A2 Geography Ecosystems

Non-living components of an ecosystem and includes; climate, soil characteristics, parent rock, air, relief and drainage characteristics
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Arresting Factors
The factors that cause succession to be interrupted
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Green plants that photosynthesise to produce food to support trophic levels above them
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Azonal Soil
Immature soil with poorly developed profile eg. Volcanic soil
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The variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or on Earth
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The total mass of living organisms present in a community at any one time - kg/m2
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A major global ecosystem influenced by climate
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Community of interdependent living components in an ecosystem
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These occur when the wind causes erosion of the dune rather than deposition. They can take place naturally due to severe weather events, but many of the blowouts that we see around the British coast have occurred due to degradation of the vegetation
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Brown Earth
A zonal soil for temperate deciduous woodland, commonly on clay soils
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Calcium is no longer removed if leaching is limited and so it accumulates
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An animal that only eats meat; trophic level 3
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A sequence of soils down slopes
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Cation Exchange
The chemical replacement of cations within the soil
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Organic-metal compounds are soluble and easily transported down the profile
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Climatic climax vegetation
The final stage in succession, the richest community for a climate
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First plants to invade
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The entire variety of species that are found in one ecosystem
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The protection and possible enhancement of natural environments to ensure their survival for future use
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Organisms that take the remains of dead plants and animals, as well as excreted waste and concert them back to CO2 and nutrients
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The deliberate clearance of forest from land by cutting or burning. Causes Plagioclimax vegetation
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Organisms that brake down leaves and dead animals, reducing them by decomposition back into soil nutrients
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The study of communities of living organisms
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A dynamic, stable, community of interdependent living (biotic) and non living components (abiotic)
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Process of washing out of materials in suspension
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Food Chain
A sequence of energy transfers from on trophic level to another. A food web is a more realistic and complex sequence.
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Fragile Environment
One which is easily disturbed and that lacks resilience to change
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Reduction of ferric to ferrous iron under waterlogged conditions
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Specific locations with a particular set of conditions and an appropriately adapted community
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An animal that only eats plants; trophic level 2
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A distinct horizontal layer in a soil profile
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Decomposed organic matter in the Ao horizon
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Soil organisms break down organic matter to form humus
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Process of deposition or washing in of soil material from the A to the B horizon in a podsol
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Removal of base cations from the soil by acidic rainwater where precipitation exceeds evaporation
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Small specific locations e.g. under a leaf
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Plantations that produce only one species of tree or one type of food
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Organic Farming
Farming using natural manures and avoids the use of chemical pesticides
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Nutrient Cycling
The cycling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus taken up by plants, passed up to herbivores, carnivores and then broken down by detritivores who reduce them by decompostition back into soil nutrients
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The process in green plants by which carbohydrates are synthesised from CO2 and water using light as an energy source, and producing oxygen as a by product.
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Pioneer Species
Plants which invade bare ground, hardy and adapted to harsh environments
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Plant community halted by human activity
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A zonal soil under coniferous forest and heath land especially on sandy, free-draining parent rock.
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Primary Consumer
AKA Herbivores - animals that obtain their energy from eating green plants
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Primary Succession
A process where an area is vegetated
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The rate of creation of living matter by photosynthesis
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A succession on sand dunes
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Weathered rock debris
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Process, by which salts are drawn to the surface by strong evaporation
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Secondary Consumers
AKA Carnivores - meat eaters
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Secondary Succession
A succession which occurs on a previously vegetated surface that has been distrubed
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A stage in the development of a plant community
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Soul Acidity/Profile/Structure/Texture
The concentration of hydrogen ions in soil/vertical section through the soil to show horizons/the arrangement of soil particles/relative proportion of sizes of clay sand and silt.
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A series of changes that take place in a plant community over time
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The capacity to endure, in ecology the word describes how biological systems remain diverse and productive over time.
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The movement of soil components up or down through the profile
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Trophic Level
A level in which energy is transferred from one group of organisms to another
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Urban Niche
Colonisation of wasteland; the development of distinctive ecologies along routeways
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Process which breaks down rocks in situ
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Zonal Soils
A major group of mature soils which reflect the climate and vegetation of the area in which they are found
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Units within biomes
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


The factors that cause succession to be interrupted


Arresting Factors

Card 3


Green plants that photosynthesise to produce food to support trophic levels above them


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


Immature soil with poorly developed profile eg. Volcanic soil


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


The variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or on Earth


Preview of the back of card 5
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