Resources

  • Describe the structure of a water molecule and explain how hydrogen bonds form between adjacent water molecules.
  • Describe surface water and groundwater
  • Describe the role of irrigation in world water consumption.
  • Define floodplain and explain how humans exacerbate flood damage
  • Relate some of the problems caused by overdrawing surface water and aquifer depletion.
  • Explain the relationship between climate change and available water.
  • Briefly describe each of the following international water problems: drinking water problems, population growth and water problems, the Rhine River basin, the Aral Sea, and potential international conflicts over water rights.
  • Define sustainable water use.
  • Contrast the benefits and drawbacks of dams and reservoirs
  • Briefly describe two methods of desalinization.
  • Give examples of water conservation by agriculture (including microirrigation), industry, and individual homes and buildings.
  • Define soil and identify the factors involved in formation of the soil system.
  • List the four components of the soil system and explain the ecological significance of each.
  • Describe the various soil horizons.
  • Name at least two ecosystem services performed by soil organisms, and briefly discuss nutrient cycling.
  • Briefly describe soil texture and soil acidity.
  • Distinguish among spodosols, alfisols, mollisols, aridosols, and oxisols.
  • Define sustainable soil use.
  • Explain the impacts of soil erosion, mineral depletion, soil salinization, and desertification on plant growth.
  • Summarize how conservation tillage, crop rotation, contour plowing, strip cropping, terracing, shelterbelts, and agroforestry minimize erosion and mineral depletion of the soil.
  • Define minerals and explain the difference between high-grade and low-grade ores, and between metallic and nonmetallic minerals.
  • Distinguish between surface mining and subsurface mining.
  • Describe several natural processes that concentrate minerals in Earth’s crust.
  • Briefly describe how mineral deposits are discovered, extracted, and processed; make sure you use the terms overburden, spoil bank, and smelting in your description.
  • Explain the environmental impacts of mining and refining minerals, including a brief description of acid mine drainage.
  • Explain how mining lands can be restored.
  • Contrast the consumption of minerals by developing countries and by industrialized nations such as the United States and Canada.
  • Distinguish between mineral reserves and mineral resources.
  • Briefly discuss efforts to discover new mineral supplies.
  • Summarize the conservation of minerals by reuse, recycling, and changing our mineral requirements.
  • Explain how sustainable manufacturing and dematerialization contribute to mineral conservation.
  • Define biological diversity and distinguish among genetic diversity, species richness, and ecosystem diversity.
  • Describe several important ecosystem services provided by biological diversity.
  • Define extinction and distinguish between background extinction and mass extinction.
  • Contrast threatened and endangered species, and list four characteristics common to many endangered species.
  • Define biodiversity hotspots and explain where most of the world’s biodiversity hotspots are located.
  • Describe four human causes of species endangerment and extinction and tell which cause is the most important.
  • Explain how invasive species endanger native species.
  • Define conservation biology and compare in situ and ex situ conservation.
  • Describe restoration ecology.
  • Distinguish between conservation biology and wildlife management.
  • Name at least four ecosystem services provided by natural areas.
  • Describe world land use.
  • Describe the following federal lands and current issues of concern for each: wilderness, national parks, and national wildlife refuges.
  • Define sustainable forestry and explain how monocultures are related to forestry.
  • Describe national forests and current issues of concern.
  • Define deforestation, including clear-cutting, and describe the main causes of tropical deforestation.
  • Explain how conservation easements help private landowners protect forests from development.
  • Describe public rangelands and current issues of concern.
  • Define desertification and explain its relationship to overgrazing.
  • Describe the current threats to freshwater and coastal wetlands.
  • Explain how famines differ from chronic hunger.
  • Define world grain stocks and explain how they are a measure of world food security.
  • Name the three most important food crops and explain why having just three plant species to provide almost half of the calories people consume is a potential problem.
  • Contrast industrialized agriculture with subsistence agriculture and describe three kinds of subsistence agriculture.
  • Describe the beneficial and harmful effects of domestication on crop plants and livestock, defining germplasm in the process.
  • Describe the benefits and problems associated with the green revolution.
  • Explain the roles of hormones and antibiotics in industrialized agriculture.
  • Identify the potential benefits and problems of genetic engineering.
  • Describe the environmental impacts of industrialized agriculture, including land degradation and habitat fragmentation.
  • Define sustainable agriculture and contrast it with industrialized agriculture.
  • Define bycatch.
  • Contrast fishing and aquaculture, and describe the environmental challenges of each activity.
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