AP Human Geography : Environmental Impacts of Population Change

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Human Geography

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Environmental Impacts Of Population Change

Overpopulation occurs when a region has exceeded its __________.

Possible Answers:

carrying capacity

exponential growth

arithmetic density

agricultural function

involuntary migration

Correct answer:

carrying capacity

Explanation:

Overpopulation, as a defined term, generally occurs when a region has exceeded its “carrying capacity.” The “carrying capacity” of a region refers to number of people a region can reasonably support and sustain. When a region has a greater demand for water and food than it can support it is said to be overpopulated.

Example Question #2 : Environmental Impacts Of Population Change

If an isolated area of the Amazon rainforest has enough food to support four thousand people, enough water to support three thousand people, and enough shelter to support seven thousand people; what is the carrying capacity of this area?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The “carrying capacity” of an area refers to the maximum number of people a particular area can sustain (keep alive). If this particular isolated area has enough food to support four thousand people, enough water to support three thousand, and enough shelter to support seven thousand we must consider only the lowest number. If there is only enough water to support three thousand people than this is the “carrying capacity” of the area.

Example Question #3 : Environmental Impacts Of Population Change

Over time ecumene has __________.

Possible Answers:

increased significantly

increased slightly

decreased significantly

decreased slightly

stayed roughly the same

Correct answer:

increased significantly

Explanation:

The geographic term “ecumene” refers to the proportion of the Earth’s land that is permanently inhabited by human beings. Over time ecumene has increased slightly. This has been caused by a number of factors, but the two most significant are - overpopulation which causes some people to seek new areas for inhabitation and technological innovation that opens up new parts of the world to human inhabitance.

Example Question #51 : Population Growth & Decline

The idea of “cultural landscapes” is most closely attributed to __________.

Possible Answers:

Thomas Malthus

Douglas Coupland

Carl Sauer

Friedrich Engels

George Perkins Marsh

Correct answer:

Carl Sauer

Explanation:

The idea of “cultural landscapes” is most closely associated with the twentieth century environmental geographer Carl Sauer. Sauer argued that all geographic regions, even those which might appear to be unaffected by mankind’s influence, have been impacted by the growth of the human population. His work was important for spreading the significance of environmental studies in the field of geography.

Example Question #4 : Environmental Impacts Of Population Change

George Perkins Marsh used the deteriorating condition of which geographic region to support his thesis that mankind has a destructive impact on the environment?

Possible Answers:

The Amazon River Basin

The Fertile Crescent

The Nile River Valley

The Rhineland

The Great Plains of the United States

Correct answer:

The Fertile Crescent

Explanation:

The Fertile Crescent is a region of land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in the Middle East (much of modern day Iraq, Syria, and Jordan). It is often referred to as the “cradle of civilization” because it was in these fertile floodplains that the first agricultural communities and later civilizations began to appear. In the thousands of years since then, however, the region (according to Marsh) has been ruined by overuse by mankind. What was once a fecund floodplain is now mostly an arid desert. Marsh uses the example of the Fertile Crescent to support his theory that mankind negatively impacts the environment, especially as population grows.

Example Question #53 : Population Growth & Decline

The “carrying capacity” of an area refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

the maximum amount of goods that one area can produce as surplus to trade with another area

the percentage of people who emigrate away from an area during their lifetimes

the minimum amount of fuel and energy required to power a given area

the percentage of people who live in an area who were not born in that area

the maximum number of people who can be sustained by the geography of that area

Correct answer:

the maximum number of people who can be sustained by the geography of that area

Explanation:

The “carrying capacity” of an area refers to the maximum number of people who can be realistically sustained by the geography of that area. This number can be affected by access to food, water, shelter, and other significant factors. The “carrying capacity” can often be quite difficult to compute and is extremely fluid and changeable. This is because most “areas” do not solely sustain themselves (think of how it is common for people in the United States to buy mangoes grown in South Asia), but rather exchange sustaining goods with other “areas.”

Example Question #54 : Population Growth & Decline

George Perkins Marsh is remembered for his seminal nineteenth century work on __________.

Possible Answers:

the mutually beneficial relationship mankind has with the environment

None of these answers is correct

the extent to which social patterns of behavior are informed by environmental and geographic phenomena

the destructive influence mankind has on the environment

the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels

Correct answer:

the destructive influence mankind has on the environment

Explanation:

George Perkins Marsh is one of the most well-regarded geographers and environmentalists of the nineteenth century. In his seminal work Man and Nature (1864), Perkins argued that mankind has a destructive influence on the condition of the environment. His ideas were initially on the fringe of accepted geographic theory, but over the years Marsh has come to be revered as a visionary.

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