Some natural supplement images:
Tonle Sap Lake K – Chong Kneas the floating village 11
Image by Daniel Mennerich
Tonlé Sap (literally large river (tonle); fresh, not salty (sap), commonly translated to "Great Lake") refers to a seasonally inundated freshwater lake, the Tonlé Sap Lake and an attached river, the 120 km (75 mi) long Tonlé Sap River, that connects the lake to the Mekong.
They form the central part of a complex hydrological system, situated in the 12,876 km2 (4,971 sq mi) Cambodian floodplain covered with a mosaic of natural and agricultural habitats that the Mekong replenishes with water and sediments annually. The central plain formation is the result of millions of years of Mekong alluvial deposition and discharge. From a geological perspective, the Tonlé Sap Lake and Tonlé Sap River are a current freeze-frame representation of the slowly, but ever shifting Lower Mekong Basin. Annual fluctuation of the Mekong’s water volume, supplemented by the Asian Monsoon regime causes the unique flow reversal of the Tonle Sap River.
The Tonlé Sap Lake occupies a geological depression (the lowest lying area) of the vast alluvial and lacustrine floodplain in the Lower Mekong Basin, which had been induced by the collision of the Indian Plate with the Eurasian Plate. The lake’s size, length and water volume varies considerably over the course of a year from an area of around 2,500 km2 (965 sq mi), a volume of 1 km3 (0 cu mi) and a length of 160 km (99 mi) at the end of the dry season in late April to an area of up to 16,000 km2 (6,178 sq mi), a volume of 80 km3 (19 cu mi) and a length of 250 km (160 mi) as the Mekong maximum and the peak of the South-West monsoon’s precipitation culminate in September and early October.
As one of the world’s most varied and productive ecosystems the region has always been of central importance for Cambodia’s food provision. It proved capable to maintain the Angkorean civilization, the largest pre-industrial settlement complex in world history. Either directly or indirectly it affects the livelihood of large numbers of a predominantly rural population to this day. With regards to a growing and migrating population, ineffective administration and widespread indifference towards environmental issues the lake and its surrounding ecosystem is coming under increasing pressure from over-exploitation and habitat degradation, fragmentation and loss. All Mekong riparian states have either announced or already implemented plans to increasingly exploit the river’s hydroelectric potential. A succession of international facilities that dam the river’s mainstream is likely to be the gravest danger yet for the entire Tonle Sap eco-region.
The largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, that contains an exceptional large variety of interconnected eco-regions with a high degree of biodiversity is a biodiversity hotspot and was designated as a UNESCO biosphere reserve in 1997.
Uzbekistan UZ – Provinz Surxondaryo 02
Image by Daniel Mennerich
Surxondaryo Region, old spelling Surkhandarya Region is a viloyat (region) of Uzbekistan, located in the extreme south-east of the country. Established on March 6, 1941, it borders on Qashqadaryo Region internally, and Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan externally, going anticlockwise from the north. It covers an area of 20,100 km².
The population is estimated at 1,925,100 (end of 2005 data), with 80% living in rural areas. According to official data, 83% of the population are Uzbeks and 1% Tajiks, but non-official statistics show Surxondaryo is a Persian-speaking area, because most Tajiks of Uzbekistan are concentrated in the Surxondaryo, Samarkand and Bukhara regions. The highest point of the Region and also of Uzbekistan is Khazrati Sulton peak reaching 4,643 m/15,233 ft in Gissar Range.
The regional capital is Termez with population of 122,900 and the second largest city is Denov (Denau) with 69,500 inhabitants (data for 2005). Other towns include Boysun, Jarkurghon, Kumkurghon, Shargun, Shirabad, Shurchi, and Sariosiyo.
The climate is continental, with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. The southern part of the region is in the Badkhiz-Karabil semi-desert ecoregion, characterized by a savanna of pistachio and desert sedge. The northern portion is characterized by open woodlands, with characteristic plants being pistachio, almond, walnut, apple, and juniper. Sagebrush is common at lower elevations
Natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, and coal. Light industry, mainly cotton ginning and food processing, is also an important part of the regional economy, particularly in the production of consumer goods. Agriculture is based primarily on cotton and cereals, supplemented with horticulture and viticulture. Surxondaryo is the country’s largest supplier of long-fiber cotton. Livestock accounts for 40% of regional agricultural product. The climatic conditions of this region also make it possible to cultivate subtropical crops such as sugarcane.
NYC – AMNH: Hall of North American Mammals – Alaska Brown Bear
Image by wallyg
The Alaska Brown Bear (Ursus gyas Merriam), is a giant relative of the grizzly and the European brown bear. It is probably the largest living carnivore reaching a maximum weight of over sixteen hundred pounds. It does not have the reputation of the grizzly for ferocity and differs from that species by shorter claws and more concave profile. The large size of the Alaska bear is probably related to the abundant and rich food supply, the hordes of salmon that run all summer, and the plentiful vegetable food available in late spring and in the late fall, supplemented by mice, marmots and carrion. The brown bear hibernates high on the mountain slopes in the autumn, sometimes as late as November. The bears are still fat when they emerge in April or May, but they eat little the first few days. Food is relatively scarce in the early spring; these two males have just come down to the warm lowlands where more can be found. These bears are most active in the daytime and they are usually solitary except when drawn to a common source of food. The cubs remain with the mother for almost two years and apparently take six or seven years to reach full size and weight.
This diaorma presents the brown bears in Canube, on the Alaska peninsula. The volcanic mountain range in the background is named the Aghileen pinnacles. The cup-like cirques and the u-shaped valleys are formed by the scooping action of the snowfields and the grinding flow of glaciers or rivers of ice. Stones and pebbles in the foreground are water rounded Igneous rock brought down from the mountains.
The American Museum of Natural History’s Hall of North American Mammals first opened in 1942 with only ten dioramas and was completed in 1954. Today, it features 43 dioramas with 46 different mammal species in natural habitats, including some which preserve environments which have been exploited and degraded and are no longer hospitable to the animals. The specimens for the displays were produced from more than twenty-five Museum expeditions, ranging from Mexico to Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic and from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. The dioramas, including background paintings and foreground objects, were decorated by architectural artist James Perry Wilson.