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All Things Considered


 

After you have cut the center out of your clipboard, hold the paper up against your computer monitor and slide it slowly over the pictures (wait until they load up on this page).  Notice that you are only able to see small portions of large interconnected ecosystems of life (and most certainly a very small sampling of the vast and uncountable life forms on our planet).  Next, see below...

 
 
 

Now stop on the red Cardinal or the Eagle picture.  

If you were asked to investigate why a bird species (such as this Cardinal or Eagle) was declining, you would have to look into a great many factors that might be causing the problem.  Most likely, you would not be able to gather enough information by just examining the bird itself, such as you see through your clipboard opening.  You would have to conduct scientific studies of everything that could have had an effect on that species.  For example, you would need to:  
  Examine the birds for disease or toxic poisoning, and check their stomach contents to see what they had been eating.
  Examine both adults and young birds, and check to see if their beaks were forming abnormally or were weak, causing eating problems.
  Examine birds' habitat or migratory route and whether there were any disruptive factors involved.  This could involve great distances in your study area.
  Investigate the health of plants, trees and waterways the birds might have encountered.
  Take measurements of the acidity in rainfall in bird habitat areas.
  Investigate the health and abundance of the birds favorite food supplies and whether enough food was available during all seasons of the year.
  Get a count of numbers of predators of that bird species and see if there were increased numbers.
  Study the shells of the birds' eggs to see if their young weren't able to hatch properly.
  Get a count of new offspring and survival rates.
  Evaluate human impact factors which may have affected the species (such as urban sprawl, development, interruption or destruction of habitat that the birds were dependent upon, pesticides/herbicides that might be involved, etc.)
 
Among the above pictures of natural ecosystems and animals
in their native habitat are some photos of human related activities. 
Did you notice the following?:

Crop duster airplane spraying pesticides over fields
Construction of new freeway and roads, severely fragmenting the open space
Heavy industry with tall smokestacks
Smoggy big city on edge of harbor or waterway
Curved raised causeway over water with city in distance
Suburban single-family housing development with hundreds of new homes
Heavy traffic and cars as far as the eye can see
Factory at water's edge emitting large amounts of toxic smoke

You can see that many things must be studied, and many statistics gathered in a scientific manner in order to evaluate an environmental question properly.  You can't just study one small part without taking into account All Things Considered.  That is good science - that is good ecology.
 

Environmental Impact Studies Project

When a project is proposed which will affect the environment, laws state that studies be conducted to evaluate the impact that the project will have on land, water, air, plants, animals, humans, and the total environment and balance of nature.  These laws are in place for the protection of the environment and species.

The reports generated from these studies are called Environmental Impact Reports (EIR) and Environmental Impact Statements (EIS)  In some cases, it is concluded there will be little to no harmful effects, and the project will be approved.  In other cases where they conclude some harm will come from the project, recommendations will be made to mitigate (soften and make less severe) the harmful aspects of the project so that less damage will occur, or agreement will be reached to correct the damage that will occur because of the project.  In other cases, projects will not be allowed to go forward because the scientific studies have shown that species and/or the environment will be endangered from the project.

* * *

Would you like to investigate some examples of proposed projects that are in the planning and permit stages which will affect land, water and biodiversity of species? 
Click here and see what recommendations you can come up with for Environmental Impact Reports for these projects.  And remember - all things must be considered.
 


 

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