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University of Toronto Mississauga
Nicole Myers

ENV100Y5Y Assignment #3 CARBON CYCLING IN THE TERRESTRIAL ECOSPHERE Due before 5:00 p.m. on Friday, February 18, 2011. Purpose This assignment will give you the opportunity to interpret graphs and carry out some simple calculations based on environmental data, then draw conclusions on the basis of those calculations. We will be using an exercise like this in the new edition of the textbook, Environment: The Science Behind the Stories, and I will be happy to have your reactions to the assignment. (In the book it will not include multiple-choice questions, rather written-answer questions for those sections, but we need to use multiple-choice for ease of submission to Blackboard.) General Instructions Please download and work through the assignment ―offline‖ – it should take you about 20 minutes. If you need help, please consult with Varun during his office hours or make a special appointment to meet with him. Then, when you are ready, submit your answers in the Assignment #3 folder on our course Blackboard site. You will be able to save your work and return to it on Blackboard, but please don’t hit ―Submit‖ until you are ready, as we won’t be allowing multiple submissions (it makes the marking much more complicated). Interpreting Graphs and Data Dr. Henry Janzen is a soil scientist at the Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta, and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Manitoba. He is an expert on carbon cycling and the emission of greenhouse gases from soils, and he carries out research on the effects of different management approaches on carbon storage in agricultural soils. In a 2004 paper in the journal Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, Dr. Janzen summarized many of the main scientific questions concerning carbon storage in terrestrial reservoirs. One concern outlined in Dr. Janzen’s study was the impact of land-use changes on carbon storage in terrestrial reservoirs. The following figure from the paper summarizes major land-use changes since 1700: This graph shows the change in terrestrial area for three groups of major biome types, and the increase in area of pasture and croplands since 1700. Figure 2 from Janzen, H.H. (2004), Carbon cycling in earth systems—a soil science perspective. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 104, 399-417, plotted from values in Goldewijk, K.K. (2001), Estimating global land use change over the past 300 years: the HYDE database. Global Biogeochem. Cycles 15 (2), 417-433. Questions: The first three questions are based on the graph shown above. For all questions, please consider pasture and cropland combined. 1. On the basis of the graph, which of the natural biome types (forest/woodland, steppe/savannah/grassland/shrubland, or tundra/desert) or managed ecosystems (pasture/cropland) increased the most, in terms of percentage increase, from 1700 to 1990? 2. Which one of the biomes or managed ecosystems decreased the most, in terms of percentage decrease? 3. What happened to the area covered by tundra/desert over the time period represented on the graph? The table below presents some information ab
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