The Impacts of Deforestation on the Tropical Equatorial Rainforest

Refers to AQA A2 Geography

Ecosystems: Change and Challenge Option

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  • The Impacts of Deforestation on the Tropical Equatorial Rainforest
      • Destruction of the world's rainforest has created a major environmental issue.
      • Deforestation
        • Defined as the DELIBERATE clearance of woodland by cutting, burning or the application of a defolient
      • Deforestation in NICs with topical rainforest, affecting areas such as the Amazon Basin, is destroying the rainforest at an alarming rate.
      • Claims that half the world's rainforest has been cleared.
      • An area the size of the UK is being removed each year.
      • Climatic climax vegetation has been destroyed resulting in both secondary succession and plagioclimax.
        • Vegetation that grows is usually smaller in height and less diverse, with a reduction in overall biomass.
    • CAUSES
      • Demand for hardwood (e.g. teak) for furniture/ building is increasing.
        • Developing countries rely on timber export earnings.
      • Deforestation can provide land for cattle ranching, rubber plantations, soya plantations, roads and railways.
      • Rivers dammed in Brazilian rainforest
        • HYDRO - ELECTRIC power e.g Tucurui dam on the Tocantins River, Amazonia
      • Mining of aluminum and iron ores in ground beneath rainforest.
        • The Carajas Mining Project in Amazonia has resulted in the destruction of large areas of climax vegetation.
      • Many countries with rainforest are still developing economically.
        • During the 1960s and 1970s, the population of South East Asia and South America increased rapidly
          • Population pressure led to clearance of rainforest
          • Transmigration policies in Indonesia meant people moved from Java to Sumatra involving huge rainforest clearance to make room for homes and agriculture.
      • As habitats shrink, plant species become endangered or even extinct, disrupting the food chain of the rainforest
        • Tigers and orang-utans are both threatened by extinction.
      • The vegetation protects latosoils from the heavy tropical downpours
        • Once trees are removed, latosoil is prone to EROSION and LEACHING of nutrients.
          • Runoff causes sediment to block river channels which increases flooding.
      • Deforestation disrupts the microclimate
        • The daily water cycle of rapid evapo - transpiration followed by afternoon precipitation cannot occur and there is less cloud cover, so a greater temperature range.
      • Contributes to global climate change


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