Tropical rainforest (case study, Amazon)

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  • Created by: Kelleigh
  • Created on: 02-06-13 17:11

General information

Distribution - found in a broad belt through the tropics - from central/south America, central Africa and Northern Australia

Climate - Very high temperatures (average = 27 degrees) - plentifull supply of rainfall (over 2,000mm a year) - ideal conditions for plant growth

Soils - Surprisingly infertile, most nutrients found on the surface - dead leaves decompose rapidly in hot climate, trees and plants have shallow roots to absorb nutrients and fungi growing on the roots (transfer from air) - After heavy rainfall, rain dissolves and carries nutrients away (leaching) it leaves behind an infertile, red soil called latosa = rich in iron and acidic

Animals - largest number of plants and animals in biome - birds and monkeys (adapted) live in canopy, deer live on the forest floor eating seeds and berries

Vegetation - wide variety (100 in hectare), trees= 45m, lush and dense vegetation, dark and damp - clear stratification, leaves are adapted to twist and turn to face the sun

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The Amazon Rainforest, characteristics

climate - high humidity, hot temperatures (28-32), 2,000mm of rainfall a year

soils - deep soils formed by vast weathering of rock due to ideal climate- soil is infertile through leaching and nutrients is taken up rapidly by plants and animals - nutrients are on the surface (buttress roots)

Vegetation - fungi and termites break down vegetationa dn release nutrients (decomposition) - Parasitic plants feed off others and grow in branches - some plants send roots out of trees to capture nutrients in air - some plants have adapted to dark - fruits and animals in canopy as most light and stay away from predators - flooded forest, adapted to be submerged - layer structure based on climate (shrub, undercanopy, canopy, emergent trees) - 50% of plants and animals (large biodiversity), others climb (lianas), others grow tall and straight, branchless (mahogony)

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The Amazon Rainforest, exploited

farming (33%) - poor crops = farmers annoyed - migration to Rhondonia, Amazon because government offered free land to take pressure off cities

mining (3%) - men, women and children - chemicals and soil get washed into rivers, causes flooding and harm fish (and food chains) - cociterite mine (gold, copper, etc) - ugly scars on landscape - people rarely recieve £10 a day - Bonifitura mine - US$6,000 per tonne of tin

Cattle ranching (60%) - unfertile land through deforestation - beef market in Brazil, when land is poor, they move to new land and cut down trees - Dallas ranch, 2,000 cattle on 3,000hectares of land (medium sized - 15,000 hectares = large)

Logging (3%) - 4,000 sawmills in Amazonia - for 1 mahogony, 28 are damaged - only 2 per hectare so roads are cut to get to them as they are most valuable - £500 per square metre of mahogony - trees cut down for transport routes to mahogony

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The Amazon Rainforest, effects

social - native tribes are forced to move (Guarani tribe in Brazil have moved because there land was taken for cattle ranching and sugar plantations) - conflict between large landowners and subsistence owners and native people, in 2009 there were riots in Peru over rainforest destruction and hundreds of native indians were killed - local ways of life have been affected, some Brazilian rubber tappers have lost their livelihoods as rubber trees have been cut down

economic - quality of life has improved due to new jobs - farming makes a lot of money, in 2008 Brazil made $6.9 million from trading cattle - mining industry creates jobs, the Buenventura mining company in Peru employs 3,100 people

environmental - deforestation, destroys habitats, droughts, fewer trees, soil erosion and leaching - chemicals harm wildlife - no. of endangered species in Brazil increased from 218 to 628 in last 20 years - the amazon stores 100 billion tonnes of carbon, adding to global warming - contaminated water

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