AP Environmental Science : Human Impact on Ecological Change

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Which of the following is not a risk management strategy?

Possible Answers:

conservative method

rational method

hierarchical method

sectarian method

market-based method

Correct answer:

conservative method

Explanation:

Market-based, hierarchical, sectarian, and rational methods are all risk management strategies. Conservative method is not a risk management strategy.

Example Question #2 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Clear-cutting has become industry practice for harvesting timber; however, some forests evolved to regenerate after forest fires and have adapted to massive clearings of habitat. Which of the following is a problem that these forests might encounter when faced with clear-cutting?

Possible Answers:

The soil is exhausted from a clear-cut, whereas it is replenished in a forest fire, making succession more difficult. 

Only pioneer species will grow after a clear-cut. 

Small mammals that feed on pine cones will not be killed of in a clear-cut as opposed to a forest fire, making regeneration of stands more difficult. 

Even forest fires leave some live stands to produce seeds for future stands. 

Many fire-adapted conifers have seeds that will not germinate unless exposed to high temperatures, which does not occur in clear-cutting. 

Correct answer:

Many fire-adapted conifers have seeds that will not germinate unless exposed to high temperatures, which does not occur in clear-cutting. 

Explanation:

Many Rocky Mountain and Western conifer species are adapted to germinate only after being exposed to temperatures typical of a wildfire. Pioneer species and shrubs typically have no problem generating after a clear-cut, but often foresters have to plant pine saplings in a clear-cut area, because remaining seeds will not germinate.

Example Question #3 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

While human activities are reducing the extent of many biomes, which of the following biomes is actually being spread as a result of human impact?

Possible Answers:

Temperate deciduous forests

Grasslands

Savanna

Rain forests

Deserts

Correct answer:

Deserts

Explanation:

Although human activites are reducing the extent of many biomes, they are causing the spread of deserts, a process called desertification. Rain forests are being felled for lumber or burned down for ranching or agriculture. Africa's rapidly expanding human population threatens the wildlife of the savanna. The tallgrass prairie has been converted to agricutural land. Clearing for lumber, agriculture, and housing has dramatically reduced America's deciduous forests.

Example Question #4 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Which of the following is a result of the process of composting?

Possible Answers:

Lower-grade plastic products

Lower-grade paper products

Nutrient-rich soil conditioner

High-grade manure

Materials used for construction

Correct answer:

Nutrient-rich soil conditioner

Explanation:

Composting is a process in which purely organic waste is converted into a rich soil conditioner commonly known as 'compost'. The process usually begins with household food and plant scraps, which are broken down over time and added to soil to fertilize the soil and help it retain moisture.

Example Question #1 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Which of the following terms is not a major threat to global biodiversity?

Possible Answers:

Habitat degradation

Habitat fragmentation

Agricultural expansion

Habitat connectivity

Invasive species

Correct answer:

Habitat connectivity

Explanation:

"Habitat connectivity" is the only term that describes something positive that increases the quality of biodiversity. It is defined as the degree to which landscape facilitates movement and ecological flows important for the survival of other species. Every other term describes things that decrease habitat and negatively impact biodiversity.

Example Question #1 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Humans can greatly alter ecosystem functions and processes. Excessive nitrogen pollution from humans has transformed many aquatic ecosystems from nutrient poor to nutrient rich environments. This is an example of which of the following processes?

Possible Answers:

All of these?

Bioaccumulation

Fragmentation

Biomagnification

Eutrophication

Correct answer:

Eutrophication

Explanation:

The correct response is "eutrophication." It is the only term that is specific to aquatic systems and the input of excess nutrients by way of pollution. The terms "bioaccumulation" and "biomagnification" describe how substances such as toxins accumulate within organisms and trophic levels—not an aquatic ecosystem. Last, "fragmentation" has nothing to do with the question because it refers to when habitats are parceled apart due to human activities.

Example Question #7 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Disturbances are normal processes that help maintain biodiversity and healthy ecosystem because they create which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Artificial landscapes

Uniform landscapes

Heterogeneous landscapes

Divergent landscapoes

Homogeneous landscapes

Correct answer:

Heterogeneous landscapes

Explanation:

The correct response is “heterogeneous landscapes.” This is the only answer choice that describes landscapes with different types of habitats. Different types of habitat are necessary to maintain biodiversity. "Uniform" and "Homogeneous" describe landscapes that are very similar. "Artificial Landscape" does not arise from a natural process. 

Example Question #3 : Human Impact On Ecological Change

Which following field(s) of study is/are related to environmental science?

Possible Answers:

Political science

Earth sciences

Biology

Economics

All of these

Correct answer:

All of these

Explanation:

Environmental science integrates information from several fields. These fields include the natural and physical sciences such as biology, chemistry, and geology; but social science and humanity fields are important to the study of the environment. These fields include political science, economics, and ethics. Environmental science studies organisms, including humans, and their environment as well as their affect on the environment.

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