LOSING FERTILE LAND
Every year in many developing countries large areas of land that once produced food become completely unproductive, causing the residents of these areas to suffer. They have to move to other places or die of starvation. The problem is not caused by pollution; it is not the result of poisonous chemicals which contaminate the land. Pollution is not the only way to destroy the environment. U can also be destroyed by humans who disturb the ecological balance of an area in other ways.
In any area there is a balance in nature. Each part of the natural system depends on other parts. If one part is disturbed, then the balance of the system is disturbed and other parts begin to suffer. Today, many people all over the world are threatened with this problem. The lives of these people, as well as the lives of their children and grandchildren, are put in danger because of environmental destruction.
Let us look at the example in Nepal. A number of years ago, the population of Nepal began to increase, especially among the people who live in the small farms in the mountains. More food and fuel were necessary for the larger number of people, so the farmers in the mountains bought more animals. For fuel and animal food, they cut down more and more of the trees and plants which grew on the sides of the mountains.
These plants and trees served a very important purpose. They protected the hills from the weather. They held the top soil in place and prevented it from being pushed down the mountain sides by wind and rain.
Now without the protection of the trees and plants, the top soil is being washed away by heavy rain. The farmers are losing their land. More and more have to move to the lower areas of Nepal, which are already overpopulated and cannot support a large increase in population.
To solve problems like this one, it is important that people understand the consequences of their actions. It was not clear to the hill farmers of Nepal that they were responsible for the destruction of their own land.
Today environmental scientists are teaching the farmers about ecology: They are also showing them ways to protect their land with new trees and plants. Problems which are similar to the problem in Nepal exist in many countries around the world, but they can be solved.
Ecologists are proving to us that actions which supply short-term solutions to problems can have disastrous long-term consequences. By paying more attention to these scientists, governments can avoid making the same type of mistakes that were made in Nepal and in many other countries.
Deforestation and Soil Degradation
Space Planting – Trees For Grassland
How is soil made? – Weathering
Raindrop Impact Damage
1. Line 6, ‘If refers to
2. Lines 10-11, ‘many people … are threatened’ means they are
3. Line 25, ‘More and more’ refers to more and more .
4. Line 37, ‘these scientists’ refers to .
B. Mark the best choice.
1. Line 4, The problem’ refers to .
a) using poisonous chemicals b) the land in developing countries
c) productive land becoming unproductive d) the pollution contaminating the land
2. The main idea of the first paragraph is that .
a) many developing countries use poisonous chemicals b) the natural system consists of many parts
c) pollution contaminates the land in many countries d) the environment is destroyed when the balance in nature is upset
3. The second paragraph gives an example to show .
a) how an area of land can become unproductive b) why more food and fuel are necessary for hill farmers
c) how wind and rain carry away the top soil down the mountain sides d) why hill farmers cut down a lot of trees
4. Which of the following is not true according to the information in the last paragraph?
a) The job of environmental scientists involves solving ecological problems. b) If governments learn from the mistakes of the hill farmers of Nepal, they probably won’t have similar problems in their own countries.
c) Today the farmers in Nepal still do not know anything about ecology. d) Nepal is not the only country that suffers from problems caused by the disturbance of ecology.
C. Mark the statements as True (T) or False (F).
1. The hill farmers in Nepal cut down a lot of trees so that they could have more animal food and fuel.
2. If there are not enough plants and trees in hilly areas, wind and rain may take the top soil away.
3. Although the farmers of Nepal knew very well that they were destroying their land, they continued to cut down trees.
4. Short-term solutions to ecological problems always give satisfactory results.
1. According to the first two paragraphs, humans destroy the ecological balance in two ways. What are they?
2. What problem is there in the lower parts of Nepal?