Living World (AQA GCSE Geography A) Revision Notes

Some revision notes on the living world topic for AQA geography A GCSE. 

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  • Created on: 12-06-11 09:50
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Indrajeet Mandal
Living World revision notes
An ecosystem is somewhere both living things, such as plants and animals, and non living things, such as soil
and climate, interacts with each other.
Small scale ecosystems
Producers convert energy from environment into glucose (sugar) by photosynthesis. Consumers obtain
energy from producers. A food chain shows links between consumers and producers. A food web is more
complex, and shows many interlinking food chains. When living elements die, decomposers break them
down and recycle the nutrients, which are returned to the soil. Decomposers are usually bacteria and fungi.
A small change has a big impact on the whole ecosystem. This could be due to natural or human influences.
This is the nutrient cycle:
Dead material is
Plants + animals Nutrients are
die, nutrients relased back into
returned to soil the soil
Plants are eaten Nutrients are
by consumers taken up by plants
Large scale ecosystems are called biomes. Rainforests, deserts and deciduous forests are all biomes.
Rainforests are found close to the equator. One of the main rainforests is in Brazil, and is known as the
Amazon rainforest. These rainforests have an equatorial/tropical climate, which means very hot and humid
conditions, with lots of precipitation all year round. These conditions are perfect for vegetation to grow.
The clouds which form on the equator cause convectional rainfall. The Sun is high in the sky, which makes it
hot, but there are clouds in the night which means the forest stays warm.
Deserts are found near the tropics, which are roughly 23 degrees north/south of the equator. Most deserts
have very little/no rainfall (under 250mm annually), and rain patterns are irregular. These conditions make
it hard for vegetation to grow, and because the soil is very thin, they are very sparsely spread out. The
diurnal temperature range in the deserts is very large (about 50 degrees). In the day, it is very hot because
the Sun is high in the sky. In the night, it is very cold because there are no clouds to act as a blanket (trap
heat in). The lack of clouds is the reason why there is no rain. Usually, deserts have high pressure.

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Indrajeet Mandal
Deciduous forests are found in temperate locations, such as Europe, North America and parts of East Asia
and Australia. They are not found near the equator, or near the poles, where the climate is more extreme.
They receive regular rainfall, but it varies each month. The temperature also varies, but the growing season
is long ­ about 7 months (vegetation can only grow above 6 degrees).…read more

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conserved. Lots of leisure activities take place here, e.g. horse riding, running and biking. To manage the
forest, trees are being pollarded (cut down to a certain height of about 2-5m), and this gives us a supply of
wood but also leaves some for future generations. A large proportion of the forest has been declared a site
of special scientific interest, which protects the trees and animals in the area. Damaging activities, such as
mountain biking are being controlled.…read more

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A national park has been created to protect 3000km2 of wildlife. This can be used for ecotourism,
which provides employment for local people.
Deforestation is a massive issue in the 21st century. Because developing countries are expanding at a rapid
pace, lots of rainforests are cut in order to obtain raw materials/space for industry. However, this has many
consequences both long-term and short-term.
Causes of deforestation
Logging. Trees are valuable source of wood.…read more

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Setting up conservation areas ­ some areas of the rainforest cannot be developed on. This can also
generate money through eco-tourism. This provides locals with employment, which means they do
not need to cut down trees for money.
The `debt for nature' also generates income, because richer countries can reduce the debt of poorer
countries them to look after the rainforest. Therefore, the poor country can reduce debt without
having to cut down the rainforest to generate income.…read more


Mr A Gibson

An excellent resource suitable for any of the exam boards including this topic. Well presented, easy to read and detailed.


Great notes, filled with most aspects of the living world topic. Very simple easy notes to understand and revise from.


This is really useful and has all the basic knowledge!

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