Battle for the Biosphere

Unit 1: Dynamic Planet

Exam: 20.01.2011

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  • Created by: Aniqa
  • Created on: 15-01-11 16:01

What is the value of the Biosphere?

Biosphere: Part of Earth's surface inhabited by living things. 

Biome: Worldwide Ecosystem.

Evapotranspiration: when water evaporates from the pores of leaves into the atmosphere. 

  • Tundra.
  • Coniferous forest.
  • Temperate grassland.
  • Mediterranean.
  • Hot desert.
  • Tropical rainforests.
  • Tropical Grassland. (Savanna). 
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Taking a Closer look..

Average temperature affects plant growth. 

Temperature gradually decreases as you move away from the Equator, as latitude increases. 

Lack of heat limits vegetation growth. 

Precipitation happens on low pressure belts. 

Pressure belts: regions of atmosphere which run around Earth. Parallel to the Equator. 

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Life support system.

The Biosphere provides us with a range of goods,  both for survival and for commercial use. 

Vital services such as: 

  • Maintaining biodiversity.
  • Nutrient cycling. 
  • Green lungs. (atmospheric gas balance). 
  • Gene pool.
  • Recreation.
  • Water regulation and purification. 

Overexploitation or overharvest of marine life means we're not using the biosphere in a sustainable way. If the biosphere is damaged it may fail to provide us with services. 

Sustainable: process that does no lasting harm to people or the environment. 

Gene pool: genetic information contained in living things. 

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Goods Provided: 

  • food & fibre crops.
  • meat, fish, hides, timbre, fuel woods.
  • Biomass for energy.
  • Drinking or irrigation water.
  • Fruits, & nuts.
  • Genetic resources. (gene pool). 


  • Green lungs: forests remove CO2 from atmosphere. reduces global warming. - forests give out oxygen, purifying the atmosphere.
  • Water Control: Forests protect watersheds, from soil erosion & intercept precipitation.
  • Nutrient cycling: Forests provide leaf litter, which forms humus. This makes the soil more fertile for growing crops.
  • Providing habitats for wildlife/biodiversity: Provide homes for a huge range of organisms.
  • Recreation: attractive scenery for tourism. 
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Delivering the goods..

Indigenous people: people who have originated and lived in a country for many generations. 

Transnational Companies: are giant companies operating in many countries.

Commercial use:  TNC's exploit the forest by logging for timber or paper manufacture, this provides a short-term gain. This is an example of Deforestation. 

Commercial farmers: cut down trees to graze cattle, or for biofuels. 

Drug companies: search for plants to provide ingredients for new medicines. 

Mining Companies: search for minerals and oils.

Governments: may want to develop hydroelectric power. 

TNC's and governments may have ideas/plans that conflicts with the needs of the local people. 

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Threats & Conservation.

Can be classified in two ways: 

  • immediate causes such as: logging, overfishing and pollution. 
  • Root causes: rapidly expanding populations of people who use fuelwood. 
  • Economic Development: China & India which have a huge need for industrial raw materials.Living standards improving. Consuming more fuel and food. 

Biodiversity: is a range of animals and plant life found in an area. 

Mass extinction: the extinction of a large number of species within a short amount of time.

Keystone species: one which has a particularly large effect on other organisms.

- Countries work together to develop wildlife conservation treaties. The RAMSAR convention, andCITES aim to stop the trade in products such as; handbags made from crocodile skin. 

National Scale: Governments can set up protected areas, which help conserve, mange, and restore biodiversity. 

  • National parks: recreation is managed in the most attractive, yet fragile environments.
  • Local farmers: can be paid by governments to maintain areas. 
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