Impact of temperature on belowground soil decomposition

It depends upon what grading scale we are using when comparing whether or not one society is better than another. Is it technological advancement we are comparing? Is it health and longevity we are comparing? Or, is it the least environmental impact we are comparing? Hunter-gatherer societies definitely lived the most minimally. Since they were constantly on the move, they did not settle anywhere long enough to develop some type of long-lasting effect. They were the least technologically advanced and the longevity was short because of danger from wild animals and disease. The hunter-gatherer on the other hand was definitely the least imposing on the environment with a little to none footprint. Most due to the fact they didn’t use non-renewable resources or technology.

The agricultural society was more technologically advanced than hunter-gatherers by developing methods of farming. They gained continuity by remaining in one place, learning how to live off of the land over-and-over again. The agricultural society lived a healthy life by eating what they grew, most definitely healthier than today’s poison we are eating.

The switch to the urban society is a huge change from the hunter-gatherer and agricultural societies. Society changed to a service focused lifestyle. The technology we have today is far more advanced than the previous two. Some can argue that our health is worse off than before due to the poisoning food and pollution, but our longevity is higher because of the rise of modern medicine.

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It’s hard to determine which society is better and whether or not the changes were good. Each society had advantages over the other.

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It was good in someways and bad. Most of our history we supported ourselves by hunting and gathering; we hunted wild animals and foraged for wild plants. Since no food is grown and little is stored, there’s a struggle that starts anew each day to find wild foods and avoid starving. Change started taking place when in different parts of the world people began to domesticate plants and animals. The agricultural revolution spread. Hunter-gatherers enjoyed a varied diet, while early farmers obtained most of their food from one or a few starchy crops. The farmers gained cheap calories at the cost of poor nutrition. Dependence on a limited number of crops, farmers ran the risk of starvation if one crop failed. Agriculture encouraged people to come together in crowded societies, many of which then carried on trade with other crowded societies, led to the spread of parasites and infectious disease. Epidemics couldn’t take hold when populations were scattered in small bands that constantly changed camp. Besides malnutrition, starvation, and epidemic diseases, farming helped bring another downside to humanity, deep class divisions. Hunter-gatherers have little or no stored food, and no concentrated food sources. Only in a farming population could a healthy, non producing elite set itself above the disease ridden masses. Hunter-gatherers practiced the most successful and longest lasting life style in human history. We’re still struggling with the mess into which agriculture has led us into. Urban societies have grown from people leaving the farms to going into the cities to work. Which raises the population growth which raises the level of consumption.

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Topic: Impact of temperature on belowground soil decomposition


This current event is based on how earth’s soils store four times more carbon than the atmosphere and  how small changes in soil carbon storage can have a big effect on atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations


The effects of warming on soil carbon storage are poorly quantified because it is difficult to assess how temperature change impacts processes below the soil surface. However, the temperature gradient used in this study provides an ideal study system for measuring ecosystem responses to warming over long periods of time. While soil carbon storage and turnover was insensitive to warming, the decomposition of coarse wood and plant growth did increase, which means that the capacity of tropical ecosystems to retain carbon will depend on the balance of changes within each ecosystem. Climate warming will continue with the addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere due to human activities such as fossil fuel combustion, and  land-use clearing.


USDA Forest Service – Pacific Southwest Research Station. “Impact of temperature on belowground soil decomposition.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2014.

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