Patterns in Environmental Quality and Sustainability : CASE STUDIES

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Potential Impact of Global Temperature Rise

  • 1°C
  • Arctic sea ice would disappear completely in summer months
  • Heatwaves and forest fires more common in subtropics
  • Most of worlds coral reef will die inc. Great Barrier
  • Climate related diseases will increase
  • 2°C
  • Southern England would see summer temps of 40°C
  • Amazon would become grassland and desert
  • ALL coral reefs gone
  • 1/3 of world species will be extinct if it happens to fast for them to adapt
  • World agricultural yield would fall - Starvation
  • West antarctic ice sheet + greenland ice sheet would melt - reducing fresh water supplies


  • 4°C
  • Arctic ice completely disappear - extinction of polar bear
  • Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey = desert
  • South England climate same as Morocco's today 

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Water Diversion in China

South-North water diversion project : Channels water from the south of Hebei province to Beijing in the north 
307km long waterway

Built because:

  • Beijing draws 2/3 of water from underground - Water table is falling 1m a year
  • Trying to reduce demand by increasing water tariffs + Industries recycling water


Scheme has exacerbated poverty in Hubei province - forcing water-hungry industries to close + causing farmers to change from rice to maize - maize is less profitable!

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Effects of Climate Change in the UK

Sea levels in the UK are 10cm higher than in 1900
Predicted to rise by 2-9mm a year
By 2080 sea levels are predicted to rise by 86cm

Possible Impacts:

  • Low-lying land at risk - more frequent and more serious flooding
  • 17 million live within 10km of the sea! Homes at risk!
  • Most of manufacturing industries are near coast
  • Increased sedimentation = need for more dredging in harbours
  • Beach + Marshlands will be lost
  • Loss of species that can't adapt - especially marhsland species 
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Soil degradation: Peak District UK

What is causing soil erosion?

  • Removal of exposed material esp. Peat by wind and water
  • Climate = high rainfall and low temperatures --> short growing season - few plants to stablize soil
  • Freeze-thaw effect of low temperatures disrupts soil
  • Early 19th century surrounding factories giving off sulphur dioxide -->  caused acid rain which killed off many mosses and lichens which protected the peat
  • Footpath erosion - Increased popularity of walking, cycling

Possible solutions:

  • Sacrificial zones
  • Spacial temporal restrictions on public access? 
  • Restore hedgerows and shrubbery to help reform soil
  • Education 


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Physical Water Scarcity: Murray-Darling Basin

Murray -Darling Basin in SE Australia : holds 42% of Australias farms --> Where Murray and Darling river meet!

What is causing water stress?

  • Rainfall totals low: in the rainshadow of mountain range
  • Farming has severly damaged and removed vegetation - lack of ability to hold water in soil
  • Rainfall very variable: differes significatny between years
  • Demands exceed supply
  • Six droughts since 1950
  • 95% of water extracted used for irrigation - excessive irrigation is leading to salinity

What has been done?
Placed a cap on water that can be taken from rivers
Created a dam with reservoir
Encouraging water recycling and saving: Use of mulch over gardens to reduce water loss, efficient shower heads 

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Social Forestry in the Congo

Lamoko = on the edge of virgin Rainforest in the centre of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

In 2005: major timber firm arrived arrived to negotiate with locals - encouraged by World Bank

  • Promised to build 3 schools and pharmacies in the area 
  • Forest had been sold cheaply - locals furious
  • TImber firm cutting down forest - still no schools or pharmacies 
  • 20 foreign owned timber indusrties working in the Congo inc. Danzer
  • Companies export lowgs and timber and supply Europe - furniture etc.
  • African teak wood is protected by global government - But still no restrictions on its export in Congo


80% logging in Congo = illegal
20 million hectares have been given to logging firms
If all cut, 35 billion tonnes of carbon would be released
Congo rainforest stores 8% earths carbon

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Environmental Sustainable: Korup National Park

Korup National Park in Cameroon: established 1986
Contains 400 species of trees
100 mammal species
120  fish species

 60 species ONLY in Korup
170 species = endangered

Human activity limited to tourism, research and recreation
Have specific area for elephant sanctuary
Management of natural resources

Villagers obtain large areas of forest to manage for long periods of time: Government and WWF visit regularly to make sure it's being used sustainably

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Batang Ai National Park, Borneo : Conservation

Protected area for Tropical Rainforest Conservation
24 km square
Transnational: adjoins with Parks in Malaysia and Indonesia
Has highest density of Orangutans in Borneo
Remarkable biodiverstiy - 1000 tree species
Home to many primates enc Slow Loris :D
Unique mix of terrain

Iban Population: settled in park for over 400 years 

Agreed to limit activities to previously farmed areas + sustainable gathering of produce
Play part in coserving orangutans - sacred 

In return : they get employment in park , tourism and selling handicrafts

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