Unit 1: Conservation Abroad - Tropical Rainforest

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  • Tropical Rainforest
    • Ecological Features
      • No large seasonal changes
      • High light levels, warm temperatures and high rainfall = high productivity
      • Good species inter-relationships
        • Species pollinate, feed on or spread seeds of plants
        • Specialised niches
        • Plants adapted to live on different layers of rainforest
      • Very high biodiversity and unique species
    • Importance
      • Resources
        • Timber
        • Fuel
        • Medicines
        • Food
      • Biodiversity - stable ecosystem that resists change
      • Unexploited resources
      • Carbon sequestration (removing carbon dioxide)
      • Trees put large amounts of water into atmosphere that fall again as rain
      • Soil conservation - removing trees erodes already poor soils
    • Threats
      • Fuelwood - other fuels are expensive for poor people (unsustainable)
      • Timber - affordable construction material (taken unsustainabley)
      • Slash and burn farming - increased population density = soil cannot fully recover (erosion)
      • Commercial agriculture - unsustainable forest clearence
      • Mineral extraction - destroy forests
      • Hydro-electric power floods forests
      • Global climate change - higher temperatures means less rainfall
    • Conservation Methods
      • Debt-for-nature swaps - cancelling debt in return for rainforest protection
      • Protected areas and ecotourism
      • Limited or restricted  trade e.g. timber


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