AP Environmental Science Practice Test: Land & Water Use

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Question 1
Which of the following is the most efficient method of irrigation?

A
Drip
B
Flood
C
Spray
D
Furrow
E
Hydroponic
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Drip irrigation is the most efficient form of irrigation because it utilizes a slowly dripping hose that is either laid on the ground or buried beneath the soil. It allows plants to absorb at a steady pace, rather than all at once, as in flood or furrow irrigation. The constant drip enables plants to maximize their water uptake, which leads to optimal growth.
Question 2
Deforestation can lead to:

A
Adverse soil erosion
B
Desertification
C
Extinction
D
Changes to climatic conditions
E
All of the above
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). Deforestation is the removal of a forest in order to convert the area to non-forest use such as farmland or urban use. The elimination of a forest has several negative consequences including adverse soil erosion, desertification, extinction, and changes to climatic conditions. Soil erosion results from the absence of tree roots, which serve to maintain the soil’s integrity. Desertification and changes to climatic conditions both result from the ground’s increased exposure to the sun, and the lack of plant life contributing to the carbon cycle. As many animals rely upon the forest habitat to survive, the loss of the forest inevitably results in possible extinctions.
Question 3
A pesticide treadmill is

A
A pesticide that targets a narrow range of organisms.
B
A pesticide that remains in the environment for a long time.
C
A cycle of pesticide development, followed by pest resistance, followed by new pesticide development.
D
A pesticide that breaks down rapidly, usually in weeks or months.
E
A trait possessed by certain individuals that are exposed to a pesticide and survive.
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). A pesticide treadmill is a cycle of pesticide development, followed by pest resistance, followed by new pesticide development. A selective pesticide is a pesticide that targets a narrow range of organisms. A persistent pesticide is a pesticide that remains in the environment for a long time. A non-persistent pesticide is a pesticide that breaks down rapidly, usually in weeks or months. Pesticide resistance is a trait possessed by certain individuals that are exposed to a pesticide and survive.
Question 4
Which of the following is a disadvantage of mono-cropping?

I.    Soil depletion

II.   Large expanses of land can be planted and then harvested

III.  Crops are more vulnerable to attacks by pests

A
I only
B
II only
C
I and II only
D
I and III only
E
I, II, and III
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Mono-cropping is an agricultural method that can lead to improved agricultural productivity by utilizing large plantings of a single species or variety. It allows for significant expanses of land to be planted and then harvested at the same time, increasing efficiency and productivity. However, it has several disadvantages including soil depletion and increased vulnerability to pests. This can in a more fragile ecosystem with an increased dependency on pesticides and artificial fertilizers.
Question 5
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, approximately how many people are chronically undernourished?

A
175 million people
B
795 million people
C
1.75 billion people
D
3 billion people
E
4.5 billion people
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that about 795 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world (1 in 9), suffered from chronic undernourishment in 2014-2016. Almost all of these undernourished people (780 million) live in developing countries.
Question 6
The provision of a variety of transportation choices via transit-oriented development is

A
a result of urban sprawl.
B
one goal of the Federal Housing Administration.
C
discouraged by multi-use zoning.
D
a principle of smart growth.
E
a common feature of suburbs.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). One approach addressing the problems of urban sprawl is smart growth. Smart growth focuses on strategies that encourage the development of sustainable and healthy communities. The EPA is a founding partner of the Smart Growth Network, which lists 10 basic principles of smart growth. One of the principles is to provide a variety of transportation choices. A transit-oriented development is a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.
Question 7
Which of the following is NOT a major cause of urban sprawl in the United States?

A
Automobiles and highway construction
B
Living costs
C
Smart growth
D
Urban blight
E
Government policies
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Urban sprawl is the phenomenon where urbanized areas spread into rural areas and remove clear boundaries between the two. The landscape in these areas is characterized by clusters of housing, retail shops, and office parks, which are separated by miles of road. Large feeder roads and parking lots that separate “big box” and other retail stores from the road discourage pedestrian traffic. There are four main causes of urban sprawl in the United States: automobiles and highway construction, living costs, urban blight, and government policies. People are beginning to recognize and address the problems of urban sprawl. One approach, smart growth, focuses on strategies that encourage the development of sustainable, healthy communities.
Question 8
The federal government regulation passed in 1969 that requires an environmental assessment of all projects involving federal money or federal permits is known as the

A
National Environmental Policy Act
B
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
C
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
D
Clean Air Act
E
Endangered Species Act
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was passed in 1969 and signed into law in 1970. The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that environmental factors are weighted equally in comparison to other factors in the decision making processes of federal agencies. It also established a national environmental policy and created the President's Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). NEPA's most significant outcome was the requirement that all executive federal agencies prepare environmental assessments and environmental impact statements. These reports state the potential environmental effects of proposed federal agency actions.
Question 9
What is bycatch?

A
A environmental problem caused by increased pesticide use.
B
Raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food.
C
Unwanted fish and other marine creatures caught during commercial fishing for a different species.
D
A common side effect of genetic engineering.
E
An industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path.
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Fish and other marine species that are incidentally captured often die in the process. Bycatch is one of the principal threats to marine biodiversity. There are two primary methods to reduce bycatch. One method is to ban fishing in areas where bycatch is unacceptably high. The other method is to use alternative fishing gear that can dramatically reduce the amount of bycatch.
Question 10
Individual transferable quotas are

A
used in organic pest management.
B
a part of sustainable fishing.
C
an alternative method used for CAFOs.
D
used to increase yields in communal farms.
E
used in aquaculture.
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). Individual transferable quotas are also known as individual fishing quotas. They are a type of catch share, a method that many governments use to regulate fishing. The regulator sets a species-specific total allowable catch (TAC) for a given time period. A portion of the allowance is called a quota share, and the quota shares are allocated to individuals. Quotas are usually transferable, which means they can be bought, sold and leased.
Question 11
Undernutrition is best defined as:

A
lacking the proper balance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
B
not consuming a sufficient number of calories.
C
lacking a specific nutrient such as vitamin A or iron.
D
a lack of food such that deaths begin to occur.
E
the ingestion of too many poor quality calories.
Question 11 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). “Undernutrition” specifically refers to an under-consumption of calories. Food calories are converted into usable energy by the human body, so not receiving enough food calories leads to a deficit in nutrition. If you chose (E), note that undernutrition does not refer specifically to “poor quality” calories, but all calories.
Question 12
The phenomenon of urban blight has contributed to which of the following?

I.     Degradation of the buildings and social environment of the city

II.    Migration to the suburbs

III.   Racial segregation

A
I only
B
II only
C
I and II only
D
I and III only
E
I, II, and III
Question 12 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). “Urban blight” refers to the degradation of urban facilities and social environments. It leads to the exodus of populations from the urban centers to the suburban areas. All of the answer choices are consequences of urban blight. Urban blight has historically contributed to racial segregation, as much of the population leaving cities for the suburbs in the middle of the 20th century were predominantly middle to upper income Caucasians. This resulted in a larger minority population in the urban centers.
Question 13
Which of the following is NOT an effective water conservation technique?

A
Using low flush toilets.
B
Xeriscaping.
C
Using showerheads that limit water flow to 4.5 gallons per minute.
D
Mulching around trees and plants.
E
Public outreach campaigns.
Question 13 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). Federal regulations require that showerheads use no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). To obtain the EPA's WaterSense label, showerheads must use no more than 2 gpm. Some showerheads use as little as 1.6 gpm.
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