Battle for the Biosphere

What is a biome and where are they in the world? Why are biomes located where they are? What can the biosphere provide us with? How has the Amazonia Rainforest been affected by humans? How is the biosphere been affected by climate change? How can the biosphere be conserved at a variety of scales? How can the biosphere be conserved sustainably?


What is a biome and where are they in the world?

The biosphere is part of the Earth's surface that contains all the living things. A biome is a world-scale ecosystem and the world is divided into 9. The location of each biome is determiend by the climate.

Tropical Rainforest: found either side of the equator. The sun rays are at its hottest which causes moist air to rise and heavy rainfall

Deserts: found close to the torpics of cancer and capricorn. The air is much drier but the sun rays are still hot

Deciduous Forests: forests that grow in high latitudes where rainfall is high. The sun rays are less strong and the winter temperatures results in the leaves shredding

Coniferous Forest: found 60 degree north of the equator. Temperatures are so cold that plants have needle for leaves so that no moisture or heat is lost

Tundra: cold desert and found in the Arctic Circle. The sun rays have little strength and temperatures are below freezing. Only short grass can survive

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Why are biomes located where they are?

Altitude: high altitudes make it difficult for plants to grow. This is due to a decrease in 1 degree of temperature for every 100m in height

Distance from the sea: the further aeway from the sea, the less rainfall. The sea cools land in the hot seasons and warms land in the cold. Reduces temperature ranges,

Temperature: decrease away from the equator.

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What can the biosphere provide us with?


  • Food and fibre crops
  • Medicines
  • Timber
  • Drinking water
  • Genetic resources
  • Products such as rubber


  • Habitats
  • Recreational uses eg. tourism
  • Employment
  • Maintaining biodiversity
  • Humus for soil formation
  • Nutrient cycling
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How has the Amazonia rainforest been affected by h

  • Forest Clearance: areas of land are being cleared for agriculture use. This is to make space for cattle ranches and to grow soya beans which can be used to feed cattle and create biofuels.
  • Hydroelectric dams: land is being flooded during the construction of dams. Dams can help produce affordable electricity for the population.
  • Population growth: land must be cleared to create enough living spaces for the growing population.
  • Medicines: drug companies are searching forests for plants to provide ingredients for medicine.
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How has the biosphere been affected by climate cha

  • Habitats will be destroyed
  • Extreme weather events will become mroe common eg. storms, floods and droughts
  • Pests and diseases will thrive in rising temperatures

1 degree increase: 10% land species facing extinction and the disappearance of glaciers and mountain systems lead to loss of alpine trees

2 degree increase: 15-40% land species facing extinction and oceans become mroe acidic as more freshwater is added- coral reeds die.

3 degree increase: 20-50% land species facing extinction and sea level rise cause flooding of mangroves. Droughts in the Amazon destroy the rainforest.

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How can the biosphere be conserved sustainably?

Sustainable management: conserves the environment for future generations while using the environment to enhance this generation

Kilum-Ijim Forest is a sustainable reserve in the north-west of Cameroon.

  •  Protected area with minimum human interference
  • Tree nurseries to replace cut down trees
  • Zoned areas for hunting, tourism and conservation
  • Reserves for extraction of rubber and harvesting nuts
  • Reserves linked by corridors for animal migration
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How can the biosphere be conserved at a variety of


  • RAMSAR: treaty adopted by 147 countries. Ensures that wetland habitats are conserved
  • CITES: treaty adopted by 166 countries. Conserve endangered animals by stopping the trade of elephant ivory and bags made from crocodile skin
  • World Heritage Sites: sites awarded recognition by the UN to prevent misuse of these areas


  • National parks: areas in the national park are managaed so only certain activities can happen in designated areas
  • Community forests: around major cities, new areas of trees are established to promote biodiversity
  • Local
  • BAPS: protect natural vegetation in the UK
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