The Living world

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Ecosystems- key words

a) What is are ecosyatem?

b) What are biomes?

c) What are adaptations?

d) What are producers?

e) What are consumers?

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Ecosystems- key words

a) The living and non-living components of an environment and the interrelations that exist between them.

b) Global- scale ecosystem

c) The ways that plants evolve to cope with certain environmental conditions such as excessive rainfall.

d) Organisms that obtain their energy from a primary source such as the sun.

e) Organisms that obtain their energy by eating other organisms.

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Ecosystems- key words

f) What is a foodchain?

g) what is a food web?

h) What are scavengers?

i) What are Decomposers?

j) What is the nutrient cycle?

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Ecosystems- key words

f) A line of linkages between producers and consumers

g) A diagram that shows all the linkages between producers and consumers in an ecosystem.

h) Organisms that consume dead animals and plants.

i) Organisms such as bacteria that breakdown plant and animal material.

j) When dead material is decomposed, nutrients are released into the soil. The nutrients are then taken up from the soilby yht plants. The plants may be eaten by consumers. When the plants or nutients die the nutrients are ruturned to the soil. This transfer of nutrients is called the nutient cycle.

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Map of Biomes


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Where different biomes are found in the world

1. Where are tropical rainforests found?

2. Where are temperate deciduous forests found?

3. Where are hot deserts found?

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Where different biomes are found in the world

1. Tropical rainforests are found around the equator. They are found in broad belts through the tropics, from Central and South America ( Amazon), through central parts of Africa, in South- East Asia and into Northern parts of Australia.

2. Temperate decidous forests are found between 40* and 60* North and South of the equator, in places where there are 4 distinct seasons. They are found across much of North-west Europe, eastern North America and parts of East asia.

3. Deserts are found between 15* and 30* north and south of the equator where there' less rainfall. In places where there's less than 250mm of rainfall per year.

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Tropical rainforests

1. What is the climate like?

2. What is the soil like?

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Tropical rainforests

1. Hot, wet climate with no definite seasons, over 2000mm per year and averaging 27*C throughout the year.

2. The soil isn't very fertile as heavy rainfall washes nutrients away- leeching. There are nutrients at the surface due to decayed leaf fall, but this layer is very thin as decay is fast in warm, moist conditions. Infertile red soil called latosol high in iron


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Tropical rainforests

What is the Vegetation structure like?


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Tropical rainforests

3. The Canopy Layer is a continuous layer of of trees around 30m high. 

The under canopy layer trees are about half the height of the canopy layer. 

The shrub layer is nearest to the ground at around 10m high. Very little light reaches this level. 

The tallest trees called emergentsreach around 40 m and poke out of the canopy layer. They only have branches at their crown where most light reaches them. 

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Tropical rainforests

What are the adapations of the plants?


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Tropical rainforests

Plants are adpated to heavy rainfall- they have 'drip tips' to allow theheavy rain to drip off the leaf, so the weightof the water doesn't damage the plant.

Thin, smooth bark on trees to allow water to flow down easily.

Butress roots- massive ridges help support the base of the tall trees and help transport water. 

Lianas- climb up up the tree to reach the sunlight.

Many leaves have flexible bases so that they can turn to face the sun.

The trees are deciduus, they drop their leaves in drier periods to reduce water loss.

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1.What is the climate like?

2. What is the soil like?

3. What is the vegetaion structure like?


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1. Very little rainfall. When it rains also varies a lot- it might rainonce every 2-3 years. Temperatures are extreme- they range from very hot in the day (e.g. 45*C) to very cold at night e.g. (5*C).

2. Sandy or stony, with little organic matter due to the general lack of dense vegetation. Siols are dry but can soak up rapidly after rainfall. 

3. Plant grwoth is pretty saprse due to lack of rainfall. Plants that do grow include cacti and thornbushes.

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How do plants adapt to the surrounding in a desert?

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Plant roots are either extremely long to reach very deep water supplies, or spread out very wide near the surfce to catch as much water as possible when it rains.

Cacti have swollen stems to storewater and thik waxy skin to reduce water loss- traspiration.

Cacti and some bushes have small, spiky leaves to reduce water loss.

The seeds of some plants only germinate when it rains- the plant grow, flower and release seeds in just a few weeks, which makes sure they only grow when there's enough water to survive.

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Temperate deciduous forests

1. What is the climate like?

2. What is the soil like?


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Temperate deciduous forests

1. This ecosystem has 4 distinct seasons. The summers are warm and the winters are cool. There's rainfall all year round.

2. The soil is deep and fertile because there's a thick layer of leaf fall. Plenty of nutriens and organic matter to enrich the soil.

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Temperate deciduous forests

What is the Vegetation stucture like?


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Temperate deciduous forests

The top Layer is made up of trees (e.g. oak) that grow to around 30m tall.

At the middle layer (shrub layer) there are samller trees, e.g. hawthorn or hazel. They're 5 to 20m tall.

At ground level there's a layer of undergrowth including brambles, mosses, lichens ferns and flowering plants.


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Temperate deciduous forests

How do plants adapt to the surroundings in temperate deciduous forests?

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Temperate deciduous forests

The trees are deciduous ( they drop their leaves in autumn and re-grow new ones in spring). This reduces water loss from leaves inthe months where it's harder to get water from the soil beacuse it may be frozen and there's not much light for photosythesis.

Wild flowers e.g. bluebells, grow on the forest floor in spring before the trees grow and block out the sunlight.

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Temperate deciduous forests- case study

New forest Hampshire is a national park that covers 375km sqaured.

What is the forest used for?

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Temperate deciduous forests- case study

It's used for timber, timber products and recreational activities:

  • Produces around 50, 000 tonnes of timber a year.
  • Local mills make fencing products out of the timber from the New Forest.
  • Around 20 million come to the forest per year. Recreational activiyies available include walking, cycling (there are over 100 miles of cycle tracks ), wildlife watching ( visitors particularly come to see New Forest ponies, which roam wild), horse riding and specialevents like the New Forest and Hampshire County show.
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Temperate deciduous forests- case study

How is The New forest in Hampshire managed?

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Temperate deciduous forests- case study

The forest is managed to make sure the way it's used is sustainable :

  • Areas cleared of trees are either replanted or restored to other habitats like heathland.
  • Walkers and cyclosts are encouraged to stick to the foot paths to limit damage to surrounding habitats. Also dogs aren't allowed bear wildlife breeding sites at certain times of the year. These meaures help to conserve wildlife so it's available for future generations.
  • Recreational users are encouraged to act responsibly (e.g. close agtes, take litter home) by information at the National Park Forest Centre and local information ponts.
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Tropical rainforests- Deforestation

5 main causes of deforestation:

  • Farming
  • mineral extraction
  • road building
  • population pressure
  • Commercail logging
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Tropical rainforests- Deforestation


Forest is cleared to set up samll subsistence farms or large cattle ranches. Often the "slash and burn" technique is used to clear the forest- vegetation is cut down and left to dry and burn.

Mineral extraction:

Minerals (e.g. gold and iron ore) are mined and sold to make money. Trees are cut down to expose ground and to clear access routes.

Commercial logging:

Trees are felled to make money.

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Tropical rainforests- Deforestation

Population pressures:

As the population in the area increases, trees are cleared to make land for new settlements.

Road building:

More settlements and industry (e.g. logging and mining) lead to more roads being built. Trees along the path of the road have to be cleared to build them.

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Tropical rainforests- case study

Amazon rainforest- 8 million km squared, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador.

1970 over 600,000km squared has been destroyed by deforestation.

1) 60% by cattle ranching

2) 33% by small-scale subsistence farming 

3) 3% by logging

4) 3% by mining, urbanisation, road construction, dams and fires

5) 1% by large scale commercial farming

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Tropical rainforests- impacts of deforestation

Environmental impacts:

  • Habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity, e.g. the number of endangered species in Brazil increased from 218 in 1989 to 628 in 2008.
  • The Amazon stores around 100 billion tonnes of carbon- deforestation will release some of this as carbon dioxide, which causes global warming.

Social impacts:

  • Local ways of life have been affected e.g. some Brazilian rubber tappers have lost their livelihoods as rubber trees have been cut down.
  • Native tribes are forced to move e.g. some of the Gurani tribe in brazil have moved because their land was taken for cattle ranching and sugarplantations.
  • There's conflict between large landowners, subsistence farmers and native people e.g. in 2009 there were riots in Peru over rainforest destruction and hundereds of native indians were killed or injured.
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Tropical rainforests- impacts of deforestation

Economic impacts:

  • Farming makes a lot of money for countries in the rainforest, e.g. in 2008, Brazil made $6.9 billion dollars from trading cattle.
  • The mining industry creates jobs for loads of people, e.g. the Buenaventura Mining Company in Peru emplys over 3100 people. 
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Tropical rainforests- sustainable management

  • Some deforested areas are being replanted with trees e.g. Peru plans to replant more than 100,000 km squared of forest before 2018.
  • Some countries are trying to reduce the number of hardwood trees felled e.g. Brazil has banned mahogany logging in 2001 and seizes timber from illegal logging companies.
  • Ecotourism is becoming more popular, e.g. Madre de Dios region in Peru has around 70 lodges for ecotourists- 60,000 people visited th region in 2007.
  • Most countries have environmental laws to help protect the rainforest, e.g. the Brazilian Forest code says that landowners have to keep 50-80% of their land as forest.
  • Some countries have National parks, e.g. the Central Amazon Conservation Complex in Brazil is the largest protected in the rainforest, covering around 25,000km squared. It's a Qorl Heritage Site that's home to loads of ecosystems and animals like black caimans and river dolphins.
  • Reducing Debt helps countries conserve their rainfores e.g. in 2008 the USA reduced Peru's debt by $25 million in exchange for conserving its rainforest. 
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Deserts- case study, poor region

Kalahari Desert- case study

  • Hot deserts in poorer areas are used for Farming, and hunting and gathering.
  • Has an area of 260,000km squared. It covers most of Botswana and parts of Zimbabwe, Namibia, and South Africa. 
  • Sparsely populated, there are native people that live there e.g. Tswana
  • Lots of mining; coal, diamond, gold, copper and uranium mines.
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Deserts- case study, poor region

Some uses of Kalahari have negative impacts:

  • Overgrazing of land has caused soil erosion, irrigation has depleted groundwater supplies.
  • Fences put up by farmers have blocked migration routes of wild animals, e.g. wildebeest.
  • Mining and farming have led to native people being forced off their land.
  • Mining uses a lot of water from boreholes. This is depleting groundwater supplies.
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Deserts- case study, poor region

Management strategies being carried out in Kalahari:

  • Some places are trying to conserve water, e.g. Windhoek in Namibia people are charged for the volume of water they use. This encourages them to use less. This is more sustainable because the water supplies aren't depleted as much and so there'll be more in the future.
  • Some agricultural fences have been removed to allow animals to migrate. This is sustainable because fewer animals will die, so they will be around in the future.
  • Water supply all over the Kalahari is being increased by building dams and drilling more boreholes. This allows more farming and reduces the the effects of the drought, but isn't sustainable as it depletes the groundwater supply even more. 
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Deserts- case study, rich region

Mojave Desert

  • In the USA, covers over 57,00km squared and includes California, Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
  • Less than 250mm of rain per year.
  • Pupulation is increasing in places like Las Vegas, people retiring there due to good weather all year round.
  • 80% people live in Arizona are over 65.
  • Popular tourist destination, Death Valley National park gets aroung ! million people per year, Attracted by horse riding, wildlife, camping and hiking.
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Deserts- case study, rich region

Some uses of the Mojave have a negative impact:

  • Rapid population growth (including retirement migrants) has depleted water resources.
  • Farming uses lots of water, and it can cause soil erosion.
  • Tourists deplete watre resources, drop litter, damage plants and cause soil erosion, by using off-road vehichles.
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Deserts- case study, rich region

Management strategies:

  • water conservation schemes in the area e.g. the Mojave Water Agency gives people vouchers to buy water efficient toilets and washing machines. They also pay people to remove grass lawns (which need a lot of water). These things are more sustainable because they don't deplet water supplies as much so there's more for future generations.
  • There are designated roads for off-road vehichles, and sensitive areas are fenced off so thhey can't get in. This is sutainable because it helps conserve the plant life for future generations.
  • Some hotels in Las Vegas are trying to sonserve the water e.g. the MGM Mirage Hotels use drp-irrigation to water lawns. This is more sustainable as it doesn't use as much water as other irrigation methods, so conserves more water for the future.
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