My discussion today will be to answer question 1 from Chapter 6 which reads as follows:
1. What are the major ways that people have altered biogeochemical cycles?
Biogeochemical cycles are defined by the Encyclopedia of Earth as pathways for the transport and transformation of matter within four categorical areas that make up planet Earth (biosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and the atmosphere)
According to Chapin (2011:401), “human activities have altered biogeochemical cycles at global scale in ways that change the functioning of Earth as an ecosystem. Human activities have dramatically altered element cycles since the beginning of the industrial revolution.”
M Moses et al., 2010 states that life on planet earth is inextricably connected to climate through a range of interacting cycles and feedback loops. In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the extent to which human activities, such as deforestation and fossil fuel burning, have directly or indirectly changed the biogeochemical and physical processes involved in determining the earth's climate. These changes in atmospheric processes can disturb a variety of ecosystem services that humans depend upon. Humans clearly disturb many, if not all biogeochemical cycles and in the process threaten many ecosystems. In recent years human activities have directly or indirectly affected the biogeochemical cycles that determine climatic conditions of earth.
The following summary is how human activities have contributed to disruption of biogeochemical cycles (M Moses et al., 2010):
Use of phosphorus fertilizers: Human influences on the phosphorus cycle come mainly from the introduction and use of commercial artificial fertilizers. Use of fertilizers mainly has affected the phosphorus and nitrogen cycles. Plants may not be able to use all of the phosphate fertilizer applied; as a consequence, much of it is lost from the land through the water run-off. The phosphate in the water is eventually...