Environmental Science

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The Amazon rainforest is rich in natural resources, such as water and medicinal plants, and its lush habitats house approximately one-third of Earth's species, according to the Nature Conservancy. About 25 percent of the world's fresh water cycles through rivers connected to the Amazon Basin. Logging and agricultural enterprises have lead to widespread deforestation, threatening the survival of indigenous cultures, animals and plant life.

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  • What causes acid rain?

    Q: What causes acid rain?

    A: Acid rain is caused by the mixing of moisture in the atmosphere with sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, forming sulfuric acid and nitric acid in the precipitation that falls to the earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the most common source of these chemicals in the atmosphere is air pollution from industry, generation of electricity and automobiles.
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  • What is the difference between an environment and an ecosystem?

    Q: What is the difference between an environment and an ecosystem?

    A: An environment generally refers to the surroundings of various living residents, while an ecosystem is a community consisting of both living and non-living things that work together. In general, an ecosystem is defined by its environment, and all organisms within the ecosystem must work in tandem to create a successful living space.
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  • Why are Okapi endangered?

    Q: Why are Okapi endangered?

    A: The okapi is endangered due to illegal hunting and the destruction of its habitat, explains Animal Diversity. It was also endangered by the civil war in the Congo, where it lives as a native to the Ituri Rainforest.
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  • What are the effects of desertification?

    Q: What are the effects of desertification?

    A: Desertification causes a high-risk of crop failure, low economic returns on crops, a build-up of salt in the soil and the accidental burning of semiarid vegetation. This process turns usable desert land into unusable land due to poor land management.
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  • What is the hottest country on Earth?

    Q: What is the hottest country on Earth?

    A: The hottest country in the world is Libya, where temperatures higher than 136 degrees Fahrenheit are recorded. The country's terrain is almost completely desert, with little rainfall and very hot temperatures year round.
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  • What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    Q: What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    A: The manchineel tree offers a notorious three-pronged self-defense strategy: it can choke you with its fruit, poison you with its sap, and blind you with its smoke. Literally every part of the tree is poisonous. Native to Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the manchineel has gained an infamous reputation, and throughout history it has been both vital and deadly to humans.
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  • How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    Q: How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    A: According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 632,655 to 999,001 tons of plastic water bottles were discarded in 2006. This analysis calculated the total as 76.5 percent of the plastic bottles produced in the United States.
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  • What are tropical rainforest landforms?

    Q: What are tropical rainforest landforms?

    A: Tropical rainforest landforms are areas that lie between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, are covered in forest and experience a high level of rain. While many small tropical rainforests persist on Earth, the three primary tropical rainforest landforms occur in the Amazon basin of South America, equatorial Africa and the Southeast Asian peninsula and archipelago.
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  • Why is oceanography important?

    Q: Why is oceanography important?

    A: Oceanography is a very important discipline for understanding the oceans, which are essential for all life on Earth and cover the majority of the Earth's surface. Oceanography is extremely multidisciplinary, covering the physics, chemistry, geology and biology of the world's oceans. No understanding of Earth's climate or the chemical cycles essential to life is complete without the insights of oceanography.
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  • Are humans destroying the planet?

    Q: Are humans destroying the planet?

    A: Although human beings may not be capable of fully destroying the earth, their daily activities are causing enough harm to the planet that it may become uninhabitable for humans for a long while. Human beings have also developed destructive technology such as nuclear weapons that, if used in their full capacity, may also make the earth uninhabitable for a long time for many creatures, including humans.
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  • What factors affect soil fertility?

    Q: What factors affect soil fertility?

    A: The presence of nutrients, minerals, organic matter, microorganisms, and the texture and structure of the soil affect soil fertility. Fertility refers to the ability of soil to provide plants with the nutrients they require to grow and fight disease.
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  • Why are coral reefs endangered?

    Q: Why are coral reefs endangered?

    A: Coral reefs are endangered due to rising global temperatures, pollution and overfishing. It is estimated that about 1/5 of all coral reefs on the planet have been destroyed. The remaining ones could potentially vanish by 2050.
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  • What is carbon dioxide?

    Q: What is carbon dioxide?

    A: Carbon dioxide is a colorless, non-organic compound that is a gas at room temperature and comprises about 0.03 percent of Earth's atmosphere. It is produced when materials that contain carbon are combusted, and it is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases that trap heat within the Earth's atmosphere.
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  • How does reforestation help the environment?

    Q: How does reforestation help the environment?

    A: Global reforestation in an important issue of growing concern. Forests are a natural carbon sink and absorb much of the emissions from burning fossil fuels.
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  • Why are landfills good?

    Q: Why are landfills good?

    A: One reason that landfills are good is because they allow the government to monitor waste disposal. Although the thought of a landfill of garbage and waste does not sound appealing, they're quite beneficial to society.
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  • What is the original source of almost all the energy in most ecosystems?

    Q: What is the original source of almost all the energy in most ecosystems?

    A: The sun is the ultimate source of energy in most terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The major exceptions are deep sea communities that depend on heat from hydrothermal vents as well as lithotrophic archaebacteria that derive energy directly from rocks.
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  • What are the ecological and environmental concerns of the tundra biome?

    Q: What are the ecological and environmental concerns of the tundra biome?

    A: According to the Seattle P-I, the environmental and ecological concerns of the tundra biome include climate change, air pollution, human development and ecological imbalances. Recently, humans have been increasingly impacting the tundra both directly and indirectly. In the past, the tundra has not been able to support much human life and therefore remained free of human disturbance.
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  • What is the belt of calm air near the equator?

    Q: What is the belt of calm air near the equator?

    A: The intertropical convergence zone is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth with calm air, especially over the oceans. Scientists call the ITCZ various names, including the doldrums or the equatorial calms. When sail-powered ships reached these dreaded zones, they faced the potential of stalling for days or weeks without enough wind to proceed, according to Reference.com.
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  • What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    Q: What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    A: The main consequence of a depleted ozone layer is a reduction in the protection it affords against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVB) emanating from the sun. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increased UVB radiation damages human health, plant life, marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.
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  • What is solar energy?

    Q: What is solar energy?

    A: According to the Environment Protection Agency, solar energy is defined as energy derived from the sun's radiation. Solar energy sustains life on earth. It is also becoming increasingly common that this energy is converted and used as an alternative to fossil fuels.
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  • What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    Q: What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    A: The greenhouse effect is the trapping of heat by a layer of gases surrounding the Earth. The heat is trapped by atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide.
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