ENSC 162 Environmental Science

Task:

Part 1. Ecosystem Impacts of Wolf Reintroduction

Use the resources provided to explore the issue of wolf reintroduction at Yellowstone National Park. For this part of the lab, focus only on the impacts of the reintroduction on the natural environment. Pay particular attention to the effects of increasing wolf populations on elk, beavers, and tree species. 

Discussion Questions:

1.Compiling the information you found in the listed resources, summarize the changes in the Yellowstone ecosystem that can be associated with the reintroduction of wolves to the area. Make sure you include a comprehensive list of changes that scientists have found to be linked to the wolf population – i.e., don’t just discuss the impacts on elk – include other animal and plant species as well. 

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2.Draw an ecosystem web that graphically explains the interactions between these difference species. Indicate how the species populations change with respect to each other. 

3.Considering ONLY the impacts of the reintroduction on the natural ecosystem, do you feel that the reintroduction was a good decision? Why or why not?

Part 2. Human Impacts of Wolf Reintroduction

Use the resources provided to explore the issue of wolf reintroduction at Yellowstone National Park. For this part of the lab, focus only on the impacts of the reintroduction on the human environment. 

Discussion Questions:

1.How did the reintroduction of wolves and the resulting increase in the wolf population impact humans living in the Yellowstone area? Be thorough in your discussion.

2.Considering ONLY the impacts of the reintroduction on humans, do you feel that the reintroduction was a good decision? Why or why not?

Part 3. Choose a Side

Reflecting back on the information presented in the provided resources and your answers to the previous questions, write a brief position paper (2-3 paragraphs) that answers the following questions:

1.Considering the impacts on the ecosystem and humans, do you agree with the decision to reintroduce the wolf to Yellowstone National Park in the 1970s? 

2.What, if anything, do you think should be done now to address some of the impacts on humans? Explain and support your answer. Be sure to address how the ecosystem might change in response to these actions. 

3.How do you see this situation unfolding in the next few years? Decades? Centuries?

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