Managing Population Growth of Gamescape

 Managing Population Growth of Gamescape.

Resources: Gamescape Episode 2 and Ch. 4 and 7 of Visualizing Environmental Science

As president of the City Council, you have been invited by the Mayor to give a PowerPoint® presentation to Sparksville High School.

Develop a 7- to 10-slide Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation with speaker notes that explains the prairie dog land management issue. Include the following points:
Discuss some of the challenges of urbanization and environmental benefits. Explain how the prairie dog land management issues are related to the challenges of urbanization.
Explain the factors that influence population growth using prairie dogs as an example to illustrate your points. Briefly review how the natural environment is needed to support cities. Use the ecological role of prairie dogs and their benefit to land management and the city of Sparksville as an example.
Describe the different policies that the city explored to manage prairie dog population growth, and discuss how these policies are rooted in environmental science and population dynamics.
Discuss the final management decision, and explain how it balanced urban development with environmental sustainability. Include major challenges you faced in addressing this issue and reaching an optimal solution. Among the challenges, discuss how environmental hazards affect human population and if this impacted the decision with urban development.

Human Population and the Environment

Challenges of urbanization and environmental benefits

  • Environmental pollution
  • Inadequate housing
  • Waste management problems
  • Humanitarian crisis
  • Overburdening of public utilities


The challenges of urbanization can be seen in terms of environmental pollution, inadequate housing, and issues in waste management, humanitarian crisis and overburdening of public utilities. Environmental pollution occurs in terms of air and water pollution. Waste management has also become an issue in most urban centers. Humanitarian crisis is being seen in terms of response to disasters such as floods, earthquakes, and other catastrophic events. Public utilities are over utilized and there is also a growing shortage of houses in most urban centers (Hassenzahl, Hager, & Berg, 2013).

Environmental benefits

  • Higher productivity in urban centers
  • Higher efficiency in energy use
  • Urbanization improves standards of living

Urbanization improves productivity. Urban households are more productive compared to rural households. They also show a reduced ecological footprint since many people inhabit a smaller area. Urbanization creates efficiency in energy use. This is achieved because in urban settlements, there is high density thus reducing the average length of trips. Urbanization is associated with high standards of living as people can get better education, houses, healthcare and food (Raven, Hassenzahl, & Berg, 2011).

Prairie dog land management issue and urbanization

  • Loss of natural habitat due to urbanization
  • Human wildlife conflicts

Prairie dogs have lost their natural habitat due to urbanization. As human settlements expand, human wildlife conflicts arise.

Factors influencing population growth

  • Presence of predators
  • Food availability
  • Presence of parasites which causes diseases

Population growth is influenced by a number of factors. First, it is influenced by presence of predators. Prairie dogs are preyed on by hawks, raptors, foxes, and coyotes among others. When population of predators increases, the number of prairie dogs decreases. Availability of food also affects population growth. Due to loss of habitat, the numbers of prairie dogs have reduced. Parasites may cause diseases reducing the population of prairie dogs.

How the natural environment is needed to support cities

  • Natural environment acts as source of food and raw materials.
  • Natural beauty/aesthetic appeal.
  • The environment consist of ecosystems which support life.
  • Facilitates energy flow

The natural environment acts as a source of food, raw materials, and natural beauty. It consists of ecosystems which support life, as well as system in which energy flows from the sun into higher organisms. Black-tailed prairie dogs in particular are important in enhancing soil aeration. This leads to soil development and more plant growth. Plant growth in turn helps populations of herbivores such as cows in various ranches. This helps the city of Sparksville with supply of milk and beef.

Policies used to manage prairie dogs

  • Passive relocation
  • Relocation to alternative areas
  • Lethal control although rarely applied

Passive relocation is used to prevent prairie dogs from occupying a particular habitat. Practices used in this method may include irrigation of land, planting tall crops or tilling the soil. Lethal control has also been used in some areas. This involves use of poison to reduce the population of prairie dogs. Relocation to alternative areas has also been used to control their population. In population dynamics, migration has the effect of reducing the population.

Balancing urban development with environmental sustainability

  • Protection of prairie dog species
  • Reduce human wildlife conflict
  • Relocation of prairie dogs to an Open Space System.
  • Moving prairie dogs to Habitat Conservation Areas.

The final management decision was to protect prairie dog species while at the same time reducing human wildlife conflict. The decision was thus made to relocate prairie dogs to natural land which was in the open space system. Prairie dogs have also been moved in Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs) where they are closely monitored.

Challenges in addressing the issue

  • Relocation of prairie dogs into an area wit a history of a plague.
  • Challenges involving human wildlife conflicts

There were challenges while addressing the issue. Key challenge concerned the relocation of prairie dogs to an area with a history of plague, a bacterial which greatly reduced prairie dog populations. There are also challenges involving human-wildlife conflicts.

Effect of environmental hazards on human population

  • Environmental hazards may cause diseases
  • Higher death rates
  • Cases of poisoning

Environmental hazards may cause diseases in human beings, resulting to death and decline in population. This impacted the decision to relocate the prairie dogs to far off areas.


Hassenzahl, D. M., Hager, M. C., & Berg, L. R. (2013). Visualizing environmental science.
Raven, P., Hassenzahl, D., & Berg, L. (2011). Environment, 8th Edition. John Wiley & Sons.