His wastes are then returned to the biological and abiotic systems of the earth. However, it is part of his cultural development that he reacts on the environment more widely and more strongly than any other species. Man being a dominant organism of most ecosystems, controls and modifies environments more extensively than any other organism.
In fact, there have been significant changes in the natural environments due to man’s intervention and his rapid progress in colonization, urbanization, industrialization, agriculture, mining, transportation and technology. Thus, deforestation has provided land for agriculture and rural inhabitation, rural land has been converted into urban settlements and open spaces are fast vanishing. The mass-scale destruction of flora and fauna has become detrimental to ecological balance (Bhargava, 1978). Many environments throughout the world have been rendered barren and inhospitable by excessive pressures from the axes, plows, hoofed animals and military machines of man. The pioneer civilizations altered their own biotic and physical environments and displayed man’s ability to trigger ecological changes leading to his downfall. Despite man’s awareness to his ecological malpractices, still in many tropical lands deforestation is occurring at increasing rates and the people believe that their forests are unlimited. In India, deforestation, overgrazing and hydroelectric power development schemes are invading the new national parks and forest reserves which still exist.
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In the Himalaya Mountains, the landscape is being carved within an inch of its life to support a burgeoning human population. In Africa and Latin America, slash and burn agriculture is encroaching upon natural areas which have existed in ecological balance for thousands of years (Southwick, 1976). Quite ridiculously, much of this environmental destruction is done in the name of economic development. The pressures of increasing populations place a great burden than ever on the finite blanket of life that covers this earth.
That blanket is getting torn and shredded in thousands of places. Like a wound or burn on the skin, its ability to heal depends upon the extent of the lesion and the health of the surrounding tissue. If man remains unaware, a point can be reached in future, where the healing capacity may be lost.
Apparently, due to his numerous ecological malpractices and short sighted and greedy exploitation of different ecological resources such as air, water, space, minerals, vegetation, etc., modern human civilization has to face many serious ecological problems such as land use, pollution, energy crisis, flooding, erosion, pesticide contamination, radioisotope accumulation, rural and urban blight, population growth, urbanization, crowding, group conflict, and infectious diseases. If some ecologically sound measures are not applied to human utilization of his environment, there may arise several uncontrollable ecological hazards which may become responsible for the extermination, extinction and devastation of human race from the planet earth.
Many applied ecologists have shown that ecology may play a significant role in the human welfare. They have suggested following measures by which man may use his environment and its resources fully and without disturbing naturally occurring ecological processes.