Geography - Paper 2



Ecosystem = natural environment where biotic elements (Flora, fauna, bacteria) are linked with abiotic elements (climate, soil, water).

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Climate (temp/rain) = which species can survive

Soil type = nutrients for diff. Plants

Water amount = which plants/animals can be supported

Biotic parts have complex relationship with abiotic - changing one = change in other:

Waste from dead plants/animals decomposes into soil by bacteria, giving plants nutrients to support animals. Those plants/animals die and cycle repeats.


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Food chain/Web

The food chain:

Shows how living things get food. Energy/nutrients passed from one organism to next. Producer provides basic source of food which consumers then feed on.

producer (plants = energy) - organism (feed on plants - consumer (feeds on organisms)

The food web:

Includes all connections between producers/consumers in ecosystem. Shows how interconnected all different organisms are.

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Tropical rainforest

Tropical rainforest 
Found near Equator. Climate = hot/humid + many different species found here. high biodiversity (range in animals/plants).
Biotic depend on abiotic - change in one = change in other

Wet (over 2,000mm rain/year)
Warm (average 24 degrees)
Atmosphere - hot / humid (wet) 
Climate = consistent all year. No seasons.

Not very fertile (thin layer of fertile soil  found at surface where dead leaves decompose)
Red - rich in iron
Heavy rainfall - nutrients quickly washed out soil

Plants and animals:
warm/ wet climate = perfect conditions for plant growth
Wide range of plant species supports manydiff. animals/birds/insects.
Species have adapted to rainforest conditions (eg trees /plants have shallow-reaching roots to absorb nutrients from thin fertile layer in soil near surface

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Plant adaptations

The following adaptations allow plants to survive in the conditions of the rainforest.

Plant adaptations:

Lianas - woody vines that have roots in ground but climb up trees to reach sunlight. Their leaves/ flowers grow in canopy

Tree trunks - tall/thin so trees reach sunlight. Bark = smooth so water flows down to roots easily

Drip tips - plants have leaves with pointy tips so water runs off quickly without damaging/ breaking them

Buttress roots - large roots have ridges - create large surface area - helps support large trees

Epiphytes - plants which live on high branches in canopy. Get nutrients from air/water, not from soil.

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Animal adaptations

Animal adaptations:

Sloth - camouflage + moves slow - hard for predators to spot

Spider monkey - long/strong limbs - help climb through rainforest trees.

Flying frog - fully webbed hands/feet + loose skin that stretches between its limbs - glide from plant to plant.

Toucan - long/large bill - reach/cut fruit from branches too weak to support weight


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Threats to the tropical rainforest

Farming - large areas are cleared (deforestation) for agriculture (crops/animals)

Logging - trees cut for valuable wood like mahogany

Mining - trees cut down for mines for natural resources (gold/copper/iron), mercury gets into river and pollutes it

Roads - destruction to make roads so farmers, loggers and miners have access

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Deforestation effects

No vegetation - no sheltered from rain - rain washes nutrients away - cycle stops (no nutrients replaced from dead leaves) - becomes unfertile - roots don't hold soil together so easily eroded

Plants/animals = closely connected through food web so deforestation reduces biodiversity (no plants - no animals)

Fewer trees/plants, due to deforestation = less co2 removed from atmosphere (plants absorb co2 through photosynthesis) - contributes to global warming - climate change

Mines, farms and roads ( which caused deforestation) - led to economic development (more money - pay of dept / invested in development)

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