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Module Three - Mountain Biome.doc

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Environmental Studies
Rob Milne

Module Three: Mountain Biomes Tourism Impacts  Natural Resources o Water Resources  Water, and especially fresh water, is one of the most critical natural resources. The tourism industry generally overuses water resources for hotels, swimming pools, golf courses and personal use of water by tourists. o Local Resources  Tourism can create great pressure on local resources like energy, food, and other raw materials that may already be in short supply. o Land Degradation  Important land resources include minerals, fossil fuels, fertile soil, forests, wetland and wildlife. Increased construction of tourism and recreational facilities has increased the pressure on these resources and on scenic landscapes.  Pollution o Transport by air, road, and rail is continuously increasing in response to the rising number of tourists and their greater mobility. o In areas with high concentrations of tourist activities and appealing natural attractions, waste disposal is a serious problem and improper disposal can be a major despoiler of the natural environment - rivers, scenic areas, and roadsides. o Construction of hotels, recreation and other facilities often leads to increased sewage pollution. Wastewater has polluted seas and lakes surrounding tourist attractions, damaging the flora and fauna.  Physical Impacts o The development of tourism facilities such as accommodation, water supplies, restaurants and recreation facilities can involve sand mining, beach and sand dune erosion, soil erosion and extensive paving. In addition, road and airport construction can lead to land degradation and loss of wildlife habitats and deterioration of scenery. o Construction of ski resort accommodation and facilities frequently requires clearing forested land. Coastal wetlands are often drained and filled due to lack of more suitable sites for construction of tourism facilities and infrastructure. o Development of marinas and breakwaters can cause changes in currents and coastlines. Furthermore, extraction of building materials such as sand affects coral reefs, mangroves, and hinterland forests, leading to erosion and destruction of habitats. Long Term Impacts of Tourism  Biological Diversity • Biological diversity is the term given to the variety of life on Earth and the natural patterns it forms • It threatens our food supplies, opportunities for recreation and tourism, and sources of wood, medicines and energy. • It interferes with essential ecological functions such as species balance, soil formation, and greenhouse gas absorption. • It reduces the productivity of ecosystems, thereby shrinking nature's basket of goods and services, from which we constantly draw.  Ozone Layer • The ozone layer, which is situated in the upper atmosphere (or stratosphere) at an altitude of 12-50 kilometers, protects life on earth by absorbing the harmful wavelengths of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which in high doses is dangerous to humans and animals.  Climate Change • Climate scientists now generally agree that the Earth's surface temperatures have risen steadily in recent years because of an increase in the so-called greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which trap heat from the sun. One of the most significant of these gases is carbon dioxide (CO2), which is generated when fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas are burned (e.g. in industry, electricity generation, and automobiles) and when there are chan
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