BIOSHPERE: The part of the Earth's surface inhabited by living things.
ECOSYSTEM: An area made up of living things and their non-living environment e.g pond, forest, desert.
BIOME: A very large ecosystem e.g desert, rainforest.
LATITUDE: How far from the Equator a place is.
GOODS: Physical products directly extracted from ecosystems.
SERVICES: Indirect benefits brought about by ecosystems.
FOOD: This can be in the form of plant or animal matter.
RAW MATERIALS: These can be used to help with industrial activities e.g. construction.
MEDICINE: These are used to fight disease or promote the health of the human population.
BIODIVERSITY: The degree of the variation of life. The variety of different organisms present in an ecosystem.
BIOFUEL: A fuel that is derived from biological materials such as plants and animals and organic matter.
CONSERVATION: The act of conserving something in particular/ protecting something.
DEGRADING: The condition or process or degradation - wearing something down/ lower its value.
GENE POOL: The set of all genesor genetic information in any population - usually of a particular species.
HYDROLOGICAL CYCLE: The sequence of conditions through which water passes from vapour to precipitation and then back to vapour through transpiration and evaporation.
UNSUSTAINABLE: Unable to be maintained at the current rate or level.
WATER TABLE: The level below which the ground is saturated with water.
WILDERNESS: An uncultivated, uninhabited and inhospitable region.
TROPICAL RAINFORESTS: Situated on or near the Equator and between the tropics within the continents of Africa, South-East Asia and South American. The rainforests in South America are situated towards the North in coutnries such as Brazil. Tropical rainforests in Africa are situated in countries such as Cameroon whilst in East Asia they are situated in countries such as Thailand.
TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FORESTS: Mainly found Morth of the Tropicof Cancer excluding the ones in New-Zealand and South-East Australia. Vontinetns with these temperate deciduous forests include Europe, East-Asia and North America.
TUNDRA: Mainly found in the North in the North of Russia and on the North coast of Canada. Northern Hemipshere - coast of Greenland and Icelend. Extreme North.
HOT DESERT: Hot desert land is mainly found on or close to the Tropics and/or the Equator, excluding the three found in Asia. Continetns containing them include Africa (Sahara), South/North America and Asia. They are also found in coutnries like Chile, Australia and Egypt and the west coast of North America.
LATITUDE and PRECIPITATION
Latitude - How far from the Equator a place is.
Temperatures drop the further an area is from the Equator due to the curvature of the Earth. In areas closer to the poles, sunlight has a larger area of atmosphere to pass through and the sun is at a lower angle in the sky. As a result, more energy is lost and temperatures are cooler.
Precipitation alternates with distance from the Equator. On the Equator the sun's energy is highest and so the air is warmed and rises (due to low density), resulting in low pressure and high precipitation. This air now moves away from the Equator towards the tropics. Here it descends resulting in high pressure and low precipitation. The poles also have high pressure and low rainfall because the cold air sinks.
N.B. HIGH TEMPERATURES and HIGH RAINFALL provide optimum conditions for growth.
OTHERS THINGS THAT AFFECT BIOMES
SOIL TYPE: Nutrient rich soils encourage the growth of ecosystems. E.G. deltas (river mouth) where fertile silt has been deposited often have greater biodiversity e.g. Camargue (Rhone Delta) France.
DISTANCE FROM THE SEA: Cosatal areas are warm in summer and mld in winter. Inland areas are hot in summer and cold in winter. E.G. Plants exist in south-west UK that don't exist anywhere else in the country due to the warmer but still wet climate.
ALTITUDE: For every 100 metres climbed, the temperature drops by 1 degree. E.G. Kilimanjaro is equatorial yet the summit has snow and ice.
E.G. Tundra ecosystem exists in the Cairngorm moutnains of Scotland.
The polar biome has a low temperature and a relatively low preciptiation. One factor that contributes to this is latitude. The north and south poles are further away fromt eh Equator than any other country or continent meaning that the sun is at a low angle in the sky and the sun's rays have to travel through a larger area of atmosphere hence the cooler temperatures of -42 degrees because more energy is lost. The polar biome also has low precipitation because cold air sinks resulting in high pressure and low precipitation hence the fact it has only 140mm of total preciptation compared to a biome such as the tropical rainforest that recieves a total of 2880mm. The polar biome has also never seena month with over 50mm of rainfall. It also has the lowest biomass because of the fact that vegeation can't grow without warmth or precipitation.
Tropical Rainforests have really high temperatures but also see a large amount of precipitation. Due to the fact that tropical rainforests are mainly located along or around the equator the sun has less area of atmosphere to travel through. This also means that the sun is at a higher angle in the sky due to the curvature of the earth. These two factors result in less enrgy being lost and so temperatures are higher, hence the highest temperatur ebeing 26 degrees compared to the polar bimoe of 12 dgrees and a minimum of 1 degree lower. Howver high rainfall occurs here because at the Equator the sun's energy is highest so hot ai rrises resutling in low pressure and high precipitation. Tropical rainforests therfore have the highest biomass of all because these are the ideal conditions for trees to grow.
The desert biome has a high temperature and low precipitation due tot he fact it is located along or around the tropics of cancer and capricorn. At these two lines of latitude hot air descneds in a similar way to the polar biome resulting in high pressure and therfore low precipitation hence the fact is total preicpitation is only 30mm. It is also an extremely hot biome due tot the fact that the angle from the sun is high and so less energy is lost on the way. This factor of latitude also means the sun has a smaller area of atmosphere to travel through resulting in high temepratures of bewteen 20 degress and 30 degrees. The desert therfore has the lowest biomass because vegetation cannot grow in without water.