Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Land Management Essay

Land Management Essay

Part One: Wapusk National Park
Wapusk National Park, located near Churchill Manitoba has been a designated park since April 24, 1996. ‘Wapusk’ is the Cree term for “white bear”. This national park became the 37th of the presently 41 national parks in Canada. Wapusk National Park is home to the largest polar bear denning area on earth. During peak season, up to 1,200 polar bears may occupy the park at one time. Polar bears consume large amounts of seals. More specifically, they enjoy the ringed seal and the bearded seal. For this reason, Polar bears spend much time on the coast. Furthermore, other arctic predators share the land with the polar bears such as the lynx, wolverine, as well as arctic and red fox. During the summer months the higher temperatures bring more southerly animals to the park such as migratory birds and smaller animals since food is found in abundance and polar bears fast during this season. Polar bears fast in the winter months due to their hunting method, they find seals by searching out their breathing holes in the ice packs, in the summer the ice retreats and thus the seals are inaccessible. Wapusk is approximately 11 475km² in area and is found in the Hudson plains ecozone.


The Purposes of A National Park: A View of Wapusk
Purpose 1: To protect representative natural area that are of Canada-wide significance.
Wapusk national park meets this purpose. Wapusk protects polar bears in their natural environment and allows for the wildlife and ecosystem surrounding the animals to occur naturally. (Figure 1-2.) Wapusk is surrounded by a highly monotonous area of flat landscape, the Wapusk area has been slowly rising by approximately 8 meters per century and thus it is of significance due to its dramatic ecological changes occurring and the fact that it does not fit in with the dull level countryside. It is important to protect area that stand out in Canadian geology.

Wapusk is almost entirely made up of wetlands, bogs, lakes, fens, streams and rivers. Most arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems have a remarkably small quantity of diversity of vegetation. However, Wapusk has a notably high level of diversity of plant species since it is on the edge of the boreal forest.

Lastly, Wapusk is of Canada-wide significance and is protected because of the high amounts of wildlife, which occupy the park. Primarily this wildlife includes, polar bears, lynx, wolverines, arctic and red fox, and many different migratory birds and small mammals.

Wapusk national park achieves the purpose of protecting a natural area of Canada-wide significance because it is inhabited by the largest polar bear population in the world, it is unique in the geological changes rapidly occurring and the diversity it has from its surrounding areas, and it is home to a huge variety of plant and animal species’.

Purpose 2: To provide for public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the natural environment
Wapusk National Park has a highly fierce environment. The temperatures in the summer months can drop from 30°C to 5°C in just 20 minutes. Blizzards have been known to appear in the last week of June and as early as mid-august. During the winter months the temperatures can be as low as –45°C, however with wind chill the temperature can achieve roughly –80°C. These weather patterns are cause to deter most visitors from experiencing the land of the white bear. Also, most areas of the park are very difficult to access due to the tundra, permafrost, and other natural barriers. However, five tour companies are authorized to provide for tourists. Because of the difficulty of access to Wapusk national park, tourism rates are substantially lower than many other national parks of similar caliber. When one does choose to visit Wapusk there is a detailed list of precautions, which must be taken to ensure safe tripping. It is highly recommended that an accredited tour guide be hired. However, if one does choose to reject the hiring of a guide, they must prove their capability of being able to conduct their trip in a safe fashion.

Based on the fact that tours are permitted and that there are audio-visual presentations available, in addition to small-scale tours such as short hikes in the safest areas of the park, it can be said that Wapusk national park meets the criteria of for understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the area.

Purpose 3: To maintain the parks in an unimpaired state for future generations
Wapusk national park is a very simple park in which to achieve this criterion. Due to the climate and the extensive permafrost and tundra, in addition to the high level of arctic predator population there is very little demand to bring in large tour groups or to build extensive infrastructures throughout. Wapusk has minimal building and development and for the most part is run by the animals and therefore it is mostly unimpaired and should be able to be maintained for future generations.

Furthermore, Wapusk is the core of a larger protected area, since the provincially managed Cape Churchill, and Cape Tatnam Wildlife Management Areas surround it. This core and buffer zone setup ensures that the ecological integrity of this section of the Hudson James Lowlands for the future.

Land Use Conflicts and Reasons for Degradation
As previously explained in regards to the environment in Wapusk national park, the climate is fierce and it is very difficult to get tours into Wapusk let alone building any infrastructures and such and thus there is no demand to build highways or other such developments through the park. However, there is a demand to conduct mining and other use of the land however due to the status of the area as a protected national park this is illegal. Therefore land us conflicts are an open and shut case with no need for debating as there are no requests to build hotels or other such building through the polar bears dens!

The land degradation occurring in Wapusk national park is primarily due to the natural occurrences of the earth. Degradation such as the tundra melting due to global warming has caused the polar bears to move their habitat more southerly and abandon defrosted regions, which wears away at the earth deeming it useless in some respects. Besides the natural wearing away with tundra and earth movements there is very little earth degradation in Wapusk national park.

Part Two: Amboseli National Park
Amboseli National Park is located near the southern boarder of Kenya (Figure 2-1). The highest peak in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, can be seen from almost anywhere in the park. Amboseli has very diverse wildlife habits, including the seasonal Lake Amboseli, sulfur springs surrounded by swamps and marshes, open planes, woodlands, and lava rock thorn bush.

Amboseli is an important area for both natural life and the culture of the Maasai indigenous people. The Amboseli region is home to many unique species of animals, including lions, cheetah, giraffes, zebras, buffalo, rhino, baboons, about 425 different species of birds, and is also known for it’s great elephant herds and the best chance for spotting black rhinos. The Maasai people have lived in the region of Amboseli for over 400 years.

History of Amboseli National Park
The beginnings of Amboseli National Park were established in 1906, as the Amboseli Game Reserve. This model of land conservation allowed the Maasai to use the area, and its goal was to protect wildlife from being depleted through hunting. The policy of the park was not to interfere with indigenous people or legitimate human development, and it managed to maintain a balance between the Maasai and wildlife until 1945, when the national park model was introduced.

In 1948, a traditional conservation approach was implemented, and the Amboseli Game Reserve became the Amboseli National Reserve. Following this, in the 1960’s and 70’s, the Maasai were placed in a difficult situation finding grazing land for their cattle, and problems with the pH level in the water of Lake Amboseli and swamps. This pushed the Kenyan government to give Amboseli complete national park status, and Amboseli National Park was created in 1977, leaving the Maasai to live on the boarders of the park.

The Purposes of a National Park: A View of Amboseli
Purpose 1: To provide representative natural areas that are of nation-wide significance.
Amboseli National Park certainly fulfils this purpose. The land within the boundaries of Amboseli is exceptionally diverse, and is home to 5 distinct habitats for animals. The animals themselves are of nation-wide significance, and the park was created for the protection of these animals. Many animals unique to Kenya live in Amboseli live in Kenya, like the elephant. As well, Amboseli is currently the best place to go to attempt to find the black rhinoceros.

Additionally, the land is also of national importance as it is extremely culturally important to the Maasai people.

Purpose 2: To provide for public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the natural environment.
Amboseli offers many different opportunities to learn about and experience Maasai culture. (Figure 2-2) A traveler going through Amboseli can see Maasai enkang, or manyatta (traditional housing) and speak to Maasai and learn about their cultures.
As well, in the park one can participate in the Elephant Research Project, where researchers give lectures.

Purpose 3: To maintain the parks in an unimpaired state for future generations.
The Amboseli National Park, so far, has done a fairly adiquate job of trying to keep the park in an unimpaired state. Much good has been done to help the ecosystem, for example, elephant and rhino numbers are rising because of reduced hunting, and zebra and wildebeest populations have risen because they have less competition with the Maasai domestic stock. Additionally, wildlife populations are moving in much more natural patterns.

While the park has done a good job in keeping the animal populations increasing, tourists are impairing the ecosystem itself. The park especially, harms the Maasai people. Exploitation of local tour guides, illegal photographs, the introduction of dangerous drugs, and other cultural violations all eventually lead to harming of the Maasai culture and way of life.

Land Use Conflicts and Causes of Degredation
A few of the land use conflicts that arise in Amboseli National Park revolve around water, Maasai rights, and effects of tourists on the ecosystem.

The Amboseli region is often very dry, and water is a limited resource. 80% of the park’s water sources are found near the centre of the park, and there is just enough water for both elephants (amoung other animals) and humans to co-exist. Maasai women and children have to walk 10-15 kilometers to find fresh water in the park, and this increased human presence in the park, coupled with human-elephant-livestock convergence at the watering points, creates tremendous tension resulting in occasional deadly conflicts as elephants have attacked when extremly thirsty. In addition, bring additional tourists to an already water-strained ecosystem can only lead to further land degridation.

Another land conflict issue arrises between the Maasai and the park. The Maasai lifestyle is dependant on their herds of cattle, sheep, and goats, and traditionally follows the same patterns as area wildlife. When the park was created, the Maasai were no longer allowed to use the land for their herds to graise. After an attempt to develop a 600 square kilometer Maasai Park failed, many Maasai returned to herding illegal in the national park.

A third land conflict is the impact of tourists on the park. As previously mentioned, the tourists themselves have had negative effects on the Maasai people. As well, because of its exceptionally dry climate, Amboseli has sufered more than any other park in terms of damage done by minibuses. For a good part of the year, Amboseli is basically a dust bowl, and quite often the minibuses or jeeps stray from the tracks and harm wildlife off the road.

Part 3: Compairing the Two
Can a popular national park fulfill all 3 purposes of a national park?
In short, no. A popular national park cannot possibly obtain all three purposes of a national park to a reasonable extent due to the following equations:
Providing understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment to the public for a popular national park = extensive use of land.

Extensive use of land = degradation of land and demand for infrastructure.
Degradation of land and demand for infrastructure ≠ an unimpaired state of the park for future generations.

Degradation of land and demand for infrastructure ≠ protection of land of Canada-wide significance.

As shown above, there is not possible way to co-ordinate the different purposes to the extent that popular national parks attempt to do. One becomes trapped in the loop and is unable to meet all objectives because of the high demands placed on a popular park.

Warning!!! All free online essays, sample essays and essay examples on Land Management topics are plagiarized and cannot be completely used in your school, college or university education.

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