By Ian D. Whyte
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It is transmitted between humans by sexual intercourse, contaminated needles or infected blood products causing a breakdown of the immune system. 25 million people to date. At ﬁrst doctors thought that it was conﬁned to particular high-risk groups like homosexuals, especially in the W, but at the same time the disease was spreading rapidly among the heterosexual population of sub-Saharan Africa. Antiretroviral drugs can slow the spread of the disease and prevent AIDS from rapidly destroying immune systems but they are expensive: there is no vaccine as yet (Dobson 2007).
At the same time major changes occurred in agriculture. Many parts of the Alps had already moved from a mixed subsistence economy to commercial livestock rearing by the C19. The introduction of dairies led to the abandonment of many alpine pastures and their re-colonization by woodland. Growing commercialization of agriculture in lowland areas and the collapse of local cottage industries under competition from outside manufacturers led in the late C19 and early C20 to large-scale depopulation. With the abandonment of high-level marginal land the upper limit of permanent settlement in parts of the Alps fell by 300 m (Lichtenberger 1975, Frey 1976).
A distinctive type of coal mining, mountaintop mining, has been practised since the 1960s, especially in W Virginia and E Kentucky, where the top of a 36 Appalachians | Aral Sea mountain or ridge is removed to access coal seams and the overburden then replaced. This reduces biodiversity and often results in waste material being dumped in nearby valleys (Silver 2003, Williams 2002b). The Appalachian Trail, 3,505 km long and designated in 1968, is the longest marked footpath in the USA and its popularity has done a lot for conservation in the region, as has Bill Bryson’s popular book A Walk in the Woods (1998).