Human-Environment Interactions in New Orleans

1963 WordsFeb 4, 20188 Pages
Human-Environment Interactions in New Orleans Introduction “There are natural hazards, but disasters are the result of human actions that put people and property in harm’s way” (Cigler 2007: 64). Throughout history New Orleans has been continuously altered by the presence of humans through the creation of levees and canals, the introduction of artificial irrigation systems, and through human induced processes that have ultimately accelerated the process of land degradation and erosion. While a natural hazard struck New Orleans in 2005, the disaster portion resulting from Hurricane Katrina was a result of human induced interactions throughout the history of New Orleans. History of Human-Environment Interactions in New Orleans The characteristic warming climate of the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene resulted in rising sea levels which contributed to the formation of the various deltas in the New Orleans area (Dunbar, Britsch, 2008). The natural formation of these deltas produced coastal wetlands that represent 30% of coastal wetlands currently in the United States (Cigler, 2007). In addition to these wetlands, the Mississippi River was surrounded by substantial forest growth (Pabis, 1998). This natural habitat quickly transformed with the settlement of the French in 1699 in the New Orleans area (Van Heerden, 2007). Although approximately 7 feet below sea level, New Orleans was quickly established and small scale agricultural events began taking
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