Chapter 1 Vocabulary  


The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

Environmental Science


A set of interacting or interdependent component parts forming a complex/intricate whole


A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment


Of, relating to, or resulting from living things, especially in their ecological return



A person who advocates for the environment.

Environmental Studies

Study of human interaction with the environment

Ecosystem Services

Environmental Indicators


The ability to continue a defined behavior indefinitely.


The variety of life in the world or in a habitat or ecosystem


Background Extinction Rate

The standard rate of extinction in earth’s geological and biological history before humans became the primary cause of extinction

Greenhouse Gases


Pollutants from human activity


Sustainable Development

Economic development without causing harm to the environment

Ecological Footprint

Scientific Method


Proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation

Null Hypothesis


The act of copying or replicating.

Sample Size

The act of choosing the number of observations or replicates to include a statistical sample.


Inductive Reasoning

Logical process in which multiple premises are combined to lead to a conclusion

Deductive Reasoning

Logical process in which multiple premises are assumed to lead to a possible conclusion

Critical Thinking


An idea used to account for a situation or justify a course of action

Natural Law

A body of unchanging moral principles regarded as a basis for all human conduct

Control Group

Natural Experiment

An empirical study in which individuals are exposed to the experimental and controlled conditions inspired by the environment.

Environmental Justice

Chapter. 1 Reading Questions

  1. What happened in the Neuse River, and how did it affect the local population & economy?

A billion fish died of a microscopic insect that releases toxins to kill fish. It affected the population and economy because this was their main fishing economy. 

  1. What is the importance of studying systems in environmental science? Why can’t we just study isolated events or isolated individuals?

It’s important to study systems in environmental science because all the events and individuals make up the environmental system as a whole. If we were to just study one of these isolated events or individuals, these wouldn’t do much other than just a specific area of study.

  1. Tool use and social cooperation have allowed humans to alter their environment enormously. What advantages do these traits give humans in outcompeting other species?

These give humans a larger benefit in outcompeting other species because with the use of communication such as phones, emails, and other forms of communication, we can communicate when other countries, cities, or groups of people need help. From there, we can use planes and other methods of transportation for support, of which s limited for other species of animals. 

  1. So far in history, technological development has led to both increased human well-being and increased environmental disruption. Why has this been the case?

Technological innovations have led to an increase in human well-being because technology can lead us to an easier life in terms of medicine, transportation, and even food as well. However, it causes environmental disruption because we have to derive these resources from the environment, such as overproduction of food/animals, battles for technological pieces needed, and even the medicine we use.

  1. What advantages do ecosystems with higher species diversity have over those with lower species diversity?

Ecosystems with higher species diversity have a greater advantage compared to those with lower species diversity because this supports a greater sustainability for all life forms. If one ecosystem were to have more predators than prey, this would lead to an extinction of one species and then the slow decline of the predatory species. One with large species diversity could support all lifeforms and their roles in the environment.

  1. There are at least 2 million species on Earth, and species have been naturally evolving and going extinct for billions of years (in fact, over 99% of all species that ever existed are now extinct!). Given these facts, why do we care if human activity is driving other species extinct as we grow?

We care because every species on earth plays a specific role in the environment, and by cutting off one species, we are causing another to suffer in ways that cause it to overpopulate or slowly lose its population. By this point, the loss of more species leads to higher negative aspects than positive aspects.

  1. What do you think is a higher priority: maximizing total food production, or maximizing equality of access to food for all people?

Maximizing equality of access to food for all people is more important, because this would lead to a decrease in the amount of food wasted, a lowering in worldwide obesity, and also contribute to a a healthier worldwide system of health.

  1. What two major human activities have had the greatest impact on the increase of greenhouse gases, and why?

The development of cars and the development of factories have had the greatest impact on the increase in greenhouse gases, because cars are used worldwide for a century and have only recently been attempted to regulate to be more environmentally friendly. The development of factories contributes gases and smoke to the air daily, also causing in increase in temperature.

  1. What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?

Renewable resources are replenished naturally and over relatively short periods of time, whereas nonrenewable resources are available in limited supplies because these tend to take a very long period of time to develop 1. How does resource use vary between developed countries and developing ones? 

Resource use varies between developed and developing countries because developing countries tend to not have the access to resources that developed ones have. 

Chapter 20 Reading Questions



The branch of knowledge concerned with the production, consumption, and transfer of wealth. 

Genuine progress Indicator (GPI)

Metric used to measure the economic growth of a country

Technology Transfer


Areas that have poor technology can move forward rapidly through the use of developed technology, eliminating the trial and error step


Natural Capital

The world’s stock of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, etc.

Human Capital

The knowledge, skills, and experience that is possessed by an individual population or country.

Manufactured Capital

Market Failure

Environmental Economics

Ecological Economics

a growing transdisciplinary field that aims to improve and expand economic theory to integrate earth’s natural systems.

Ecological Economics


An estimation of something’s worth, especially one carried out by a professional appraiser.

Environmental Worldview

Anthropocentric Worldview


The management or care of something, particularly the kind that works. 

Biocentric worldview

Ecocentric worldview

United Nations (UN)

intergovernmental organization to promote international cooperation

Human Development Index (HDI)

Composite statistics of life which include life expectancy, education, and per capita indicators

Human Poverty Index (HPI)

Indication of the standard of living in a country

Command-and-Control regulation

the direct regulation of an industry or activity by legislation that states what is permitted and what is illegal

Incentive-based regulation

Green Tax

Tax paid by consumers for products that are not environmentally friendly

Triple Bottom Line

  1. What are the 3 major environmental worldviews, and what does each prioritize?




  1. Complete the following chart regarding major world and national organizations:

Full Name

Priorities of this organization?









  1. What is the precautionary principle? Do you think it is a good idea to follow, or do you agree    with critics that say it is an unnecessary barrier to the improvement of living conditions?
  1. What is the difference between command-and-control approach and the incentive-based approach to regulation? Which one do you think is more effective?
  1. What is meant by finding solutions that meet the "triple bottom line"?
  1. What do you think are the main keys to economically developing a nation? What advice would you give a poor nation looking to develop sustainably?
  1. What are the Millennium Development Goals, and why are they significant?
  1. Two major challenges for our time are reducing poverty and protecting the environment. Can they both be accomplished? Or must progress towards one goal always go along with setbacks in the other?
  1. What changes did Nike make to its shoe manufacturing process, and how does the Reuse-A-Shoe program exemplify corporate efforts to improve their environmental record?
  1. How can ecological economics help us determine what major characteristics a sustainable economic system must have? How does our current system compare?

Chapter 2 Vocabulary List


Physical substance that which occupies space and possesses mass


A coherent, typically large body of matter with no definite shape.



Each of more than one hundred substances that cannot be chemically interconverted or broken down into simpler substances and are primary constituents of matter.

Periodic Table


A group of atoms bonded together that represents the smallest fundamental unit of chemical compound


Atomic Number

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom 

Mass Number


Radioactive Decay


Covalent Bonds

A chemical bond that involves the sharing of electrons between atoms

Ionic Bonds

Hydrogen Bond

A weak bond between two molecules resulting from an electrostatic attraction

Polar Molecule

Molecule that has a partial positive charge in one part, and a partial negative charge in another

Surface Tension

The tension on the surface film of a liquid caused by the attraction of the particles in the surface layer by the bulk

Capillary Action


A chemical substance that neutralizes alkalis, dissolves some metals, and turns litmus red



Chemical Reaction

A process that involves rearrangements of the molecular or ionic structure of a substance

Law of Conservation of Matter

Inorganic Compounds

Organic Compounds



Nucleic Acids






Electromagnetic Radiation

A type of radiation including visible light, radio waves, etc



The SI unit of work or energy


To move or travel with great speed or force

Potential Energy

The energy possessed by a body by virtue of its position relative to others, stresses within itself, electric charge, and other factors.

Kinetic Energy

Chemical Energy

Energy stored in the bonds of chemical compounds (atoms and molecules).


First Law of


The total energy of an isolated system is constant; energy can neither be created nor destroyed

Second Law of thermodynamics

The total entropy of an isolated system always increases over time 

Energy Efficiency

The goal to reduce the amount of energy required to provide products and services

Energy Quality


A thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work

Open System

A material system in which mass or energy can be lost to or gained from the environment

Closed System

A physical system that doesn’t exchange any matter with its surroundings


What is put in, taken in, or operated on by any person, machine, or industry


The amount of something produced by a person, machine, or industry

System Analysis

Steady State

An unvarying condition in which the physical process is maintained by the constant creation of matter


Negative Feedback Loops

Occurs when some function of the output of a system, process, or mechanism is fed back that causes a reduction in fluctuations

Positive Feedback Loops

Adaptive Management Plan

A structured, iterative process of robust decision making in the face of uncertainty to reduce this

Energy is a fundamental component of environmental systems.

 Energy conversion underlies all ecological processes.

 Systems analysis shows how matter and energy flow in the environment.

 Natural systems change across space and over time.

 Working Toward Sustainability: Managing Environmental Systems in the Florida Everglades

  1. How does the Sun transfer energy from millions of miles away to Earth?
  1. What is the difference between power and energy?
  1. Why do you think we use the term power plants instead of energy plants?
  1. What is the difference between potential energy and kinetic energy?
  1. Certain chemical reactions give off heat when they occur. Describe what is happening in terms of potential energy and kinetic energy in such reactions.
  1. How is an object’s temperature related to the energy of its molecules?
  1. The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed; do heat-emitting (exothermic) reactions violate this law? Explain.
  1. According to the second law of thermodynamics, some energy is always lost as heat during any energy conversion. Use this concept to explain why lights, engines, computers, muscles, etc. get hot.
  1. How can the efficiency of an energy transformation be calculated?
  1. Use the second law of thermodynamics to explain why a barrel of oil can be used only once as a fuel. In other words: why can’t we recycle this high quality energy?
  1. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that all systems slowly degrade towards randomness. However, life on Earth has been incredibly successful at preserving itself and growing increasingly complex over time. How has life been so successful doing this?
  1. Earth is considered an open system for energy and a closed system for matter. Explain what this means.
  1. What characterizes a steady state in a system? Are steady states generally a good or bad thing in environmental systems?
  1. Explain the difference between a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop.
  1. Are positive feedbacks necessarily good things? Are negative feedbacks necessarily bad things? Explain.
  1. What can inputs, outputs and feedback loops tell us about the health of environmental systems?

Chapter 3 Vocabulary List


Particular location on Earth distinguished by its particular

mix of interacting biotic and abiotic components

Producers (Autotrophs)

Uses the sun’s energy to produce usable forms of energy


Cellular Respiration

Consumers (Heterotrophs)

Must obtain their energy by consuming other organisms

Primary Consumers

Organisms that eat autotrophs

Secondary Consumers

Organisms that eat primary consumers

Tertiary Consumers

A carnivore at the topmost level in the food chain that feeds on other carnivores

Trophic Levels

Food Chain

A hierarchical series of organisms each dependent on the next source as food

Food Web


An animal that feeds on carrion, dead plant material, or refuse


An organism that feeds on dead organic material


Gross Primary Productivity (GPP)

The amount of chemical energy as a biomass that primary producers create in a given length of time

Net Primary Productivity (NPP)

The net flux of carbon from the atmosphere into green plants per unit time


Standing Crop

Ecological Efficiency

The efficiency in which energy is transferred from one trophic level to the nexr

Trophic Pyramid


Biogeochemical Cycles

Hydrologic Cycle



The process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and other surfaces and by transpiration of plants



A substance required in large amounts by living organisms

Limiting Nutrient

Nitrogen Fixation

Process where atmospheric nitrogen is assimilated into organic compounds, especially by certain microorganisms as part of the nitrogen cycle


Drain away from soil, ash, or similar material by the action of percolating liquid, especially rainwater





Restoration Ecology

Study that supports ecological restoration by renewing or restoring degraded, damaged, or destroyed habitats or ecosystems through active human intervention and interaction

Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis

Suggests that local species diversity is maximized when ecological disturbance is neither too rare or too frequent

Instrumental Value

Value given to an object by means of achieving something else

Intrinsic Value

Actual value of a company or asset based on its tangible and intangible terms


Ch. 3 Reading Questions

 Reversing the Deforestation of Haiti

 Ecosystem ecology examines interactions between the living and the nonliving world.

 Energy flows through ecosystems.

  1. Why are both biotic AND abiotic components important to an ecosystem?
  1. Why is it difficult to determine what the boundaries to an ecosystem are?
  1. Can ecosystems be fully isolated from their surroundings? How does this influence ecosystem
  1. How does most energy enter ecosystems? What types of energy conversion occur within
  1. How are trophic levels related to flow of energy through an ecosystem? What form is this
  1. What does the productivity of an ecosystem measure?
  1. What is the difference between Gross Primary Productivity and Net Primary Productivity? Which one do you think has more of an influence on an ecosystem, and why?
  1. What is the difference between the standing crop of biomass and productivity in an ecosystem?
  1. Why is only a small fraction of energy at each trophic level transferred up to the next trophic level? Where does the rest of the energy go?
  1. Which natural (non anthropogenic) processes normally return buried carbon to the atmosphere to balance out the carbon that is buried through sedimentation?


Chapter 4 Vocabulary List


The weather conditions prevailing in an area in general


The layer closest to the Earth’s surface (16 km above the earth)



The percentage of incoming sunlight reflected from a surface

Saturation Point

Adiabatic Cooling

As air sinks, the pressure increases and the air decreases in volume

Adiabatic Heating

As air rises in the atmosphere its pressure decreases and the air expands

Latent Heat Release

Hadley Cell

The convection currents that circulate between the equator and 30 degrees north and south


Convergence Zone

Polar Cells

The convection currents that are formed by air that rises 60 degrees north and south and sinks at the poles  (90 degrees north and south)

Coriolis Effect


The large scale patterns of water circulation


Thermohaline Circulation

El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

The periodic changes in wind and ocean currents

Rain Shadow


The presence of similar plant growth forms in areas possessing similar temperature and precipitation patterns



Boreal Forest

Forests primarily made up of coniferous evergreen trees that can tolerate cold winters and short growing seasons 

Temperate Rainforest

Moderate temperatures and high precipitation 

Temperate Seasonal Forest

A biome with warmer summers and colder winters than temperate rainforests and dominated by deciduous trees

Shrubland (Chaparral)

Hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters 


Grassland/Cold Desert

Hot, dry summers and cold, harsh winters

Tropical Rainforests

Tropical Seasonal

Forests & Savannahs

Subtropical Deserts

Littoral Zone

Near the shore area where sunlight penetrates all the way to the sediment and allows aquatic plants to grow

Limnetic Zone

well-lit, open surface waters in a lake, away from the shore


Plankton consisting of microscopic plants

Profundal Zone

Deep zone of an inland body of freestanding water below the area of effective light penetration

Benthic Zone

Lowest level of a body of water

Freshwater Wetlands

Areas filled with surface or groundwater

Salt Marsh

An area of coastal grassland that is regularly flooded by seawater

Mangrove Swamps

A tidal swamp that is dominated by mangroves and associated vegetation

Intertidal Zone

Area that is above the water at low tide and underwater at high tide

Coral Reefs

Coral Bleaching

When the algae inside the coral dies

Photic Zone

Aphotic Zone


Synthesis of organic compounds by bacteria and other living organisms using energy derived from reactions, typically without sunlight

Chapter 4 Reading Questions

Opening Story: Floods, Droughts, and Famines

 Global processes determine weather and climate.

  1. What is the difference between weather and climate?

Weather is the conditions over a short period of time, whereas climate is relatively over a long period of time.

  1. What two factors primarily determine which organisms can live in an area? The biotic and abiotic factors of an area.

I. Earth’s Atmosphere

  1. The chemical formula for ozone is O^3 and its function is to shield the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun and to keep the Earth warm

II. Unequal Heating of Earth

  1. Generally speaking, the equatorial regions of Earth receive the most light/heat in a year and the pole regions receive the least light/heat in a year.

III. Atmospheric Convection Currents

  1. Why is rising air associated with precipitation?

Air cools as it rises, which can cause water vapor in the air to condense into liquid water droplets, sometimes forming clouds and precipitation.

IV. Earth’s Rotation and the Coriolis Effect

  1. The Coriolis Effect deflects moving objects (such as wind) in a right direction in the

northern hemisphere and a left direction in the southern hemisphere

  1. Earth’s Tilt and Seasons
  1. In Los Angeles, the longest day of the year occurs in the month of June because

the top half of the planet faces directly towards the sun

VI. Ocean Currents

  1. What are gyers, and how are they created?

A gyre is a large system of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by the Earth’s rotation

  1. Upwelling is a process in which _________________________ water is brought to the surface

along a coast. It is caused by ____________________________ and is important to humans 

because _______________________________________________________.

VII. Rain Shadows

  1. What is the difference between the windward and the leeward sides of a mountain range?

Chapter 5 Vocabulary List

Ecosystem Diversity

Species Diversity

Genetic Diversity

Variation in DNA and phenotypes

Species Richness

Species Evenness


Branching evolution in a species



Small change/variation in species


Large evolution creating a new species



Actual genetics in an organism


Change in genetic formation that changes animal/phenotype


When chromosomes are duplicated


Artificial Selection

Choosing which animals will survive because of favorable traits

Natural Selection

Selection favoring those who can survive and reproduce


Ability to survive and reproduce


Changes in species to increase fitness

Genetic Drift

Bottleneck Effect

Reduction in genetic diversity

Founder Effect

Original set of genes from old species

Geographic Isolation



ISolation so that the species can no longer reproduce with those they are separated from and creates a different species

Allopatric Speciation

When separation of species creates a new one

Sympatric Speciation

One species into two species by deviation

Genetic Engineering

Genetically Modified Organisms

Range of Tolerance

Range in which a species lives

Fundamental Niche

Realized Niche

Niche where a species is forced into

Species Distribution

Niche Generalists

Species that have no specialized niche

Niche Specialists


Mass Extinction

Sixth Mass Extinction

Six mass extinctions that do habitat damage

Chapter 5 Reading Questions

 The Dung of the Devil

 Earth is home to a tremendous diversity of species

 Evolution is the mechanism underlying biodiversity.

  1. What does the story of the “Dung of the Devil” tell us about the value of biodiversity?
  1. Many traditional societies (such as indigenous tribes of hunter-gatherers) have cultural traditions of using certain plants or animals as part of medicinal treatments. How can we      determine which ones actually have an effect, and which ones are mere superstition?
  1. How do each of the following types of biodiversity support healthy ecosystem function:
  1. Genetic diversity –
  1. Species diversity –
  1. Ecosystem diversity –
  1. What is the current estimate for the total number of species on Earth, and why is it so hard to get an accurate count?
  1. What is the difference between species richness and species eveness?
  1. Which one do you think is more important for ecosystem health – species richness or eveness? Explain.
  1. How do scientists construct a phylogeny, or phylogenetic tree?
  1. Explain how genetic diversity is created through evolution.
  1. In artificial selection, humans induce evolution in a species over time through our actions.

    Provide 2 examples NOT from the textbook of how humans can shape species’ evolution. 

  1. What factors dictate changes in species in the process of natural selection?
  1. List 5 organisms and describe the adaptations that increase their fitness in their environment:


Complete the following chart regarding evolution through random processes:

Random Processes:


Effects on genetic diversity?

12. Mutations 

13. Genetic drift 

14. Bottleneck Effect 

15. Founder Effect

Chapter 6 Vocabulary List


Population -  


Community -  


Population ecology - The study of factors that cause a population to increase or decrease


Population size -The total number of individuals within a defended area in a given amount of time


Population density -The number of individuals per unit area at a given time


Population distribution -  


Sex ratio -


Age structure -


Density-dependent factors -



Limiting resource -



Carrying capacity (k) -



Density-independent factors -



Growth rate -



Intrinsic growth rate (r) -



Exponential growth model -



Logistic growth model -



Overshoot -



Die-off -



k-selected species -



r-selected species -



Survivorship curves -



Corridors -



Metapopulations -



Community ecology -



Competition -



Competitive exclusion principle -



Resource partitioning -



Predation -



True predators -



Herbivores -



Parasites -



Parasitoids -



Mutualism -



Commensalism -



Symbiotic relationship -



Keystone species -



Predator-mediated competition -



Ecosystem engineers -



Ecological succession -



Primary succession -



Secondary succession -



Pioneer species -



Theory of island biogeography -

Chapter 6 Reading Questions

Remember: “Interactions among populations create the Community Dynamics of an ecosystem”

  • Community ecologists study species interactions.
  • The composition of a community changes over time.
  • The species richness of a community is influenced by many factors. Working Toward Sustainability: Bringing Back the Black-Footed Ferret
  1. Competition (-/-)
  2. Why did Gause’s experiment growing 2 strains of paramecium in the same environment produce a different outcome from when they he grew them separately?
  1. Why can’t two species simultaneously share the same realized niche?
  1. Why is resource partitioning advantageous for species that would otherwise be competing?
  1. Identify each of the following as an example of (1: the competitive exclusion principle), (2: temporal resource partitioning), (3: spatial resource partitioning) or (4:

morphological resource partitioning):

i.Several species of Warbler Birds hunt insects in the same types of trees, but each feeds in a different part of the tree 

ii.When wolves were absent from Yosemite, deer grazed many plant species so heavily that other herbivore species were unable to establish themselves

iii.Many different species of bats use a single watering hole, but each at different times

iv.Different species of butterfly have tongues of varying lengths, each specialized to the shape of the flowers produced by the plants it feeds on

v.Invasive species that out-compete native species for key resources often drive the native species to extinction

  1. How can species coexistence produce a stable point of equilibrium?
  1. Predation (+/-)
  2. List 2 distinguishing characteristics of each type of predation:

Characteristic 1

Characteristic 2

True predators




  1. How are herbivorous prey able to defend themselves?
  1. Mutualism (+/+)
  2. Under what conditions would natural selection favor mutualism between two species?
  1. True/false: In a mutualistic relationship, neither species evolves traits suited to helping the other
  1. Which of the following are mutualistic: (Lichens) (Viruses) (Coral) (Acacia trees) (African lions)
  1. Commensalism (+/0)
  2. True/false: In commensalism, both species benefit
  3. True/false: Most vines (epiphytes) are commensalistic with other trees
  1. Keystone Species
  2. How could an ecologist identify a keystone species in any given ecosystem?
  1. Why are sea stars and beavers considered to be keystone species in their habitats?
  1. Primary Succession (3 words or less – condense!)
  2. Which types of organisms transform bare rock in to young soil?
  3. Where do the mineral and organic components of the new soil come from?
  4. What role do mid-successional species such as grasses and wildflowers play in transforming soil?
  5. Why do mid-successional species eventually get displaced by late-succession species?
  6. True/false: the number of species present always increases as succession proceeds.
  1. Secondary Succession
  2. How does secondary succession differ from primary succession?
  3. What are some similarities between the progression of species in secondary succession and in primary succession?
  1. Why has the use of the term climax stage fallen out of favor among scientists?
  1. True/false: The Opening Story describes a sequence of primary succession
  2. True/false: In the Opening Story, Goldenrods are late-successional spcies
  1. Aquatic Succession
  2. Where does succession occur in the rocky intertidal zone of the Pacific Coast?
  1. Describe how lakes become filled in during aquatic succession:
  1. Species Richness, Latitude, Time, Theory of Island Biogeography

Influence of this factor on species richness?

What do you think causes this?



The older a habitat, the greater its species richness is likely to be; younger habitats have lower species richness

Habitat Size

Larger habitats present more niches; smaller habitats offer fewer resources

Distance from other habitats

  1. What does the story of the black-footed ferret illustrate? Why is it important?

Chapter 7 Vocabulary List





Crude Birth Rate (CBR)

Crude Death Rate (CDR)

Total Fertility Rate

Replacement-level fertility

Developed countries

Developing countries

Life expectancy

Infant mortality

Child mortality

Age structure diagram

Population pyramid

Population momentum

Demographic transition

Family planning


IPAT Equation

Urban area (census definition)

Gross domestic product


Chapter 7 Reading Questions

  1. What is underlying cause of the demographic transition that most countries go through as they develop?
  1. Complete the following chart regarding the demographic transition:

Stage I

Stage II

Stage III

Stage IV

What happens?


Impact on population?

  1. What major factors tend to reduce the number of children families have?
  1. Based on the experiences of Thailand, Kenya and China in promoting family planning, what do you think the key is to reducing population growth in developing countries? Is this goal beneficial or harmful?

Development, Consumption, IPAT

  1. How do the annual population growth rates of developed countries compare to developing countries?
  1. Where is most of the future growth in the human population expected to happen?
  1. Why does calculating the per-capita ecological footprint for a country allow us to approximate the affluence level of the society?
  1. What are the 3 terms in the IPAT equation that affect a society’s impact on its environment?

Give an example of how a change in each would cause a change in the society’s impact.

  1. How can the technology factor of the IPAT equation work to either increase OR decrease the impact of a society on the environment?
  1. As a country develops economically, its impact on the environment shifts from local to global scales. Using your knowledge of the industrial revolution, explain why this is.
  1. Contrast the types of environmental problems which occur from local environmental impacts (typically in developing countries) and global environmental impacts (typically from developed countries).
  1. How does the percentage of people living in urban areas in developed countries compare to developing countries? How is this expected to change in the next 20 years?
  1. We find that countries with very low GDPs per capita have little impact on the environment, then the impact rises as GDP increases, until eventually the impact begins to decrease. What causes this pattern (low impact→ rising impact →           falling impact)?
  1. Some environmental scientists have argued that increasing the GDP of developing nations is the best way to decrease their impact on the environment. Explain why this might work.
  1. The status and rights of women varies widely around the world; in some nations, they have surpassed men in educational attainment, while in other countries women remain second-class citizens or victims of violence and poverty. How do women’s rights and societal development interact? Consider demographics, economics, politics, and sustainability in your response.

Chapter 8 Vocabulary List






Hot spots

Tectonic plates


Divergent boundary

Convergent boundary

Transform boundary

Fault zones


Richter scale


Igneous rocks

Sedimentary rocks

Metamorphic rocks

Physical weathering

Chemical weathering




Parent material


O horizon

A horizon

E horizon

B horizon

C horizon

Soil texture

CEC of a soil

Base saturation

Soil degradation



Known reserves

Strip mining


Open-pit mining

Subsurface mining


Chapter 8 Reading Questions

  • Soil links the rock cycle to the biosphere.
  • The uneven distribution of mineral resources has social and environmental consequences. Working Towards Sustainability: Mine Reclamation and Biodiversity
  1. How is soil formed both “from above” and “from below”?
  1. What effect does climate have on soil formation? How would you expect this to create differences between Boreal Forests and Tropical Rain Forests?
  1. What role do organisms play in soil formation and development?
  1. Why do soils develop different horizons? What separates one horizon from another?
  1. Soils contain different blends of sand, silt and clay. Why is a balance needed between all 3 to promote ideal plant growth? (What would be bad about a sand-heavy or clay-heavy soil?)
  1. What type of soil particles would be best to line a pit that is to be filled with hazardous chemicals?
  1. What occurs during adsorption in a soil?
  1. Can soils have both high CEC and high porosity? Explain why or why not.
  1. How are the CEC of a soil and its base saturation related?
  1. What types of organisms dominate the biological component of soil?
  1. Why is compaction bad for soil?
  1. Which two elements make up approximately 75% of the Earth’s crust?
  1. What is the difference between an ore vein and a disseminated deposit? Which ones are easier to mine?
  1. What are the 3 techniques used for surface mining, and what are the environmental dangers of each?
  1. In general, why does the impact of extracting deposits of a certain mineral resource increase over time?
  1. What legal requirements did SMRA (the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977) introduce?
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