Environmental Resources Essay

Environmental Resources Essay.

Environmental Resources Essay

University of Phoenix Material

Environmental Resources Worksheet

Using the assigned readings from Week Five, write a 50- to 75-word response to each of the following questions. Your responses will be assessed according to the accuracy of the content.


  1. How do minerals affect society?

The processes of extraction, processing, as well as disposal of minerals are harmful to the environment. In essence, the minerals may lead to environmental pollution during their extraction hence bringing about adverse health outcomes. Most of the rocks that are rich in minerals always have high concentrations of heavy metals like lead and arsenic (Edwards et al., 2014).

  • What is the difference between metallic and nonmetallic minerals? Provide two examples from each category and discuss their uses.

Metallic minerals refer to the minerals that can be melted easily to form new products. They are also good conductors of electricity and heat and include copper, aluminum and iron. On the other hand, non-metallic minerals do not yield new products when melted. These comprise of sand, phosphates, salt and stone (Weil et al., 2016).


  1. How are minerals extracted from the Earth and processed?

The extraction of minerals depends on the depth of the mineral deposit, which would determine whether to use surface or subsurface mining. The extraction occurs near the surface in surface mining. Contrarily, subsurface mining is done using the slope mines or even underground shaft mines. The processing procedure involves smelting.

  • What are the different ways minerals can be mined? Provide a brief description of at least three types of mining (Vela et al., 2015).

Ideally, surface mining may be either through open-pit or strip mining techniques. In open-pit, the process involves digging a giant hole known as a quarry, in the ground for the extraction of minerals to occur. However, in strip mining, two trenches are dug in which the second one is parallel to the first trench. Shaft mining involves digging a hole straight passing through the overburden towards the ore (Edwards et al., 2014).

  • What effect does extracting minerals have on the environment?

Surface extraction increases the rates of soil erosion by destroying vegetation across broad areas. Through open-pit mining, large water quantities are consumed. The process of mining also depicts a significant influence on the quality of water, which may be used for consumption and other domestic purposes. Some dissolved toxic substances may wash from the mines into streams or lakes thereby affecting adversely the people who use such water sources (Weil et al., 2016).  


  1. What is your definition of soil? What is soil composed of? Why is soil important to the environment?

Soil is the relatively thin layer on the surface of the crust of earth and contains the minerals, as well as organic matter, which have been modified by the agents of natural actions. Soil is composed of air, water, organic matter and the mineral particles. The soil forms a habitat for most microorganisms that gain shelter, water and food from it. The plants obtain essential minerals from the soil (Weil et al., 2016).

  • What types of organisms are found in soil? Determine the relationship between soil and organisms.

The fertile soils provide life to various organisms like fungi, insects, burrowing animals, algae, plants, bacteria, roundworms and earthworms. The relationship between soil and these organisms is evident in the sense that the soil provides a range of vital ecosystem services like the prevention of soil erosion, cleansing water, as well as maintenance of soil fertility (Vela et al., 2015).

  • What is soil erosion? How can soil become polluted? What effect does soil erosion and pollution have on the environment?

Soil erosion involves the process through which the topsoil is worn away due to the human activities. Usually, water and wind are capable of moving soil from a particular place to another. When it rains, the soil particles loosen hence transporting them through the moving water. The erosion reduces soil fertility due to the removal of essential minerals from the surface (Weil et al., 2016).  

  • What is the purpose of soil reclamation?

Soil reclamation is always aimed at the prevention of further erosion and restoring soil fertility. In essence, plants are used to seed the bare ground such that they grow to cover the soil. The plants improve soil quality after short periods as the dead materials decay to form humus, which consequently improves the capacity of soil to hold water (Vela et al., 2015).

Forestry and Rangeland Resources and Management Strategies

  1. Differentiate between government-owned and public lands. Which government agencies are involved with government-owned lands? What is the purpose of government-owned lands?

Usually, the lands owned by the government have the various types of ecosystems, as well as contain vital resources such as minerals and fossil fuels. The publicly owned lands would be crucial due to their recreational purposes. Some of the agencies involved with the lands include Forest Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service (Latawiec et al., 2015).  

  • Why is the forest an important ecosystem?

Forest is important since it provides a range of goods and services, which support the human society. The forests have diverse uses such as timber being used in the production of paper and paper products. The timber also provides fuel and helps in the construction process. In essence, it supplies different foods like the fruits, nuts and mushrooms (Tubiello et al., 2015).

  • What is your definition of forest management? What is its purpose? Describe the concept of sustainable forestry.

Forest management is the process used to harvest timber and produce goods and services from the forest. Usually, the process disrupts the natural conditions of the forests hence changing the compositions of species. It helps in the creation of alternatives to harvest timber from the wild forests. A sustainable forest makes it easy and efficient to sustain biological diversity. It comes about by preventing soil erosion (Latawiec et al., 2015).

  • What effect does the harvesting of trees and deforestation have on forests and the environment? Is there a preferred method for harvesting trees? Explain.

Deforestation leads to a significant decrease in soil fertility since the essential mineral nutrients leach away when the ground becomes bare without trees to absorb the minerals. Selective cutting is used in most cases to harvest the mature trees hence allowing for the natural regeneration of forests (Latawiec et al., 2015).

  • What is a rangeland? Describe rangeland degradation and desertification. What effect does degradation and desertification have on the environment?

A rangeland is the grassland that has both the temperate and tropical climates. Such an ecosystem is vital as it provides food production for the humans and fodder for different animals like cows, goats and sheep. Land degradation reduces the soil capability to support the survival of livestock and crops. Desertification reduces the productivity of valuable land  (Edwards et al., 2014).

  • What is overgrazing? What effect does this have on rangelands?

Overgrazing is the grazing of animals in a particular land that leads to the destruction of vegetation as the animals eat plants hence making it difficult to recover. The process accelerates degradation thereby decreasing the ability of lands to support both livestock and crops (Kachurin et al., 2015).  

  • What strategies can be employed for managing and conserving forests and rangelands?

The management strategies for rangelands comprise of managing the invasive weeds and controlled burns. It would also be crucial to create fences or other barriers hence the grazers would rotate grazing areas, as well as enhancing the protection of important habitats within the ecosystem. The livestock operators use public rangeland to realize a significant improvement in the lands (Latawiec et al., 2015).


  1. What is the difference between industrialized and subsistence agriculture? What effect do these methods have on the environment?

Industrialized agriculture produces higher yields as compared to the subsistence one. As such, it allows the natural resources, as well as forests to remain wild. In industrialized agriculture, modern methods are used hence requiring more capital input and labor as opposed to subsistence agricultural methods. In essence, the traditional techniques are less costly (Tubiello et al., 2015).

  • What is one agricultural challenge, other than soil erosion, that society faces? Explain your answer.

Usually, the agricultural lands might be of valuable concern since they would become parking lots, areas for housing developments or even shopping malls. A reduction in the agricultural lands leads to a substantial decrease in the amount of crops produced. As such, the prices of foods increase due to inadequate viable sources of food (Kachurin et al., 2015).

  • How would you describe sustainable agriculture? How does it affect the environment? In regards to agriculture, what are the advantages and disadvantages involved with genetic engineering?

Sustainable agriculture encompasses the process that employs specific methods, which maintain the productivity of soil through establishing an ecological balance in the ecosystem. Genetic engineering involves the manipulation of genes used in the production of particular traits hence making the crops nutritious. However, the process has some unknown effects on the environment (Tubiello et al., 2015).


Weil, R. R., Brady, N. C., & Weil, R. R. (2016). The nature and properties of soils. London: Pearson.

Edwards, D. P., Sloan, S., Weng, L., Dirks, P., Sayer, J., & Laurance, W. F. (2014). Mining and the African environment. Conservation Letters7(3), 302-311.

Vela-Almeida, D., Brooks, G., & Kosoy, N. (2015). Setting the limits to extraction: A biophysical approach to mining activities. Ecological Economics119, 189-196.

Kachurin, N., Komashchenko, V., & Morkun, V. (2015). Environmental monitoring atmosphere of mining territories. Metallurgical and Mining Industry7(6), 595-598.

Tubiello, F. N., Salvatore, M., Ferrara, A. F., House, J., Federici, S., Rossi, S., … & Prosperi, P. (2015). The contribution of agriculture, forestry and other land use activities to global warming, 1990–2012. Global change biology21(7), 2655-2660.

Latawiec, A. E., Strassburg, B. B., Brancalion, P. H., Rodrigues, R. R., & Gardner, T. (2015). Creating space for large‐scale restoration in tropical agricultural landscapes. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment13(4), 211-218.

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