The Living World

Some notes to help revise for the living world topic for AQA GCSE Geography

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Living World
A natural system that comprises of plants, animals and the natural environment
The living and non-living parts of an environment and the interrelationships that exist between them
Can be identified at different scales
Local ecosystem = pond or hedge
Larger = lakes or woodlands
Global scale = tropical rainforest, desert, forest ­ called biomes
Producers ­ organisms that obtain their energy from the sun, plants
Consumer ­ organisms that obtain their energy by eating other organisms
Food chain ­ a line of linkages between producers and consumers, shows what eat what
Food web ­ a diagram showing all the linkages between producers and consumers in an ecosystem,
lots of food chains and how overlap
Scavengers ­ organisms that consume dead animals or plants
Decomposers ­ organisms that break down dead plant and animal material, bacteria and fungi
Nutrient cycling ­ the recycling of nutrients between the living organisms and the environment,
when dead material decomposed nutrients are released into the soil which can be taken up by
plants which may be eaten, when plants or consumer dies then nutrients are returned to soil
Diversity and relative numbers of an organism can change over time which can be caused by natural
factors such as environmental change (flood, fire, drought) or human-induced change (drainage,
reclamation, fish stocking), once change introduced it is rarely isolated and often has impact on
other parts of the ecosystem
If predatory fish were introduced into a pond they would eat more of the smaller fish and small
animals like frogs which would affect the number of those creatures which would reduce the
amount of food available to creatures further up the food chain. At the same biome with fewer
frogs in the pond numbers of the creatures that the frog would eat would increase.
Temperate Deciduous forest
Forest comprising of broad-leaved trees such as oak that drop their leaves in the autumn
Majority in northern hemisphere
All above 231/3 S/N of equator (higher latitude but not above 50 N/S)
East coast of north America
Majority of central Europe
Between 40 and 60 degrees N/S
Warm summers - 20-26 degrees
Mild winters - 3-8 degrees
Even rainfall throughout year ­ 73 -110 mm
4 distinct seasons
Main characteristics

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Long growing season (7 months)
Soil rich and fertile due to annual leaf fall for energy and water conservation in winter, called brown
Plants flower in spring before the canopy blocks out light
Canopy blocks out light in summer
Layers provide range of habitats
Canopy ­ 15-40m, dominant trees(oak/ash/beech) provide canopy acting like an umbrella
Sub canopy ­ 4-15m , saplings and smaller trees(hazel)
Herb layer ­ 1-4m, (brambles/bracken/ivy/wild garlic)
Ground layer 0-1m, damp and dark (moss)
Case Study Epping Forest
Essex…read more

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Main uses
Recreational activities
How managed sustainably
Areas cleared of trees either replanted or restored to other habitats like heathland
Walkers and cyclist encouraged to stick to footpaths/ cycle paths to limit damage
Dogs not allowed near wildlife breeding sites at certain times of year to conserve wildlife
Recreational users encouraged to act responsibly (close gates, take litter home) by information at
national park forest centre and local information points
Hot Desert
Majority above 231/3 S/N of equator
Cover 1/3 of land…read more

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Small desert animals come out at night
Camels ­ eat cactus flowers, store water, have a wide territory
Lizards- eat blackfly swarms
Elephants ­ eat roots of plants, walk long distances to find them
Lions ­ small prides, travel far to find food, don't go on sand dunes, large home range
Desert locus, hatch when food till, when food runs out in area release scent hormones telling
others to move on, begin to form swarms ­ meet up with others and form plagues
Sonoran Desert,…read more

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Hunter-gatherers- survive by hunting animals and gathering fruit and natural products like honey
Most basic for of farming
Irrigation and commercial farming
Revolutionised farming
Main form of irrigation is indira Gandhi canal
2 main cities of jodhpur and jaisalmer
Also provides drinking water
Mining and industry
Rajasthan rich in minerals
Desert region has valuable reserves of gypsum(plaster for construction), feldspar(ceramics),
phospherite(fertilisers), kaolin(whitener in paper)
Valuable resources of stone
Jaisalmer the Sanu limestone main source of limestone for India's steel industry
Has become popular tourist…read more

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Stabilising sand dunes
Sand dunes in Thar desert are very mobile
In some areas they form threat to farmland and waterways
Planting blocks of trees and establishing shelterbelts of trees and fences alongside roads and
Thar Desert national park
Created to protect 300km2 of arid land and endangered and rare wildlife that adapted to it
The prosopis cineraria tree
Lots of foliage produced so can be used to feed animals especially in winter
Tree provide good quality firewood
Wood strong so can be used…read more

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Plant adaptations
Drip tips to allow water to run of leaves easily
Epiphytes ­ gain nutrient from air and water instead of soil
Leaves have flexible bases so they can face the sunlight
Trees have smooth bark to allow water to flow easily off tree and to help nutrient loss
Buttress roots ­ helps to support tree
Shallow roots to get the nutrients from the soil surface
Lianas ­ woody creepers rooted to ground and carried into the canopy by trees
Nearly 63% is…read more

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Urban dwellers encouraged to move into countryside to relieve pressure on cities
Forest clearance or arson
Slash and burn agriculture ­ local people clear small areas to grow food crops by burning ­ results
in wildfires
Impacts of deforestation
Reduces biodiversity, soil erosion, flooding if too much soil is washed into rivers, less fertile soil,
rainfall in area reduced, less CO2 removed from atmosphere
Quality of life for some improves as more jobs, livelihood of some destroyed, native tribes forced
to…read more

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Involves small groups
Local guides used
Building use local materials and are environmentally friendly
Mostly nature-based experiences
Limited transport involved
Worldwide initiatives
Debt relief
By wiping debt in return for looking after environment- debt for nature swaps
Carbon sinks
Forests are carbon sinks, they absorb carbon dioxide to help address problem of global
carbon emissions
Countries are given money to protect their trees
Inform people of the effects of deforestation
Educate them in new ways to make money…read more



Don't why it was 3and a 1/2 stars before. i thought it was excellent, really helped for my mocks.

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