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Flashcards in Case study- amazon rainforest Deck (8)
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What are the characteristics of the Amazon rainforest?

  • Mostly located within the tropics and within the equatorial belt. An area of 5 degrees either side of the equator.
  • Ideal growing conditions provided.
  • Almost 50 million species of aminals and up to 480 species of trees per hectare.
  • Fight for sunlight results in stratification.
  • A low temp range, average 28 degrees.
  • High rainfall, daily convectional storms.
  • 2000mm of rain each year.
  • No defined seasons.
  • High humidity due to rapid evapotranspiration.

Describe the water cycle in the TRF?


(See Diagram)

  • Rainfall occurs in daily downpours.
  • 25% evaporates while 75% is used by plants and returns as transpiration.
  • Dense canopy intercepts most rainfall, some will evaporate.
  • Transferred to forest floor by drip flow and stemflow.
  • Plants have shallow roots to directly absorb rainwater and nutrients.
  • Water only stored in the soil store for a short period of time before utilisation.

Describe the carbon cycle in the TRF?


(See diagram)

Store 2100g c/m2 per year

  • Warm wet conditions are ideal for plant growth which encourages photosynthesis and allows plants to absorb a high level of co2.
  • Wood is 50% carbon so huge carbon stores.
  • Respiration by trees and animals return co2 to the atmosphere.
  • Decomposition is an active process as thrives in warm wet conditions.

Deforestation and its causes?


Deforestation is the removal of trees without adequate replanting.
- 95% of deforestation occurs in the tropics.


  • Agriculture
  • Logging
  • Hydroelectricity
  • Settlements
  • Roads and railways

What are the consequences of deforestation in the rainforest?

  • Evapotranspiration can no longer occur so runoff increases and precipitation decreases.
    Recycled rainfall no longer occurs.
  • Photosynthesis ceases until new pants are able to colonize the area. Reduces the amount of co2 stored.
  • 137 species of animals extinct per day.
  • Deforestation largely due to fires which release harmful black smoke into the atmosphere as well as releasing previously stored carbon.
  • Up to 10% of the world’s species will die out within the next 25 years due to loss of habitat caused by deforestation and land used for settlements and farming.
  • Decomposers become largely absent

How can the forest be used in a more sustainable way? (Ecotourism/ sustainable tourism)

  • Restrict visitor access to walkways, there are centers for research and education to try to generate the importance of protection laws.
  • Sepilock, is also an important conservation site that helped Malaysian government invest more resources into protecting rainforest.

How can the forest be used in a more sustainable way?

Alley cropping

  • An alternative to slash and burn and offers a sustainable farming solution.
  • Fast growing saplings planted on previously farmed land, trees form a canopy, creates dark space where plants die. This returns nutrients to the ground and plants can grow again.

How can the forest be used in a more sustainable way?

Nature reserves and national parks

  • Help to protect species and reserves also allow tourism to happen (brings income) while still protecting wildlife and the environment.
  • Area should be protected and developed to create income for local communities.
  • May be difficult to fund long term, if governments only look at short term approach of money.