360° Coverage : Human impact on Great Lakes mapped

Human impact on Great Lakes mapped

Washington, Dec 19 (IANS) A comprehensive map shows that how human activities have degraded the North America's Great Lakes that hold 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

Dec 19 2012, 4:53am CST | by

Human impact on Great Lakes mapped
Photo Credit: AFP, Getty Images

Washington, Dec 19 — A comprehensive map shows that how human activities have degraded the North America's Great Lakes that hold 20 percent of the world's fresh water.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and colleagues took three years to produce the most comprehensive map of the Great Lakes, highlighting stressors and the ecological importance of the five lakes located on the Canada-US border.

"Despite clear societal dependence on the Great Lakes, their condition continues to be degraded by numerous environmental stressors," said David Allan, professor of aquatic sciences at the Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, who led the study.

The map gives authorities an unprecedented scientific foundation upon which to sustainably manage the Great Lakes, the researchers said, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports.

The map represents the combined influence of nearly three dozen individual stressors and is incredibly detailed for a region spanning nearly 900 miles, showing impacts at the scale of half a mile, according to a Michigan statement.

Thirty-four stressors were examined, including coastal development, pollutants transported by rivers from agricultural and urban lands, fishing pressure, climate change, invasive species and toxic chemicals.

The environmental stress map was developed by a bi-national team of researchers from academia and environmental organisations known as the Great Lakes Environmental Assessment and Mapping (GLEAM) project.

The team drew upon the latest and best data from federal and state agencies as well as non-governmental organisations and individual researchers.

It surveyed 161 researchers and natural resource managers from across the basin. Combining the mapping of multiple stressors with their ranking by experts to assess ecosystem health is an emerging new approach.

"Current efforts to conserve, manage and restore the Great Lakes often take a piecemeal approach, targeting threats one by one," Allan said.

"We need to recognize that the Great Lakes are affected by multiple environmental stressors, and devise strategies based on a full reckoning."

IANS

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/8" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi is the founding Chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at ml@i4u.com. Luigi posts regularly on LuigiMe.com about his experience running I4U.

 

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