electric power made from the energy stored in coal. Carbon, made from ancient plant mate term-35rial, gives coal most of its energy. This energy is released when coal is burned
What technologies and procedures can reduce the environmental damages of mining and burning coal?
• Clean coal technology- capture some of the toxins that are released while burning coal
• Remove toxins from coal before burning it
• Carbon capture and sequestration - capturing carbon dioxide released and storing it
o Requires 25-40% more energy
• After mining is complete, land is restored to an extent
• May entail...
• Returning displaced land and cover with top soil.
• Neutralizing acids.
o Planting vegetation.
o Recreating streams by digging channels for water
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