Global Warming and the Effect on Plant Diversity

With this extinction comes a cascade of effects on the ecosystems in which plants play a vital role. New medicinal studies and development will be hindered as plant diversity diminishes. Loss of biological diversity means loss of future potential for humanity. Human activities, direct and indirect, are major causes of rainforest’s depletion. Destruction of rainforest’s must be ceased before global warming gets out of hand and plant biodiversity is lost cutting off a vital life line forever. Global warming is commonly referred to as an increase in the imperative of the lowest layers of Earth’s atmosphere.

Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases. Primary greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Carbon dioxide, as well as other greenhouse gases, is a very important factor in the vital cycles which sustain life on this planet. Plants use carbon dioxide in photosynthesis and release the oxygen necessary to maintain the lives of animal species, who through exhaling return carbon dioxide in atmosphere, completing the cycle.

This is known as the greenhouse effect which is a natural process that made life on Earth feasible. Our planet’s surface temperature would have been 33 degrees Celsius cooler, -18 C instead of present 15 C, if not for naturally occurring greenhouse gases. By the greenhouse effect, in the discussions of the global warming and other environmental problems, scientists describe it as the enhanced effect which is caused by the increase of greenhouse gases from human sources. Science rings different theories about the primary causes of the global warming of atmosphere.

Eventually, the processes that happen in the environment are so complex, even on local scale, that analyzing causes and effects of global processes leads scientists to controversial conclusions. Most scientists agree on certain facts. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change officially concluded in 1996 that it has increased by somewhere in between 0. 5 to 1. 1 degrees Fahrenheit since the last century. The sea level has risen four to ten inches during the same period of time. The main issues which arise are not only scientific, but also are political arguments which are the humans’ contribution to the current warming of the atmosphere.

One theory states that the primary cause of the global increase of the temperature is the consequence of the sun activity. Sunspot cycles, which range between 9 to 13 years, are determining the amount of the sun radiation which is released in space and received by Earth in particular. A large group of scientists see the cause of the current temperature change due to human activities such as burning of fossil fuels in the course of the past two centuries since the ginning of the industrial revolution and active deforestation of the planet’s surface.

Oil, coal and natural gas are fossil fuels formed in Earth from the remains of plants and animals. They are rich in carbon and, when burned, produce carbon dioxide. Fossil fuels have been largely used by humanity since eighteenth century to produce heat. At present they are mostly used to produce electricity. The human influence on the environment was not crucial when the population of the planet was much smaller. At the beginning of our era approximately 250 million people lived on Earth and by 1650 the population had grown only to 500 million.

Yet, the rapid growth of population, starting in the nineteenth century, coincided with the development of the industry making the impact of the humanity on the environment, and in particular on the temperature change, considerable. In 1830 the planet population reached one billion, in 1930 it reached two billion, and four billion around 1975. In 1990 it was estimated 5. 3 billion. It is clear that the growing population is consuming more resources, using more energy. One of the most growing environmental concerns of our planet is the loss of tropical forests.

Tropical forests are depleting at an alarming rate. A rate where demand far exceeds the supply. Of all the forest habitats, none seems to be more threatened than the tropical rainforest’s, as the world loses up to 20 million hectares of these forests annually, an 80 percent increase over previous estimates. In 1950, 30 percent of the world’s surface was covered by rainforest’s. By 1 975 this area had shrunk to 12 percent. Today, tropical forests account for about 8 percent of the planet’s surface, an area roughly equal to that of the United States, constituting slightly less than half heir prehistoric cover.

Findings have shown that Africa has lost 60 percent of its original rainforest’s and Central America and Southeast Asia have lost nearly two thirds. During the 1 ass’s, rates of clearance were approximately 1. 8 percent annually, an area equal to the state of Arid. What is more tragic is similar rates of rainforest’s clearance are continuing and are on the rise. Trees are not the only victims of rainforest’s depletion. Rainforest’s contain a vast array of biodiversity of plant and animal species required for maintenance of our biosphere.

Because the rate of tropical forest loss is so paid, and the concentration of the world’s species in these ecosystems is so great, a significant proportion Of all plants and animals are likely to become extinct in the next few decades, possibly by 25 to 30 percent. As humankind contain uses to abuse their environment this frontier will quickly become a glimmer in the past.. According to ecologists, destruction of rainforest’s is one of the great tragedies of our time rest Ting in the greatest single set back to life’s abundance and diversity since the first flickering of life almost 4 billion years ago.

Because we are able to see trees in the forest, the misled assumption of the abundance of such a resource exists. If nothing is done about the reduction of the carbon dioxide in atmosphere, at least about the human contribution, our planet will change in many relations. At present rate of increase of greenhouse gases in the air the near-surface temperatures will grow 3 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit within half a century. Some greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a long time, with carbon dioxide staying for about two hundred years, accumulating with the new portions emitted.

Therefore, the concentrations of the carbon dioxide might reach 600 parts ere million in next century, which means an even greater increase in the temperatures. The sea level is expected to rise under present conditions six inches to three feet in the course of the next one hundred years. Although, rainforest’s constitute approximately 8 percent of the earth’s land surface, they contain more than half of the world’s biota. As Charles Darwin states “rainforest’s are one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse, created by Nature for herself.. Of this biota plants are one of the most essential members. The greatest diversity of plant species are found in tropical forests which provide baits for 60 percent of known plant species. Approximately one half of the world’s flowering plants live in tropical forests. When envisioning such a forest a blanket of green is seen. The array of plant diversity is immense. 900 species of fig trees, alone, grow in tropical forests, and Ecuador has more plant species than Europe which has a surface area 31 times greater.

Plants thrive in conditions rainforest’s provide making Brazil, Columbia, Zaire, Australia, and Indonesia ” mega diversity” countries as they contain nearly 50 percent of the world’s plant species. The Brazilian Amazon is described as the arrest reservoir of plants awaiting the light of modern science. Although the numbers and diversity of plants in rainforest’s are immeasurable, their value is far greater. Look carefully and you will find a bit of the jungle in the foods you eat, in the medicines on your shelf, in thousands of products from shampoo to guitars, in your myths and metaphors, the weather and daily news, and your daydreams.

In North America our lives seem distant from the tropical forests yet our dependencies and bonds on these forests are avoidable. Many different actions can be taken in response to greenhouse arming on the different levels. Options that eliminate or reduce greenhouse gases emissions, which balance emissions by removing greenhouse gases from atmosphere, and that help human as well as plant and animal ecosystems adjust or adapt to new climatic conditions and events.

Humans, animals, and plants are able to adapt to different climates but, if the climate changes as rapidly as some computer models project, the present natural ecosystems may become fragmented and break up, some ecosystems might even disappear. Individuals could reduce energy consumption, recycle and reuse goods. People could use cars less, when possible use public transport or walk instead. Currently there is a trend to use alternative fuels that greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These can be solar-electric, hydrogen-electrical combination engines or bodiless engines.

Individuals could buy energy-efficient appliances for their houses. These are easy to find as the LISA Federal Law requires labeling those products as energy star compliant. One way states can work on slowing the global warming pace, is to sponsor programs allowing individuals and businesses to contribute to reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases. One example of such kind will be introducing the alternative sources of power, such as nuclear, solar or wind. Solar power is actually already in use in many countries around the world.

Governments and the electrical companies of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Japan and ASSAI have different programs which help people install and use solar panels on the roofs of their houses. One of the important actions the governments should take is improving public transport systems and encouraging their use. This would stop up to One third of the emissions that come from the use of private vehicles. Stopping government subsidies and introducing “carbon taxes” will raise the consumer cost of high-emission fuels and thus will decrease the demand for them.

The fuel consumption therefore will be reduced. Natural gas emits the lowest amount of carbon dioxide among fossil fuels and the state governments should encourage its use for electric plants. Forests are extremely an important part in consuming atmospheric carbon dioxide. State governments should introduce the programs for planting and effectively protecting the forests, while also encouraging individuals to participate. Public education is an important actor that can considerably help the reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance the adaptation to greenhouse warming.

Programs for conservation and recycling can change the energy use and consumption. These educational programs are already working in USA and in many European countries. By the compromise reached in Kyoto, the European Union would cut down its greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent below the levels nil 990, the US by 7 percent, and Japan by 6 percent. In total, thirty-eight nations have signed this agreement and will be reducing emissions by about 5 percent below the 1990 levels. The protocol does not determine how the cutbacks should be achieved, though.

International organizations could and will be coordinating programs in the IIS and other countries. They will be managing transfers of resources and technologies, and facilitating the exchange of monitoring and other relevant data. Global warming is a very complex and complicated issue. No certain proof of what causes it can be given. Also the rate of temperature change may only be predicted. The effects and implications, present and future, of the loss of plant biodiversity are vivid. As rainforest’s continue to rapidly deplete the vanishing of plant pieces becomes a reality.

With the disappearance of plants essential resources are depleted. The resources plants provide presently are not the only concern. More tragic are the causes for AIDS, heart disease, and diabetes that may still be found in tropical plants. As over population, vegetation destruction, and pollution continue to be serious threats, the chances of restoration of rainforest’s seems improbable. Humanity needs to realize that there are limits to global and economic growth and that remaining ignorant of such limits increases the seriousness of the deterioration of tropical environments.

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