Effect of Humans on Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorus Cycles, Essay Example

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Essay

Human beings play a particularly influential role in the facilitation of all the three environmental cycles like the carbon, nitrogen, and the phosphorus cycles. In all the three cycles, human beings play either a direct or an indirect role in ensuring that there is a conversion of the various gases from one state to another. This discussion illustrates how human beings are pivotal in the completion of the three fundamental environmental cycles.

The carbon cycle involves the conversion of the atmospheric carbon dioxide to carbon in matter. Humans play a role in the carbon cycle through respiration where they exhale carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, human being aid decomposition through burying down of organic plants and animals or the humans themselves decay to form humus that is full of carbon. Lastly, the burning of fossil fuels by humans also affects the carbon cycle. Therefore, man plays a critical role in the carbon cycle controls the plant population and other activities like decomposition (Smil, 2000).

The nitrogen cycle involves the conversion of the atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia and nitrates that are usable in the soil. Man plays a role through the decomposition process where during decomposition of the human body, there is also release of nitrates. Human activities like urination also play a role of introducing ammonia into the soil that plants will utilize (Camargo & Alonso, 2006).

The phosphorus cycle involves the flow of phosphorus from the rocks through the plants and food chain until it is back to the soil and rocks. Man plays a crucial role in the phosphorus cycle through the process of erosion and leaching. Man’s activities lead to increased erosion of phosphorus from the rocks. In addition, excretion, death and decay are also considerable ways that man plays a role in the phosphorus cycle as the humans release phosphorus to the soil through this means (Turner, 2003).

Reference

Camargo, J.A. & Alonso, A. (2006). Ecological and Toxicological Effects of Inorganic Nitrogen Pollution in Aquatic Ecosystems: A Global Assessment. Environ Int. Vol. 32(6):831-49

Smil, V (2000). Cycles of Life. New York: Scientific American Library

Turner, B.L. (2003). Organic Phosphorus in the Environment. New York: CABI Publishing

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