The Living World

basic note from my book

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  • Created by: Louise
  • Created on: 30-05-11 15:30
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The Living World
An ecosystem is a living community of plants and animals which is linked to the natural environment
where they live. Each element in the system depends upon and influences others.
Climatic Summaries:
Tropical rainforest
Hot all year, average temp. 27-30°C
Wet all year, annual precipitation 2000-3000mm
Deciduous forest
Warm summers, average temp. 16-20°C, Cool winters average temp. 3-8°C
Precipitation all year, annual rainfall 550-1500mm
Hot desert
Very hot in summer, average temp. 35-45°C, hot in winter average temp. 20-30°C
Dry all year, annual precipitation under 250mm
Components of an Ecosystem
Sun Plants Herbivores Carnivores
Soil Decomposers
Ecosystems are easily unbalanced. The flow of energy and cycling of nutrients needs to be constant
or the whole thing is upset.
Deciduous forest
Found in Europe, North east America and East China
Found in temperate climates that have seasons
Brown earths are found under deciduous forests, has a high pH value making it very fertile.
They are reddish brown and about 30cm deep.
Plant adaptations in deciduous forests
Deep roots stabilise trees and take up lots of water (possible because of deep water)
Thick bark to protect from cold and protect from animals.
Lose leaves in winter to prevent moisture loss, no need for them as there is not enough
sunlight to photosynthesis and would be damaged by the frost.
Animal adaptations in deciduous forests
Thick fur, gets cold in winter
Most animals hibernate for the winter as there is little food available
Squirrels bury nuts all summer so they have a supply for winter when there aren't any.

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Only 5% of deciduous forest are left in the UK, why?
Population growth/urbanisation
Farming agriculture- live stock/arable
Found in North Africa, Australia, Mexico and Middle East
Hot all year, no seasons but very cold at night
Soil has no organic content, just rock and sand, often salty
Plant adaptations in deserts
Long roots to reach water
Seeds can lie dormant until it rains
Plants like cactuses store water in their stems
Thorns instead of leaves to reduce water loss
Animal Adaptations…read more

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Challenges Water, the region's largest river Lack of water-people have to travel
can no longer meet demands, to find water.
reduced to a trickle by the time it Heat can be hard to live in and
reaches Mexico. extremely cold at night.
Underground aquifers under Las Need food for sheep and goats,
Vegas being used quicker than more and more livestock. Goats are
nature replaces it.…read more

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Adaptations in leaves which are dark green with leathery upper surfaces, oval in shape with
extended points to allow the water to run off.
Parasitic plants growing on tree and tree branches.
The soils in a rainforest are not very fertile. The only layer which is very fertile is the very top layer as
dead leaves and ground litter is decomposed by fungi and micro-organisms put the nutrients back
into the soil.…read more

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Large scale
Forcing out traditional way of life
Bring in diseases, dangerous for indigenous population
Native people living there
Small scale
Replace what they use
Growth in population causes problems with more clearing of the forest
Small scale farming
Cut down trees without replacing them
Destroy animal habitats
Leads to soil erosion, no trees to hold soil in place
Cutting down trees faster than they can be replaced
Forcing out traditional way of life and bring in diseases
Large scale
Could destroy life saving…read more

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Disruption of nutrient cycling
Human Imapacts
Loss of traditional ways of life
Indigenous people displaced from their lands
Sustainable Management
Selective logging
Only between seven and twelve mature and fully grown trees per hectare are cut down in each
logging cycle. This allows the logged area to regain full maturity after 30-50 years. The forest
recovers because the younger trees and saplings are given more space and sunlight
People pay to see the natural beauty of the rainforest.…read more


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