Glacial Management: Economic Activities

Glaciated areas are not only awe-inspiring landscapes but also serve as important economic hubs. Let’s look at the ways that glaciated areas can be valuable for people, and the difficulties they might face when using this land.

Glaciated lands have low temperatures, poor soil, steep slopes and heavy rainfall. These conditions are challenging and create problems for those looking to make money from the land. 

Farming in Glaciated Areas

The soil in regions with glaciers tends not to be very fertile, making it very challenging to grow crops on the steep slopes found here. Instead, many farmers choose to raise sheep, which can easily live on slopes and withstand cold temperatures. Cows can also be raised, usually in the valley areas where the ground is flatter.

Grass grows well in these regions, providing an ideal food source for the livestock. However, to create grazing areas, farmers need to clear away the native plants and trees, which unfortunately increases the rate of soil erosion. This type of farming is hard to sustain both financially and physically for many farmers.

Water Management in Glaciated Areas

Glaciers act as natural reservoirs, storing water from snow and ice melt. Dams are constructed to harness and manage this water resource effectively.

Hydroelectric power stations harness the energy from flowing water in glacier-fed rivers to produce electricity. This method of power generation is renewable and does not release greenhouse gases.

Water management schemes ensure a stable water supply for both agricultural and domestic use.

However, some people are against using the natural environment for generating electricity. Critics point out the environmental impacts and in some cases, villages may be relocated or impacted.

Forestry in Glaciated Areas

In areas where glaciers are found, you often see dense forests rich with timber and other resources. Logging companies are drawn to these areas due to the potential for high profits from cutting down the trees. However, this activity can destroy animal habitats and popular natural tourist sites, which are significant sources of revenue and cultural value

To protect these forests, many are adopting sustainable forestry methods. These include selective logging and replanting trees, especially focusing on coniferous forests. These forests are chosen because they grow back quickly and contain fewer species, making them economically attractive.

Quarrying in Glaciated Areas

Glaciers transport hard, resistant rocks and minerals, leaving behind valuable deposits. Quarrying operations extract these deposits for construction materials like sand, gravel and limestone.

Sustainable quarrying practices involve restoring habitats after extraction to reduce the environmental impact.

Quarrying is carried out in these areas specifically because they often have a smaller population, due to the harsh environmental conditions. This means there are fewer individuals affected by noise and transportation issues linked to quarrying.

Tourism in Glaciated Areas – Responsible Tourism

Glaciated areas attract tourists from around the world due to their natural beauty and recreational opportunities. Responsible tourism practices aim to minimise negative impacts on the environment and local communities.

Educational programs encourage visitors to respect the natural surroundings, follow the marked paths and avoid littering. Local communities benefit from tourism through employment opportunities and the promotion and celebration of their cultural heritage.