Monday, February 17, 2014

Global Consequences of Land Use

Global Consequences of Land Use 

Foley, Jonathan. Global Consequences of Land Use. Science 309. AAAS. 2005.  

As an environmental study major, one thing I love to talk about is how we are using resources faster than they can replenish themselves! This article talked about finding a way to use GIS in relation to land use and how to become sustainable, but still meet our current needs. 

The article stresses how humans are changing the landscape of the planet in vast and quick rates. We are urbanizing, farming, mining, clearing trees and doing numerous other activities that are harming biodiversity. Not only are we changing the surface of the Earth, but we are also changing the atmospheric composition. Most people are familiar with climate change.

The problem is that most of our "land use practices are essential for humanity", but unfortunately unsustainable. Policies need to be put in place to protect the Earth and its biodiversity which we treat like it's replaceable, but at this rate, the human race will not survive long term. These researchers were able to use GIS to map out how land is used to get a better idea of what we will have to work with on a large scale.

The yellow is Pastures and Range-lands 
The red is Crop Land 
The multi colored is Natural Vegetation  

I chose this article because it is an issue close to my heart and it gave me hope that GIS users are paying attention to this issue since so much can be done by using it. This map will help environmentalists evaluate the amount of land we are using and what it is going towards. This is another step toward a sustainable world and I was exciting to see it!  

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