Flashcards in Taiga Forest and it's Conservation Deck (25):
Why does the Taiga need protection?
- Taiga forests cover a huge area and a lot of them are inaccessible and very remote, however humans activity is expanding into these wilderness areas.
- Plants grow very slowly due to long, cold winters and lack of nutrients.
- Takes a long time to recover from damage.
- Decomposition happens slowly and pollution stays.
- Few species in the Taiga.
- One disease in the Taiga can wipe out multiple species at once.
What pressures are in the Taiga Wilderness for development and what countries can they be found in?
- Most in Russia, Scandinavia and Canada.
- Oil, gas and mineral extraction and HEP.
- Timber for paper making and construction.
Why should we protect the Taiga?
- It is a fragile ecosystem meaning it takes a long time to recover from damage.
- Animals and plants are highly specialised.
- Plants grow slowly.
- Very few species.
How does the Wilderness in the Taiga conserve the Taiga and what challenges do they face?
- Isolated, hard places to reach - little human interference.
- In US wilderness, motorised transport is not allowed, recreation is allowed - camping, and logging, mining and road building are banned.
- Highest level of protection in an ecosystem - aim to stop all development.
- Large, remote areas are hard to police.
- Pressure from companies and tourists to build roads to allow greater access.
How do National Parks conserve the Taiga and what challenges do they face?
- Aim to protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
- May be established to protect particular species.
- Cover a large area.
- Logging and mining is not permitted.
- Animals aim to migrate across large distances, the animal species once they leave, they are not under protection.
- Good access for tourists and recreation use.
- Take in needs of indigenous people who may use the land for hunting.
- Tourism may be required to pay for conservation, access roads, infrastructure and pollution from tourists can damage the ecosystem.
Why is Taiga an interdependent ecosystem?
- All parts rely on each other, if one part of it changes, everything else is affected.
Examples of Taiga's interdependent ecosystem.
- Plants gain nutrients from soil, provide nutrients to animals that eat them.
- Animals spread seeds through dung, helping plants to reproduce.
- Cold climate leads to slow growth of plants and causes slow decomposition meaning soil is low in nutrients, reducing ability of plants to grow.
- Herbivores rely on plants to survive must migrate to areas where plants are able to grow so they can eat.
- Carnivores have to follow the herbivores.
- In summer, trees absorb heat from sun and shade ground below preventing permafrost from thawing. Permafrost provides water for plants.
- Changes to components can have knock on effects (cutting trees) by causing permafrost to melt, melting permafrost can lead to flooding of land preventing plant growth, also releases green house gases leading to increased global warming and threatening animals and plants.
What is the structure of Taiga compared to the TR?
- Simpler, lots of tall trees grow quite together and not much else.
- Minimal plants on forest floor as the soils are poor and very little light gets through dense canopy.
- Most trees are coniferous - adapted to cold, dry climate.
What are trees like in the Taiga?
- Evergreen, don't drop leaves in a particular season so they can make the best use of light.
- Have needles instead of leaves reducing water loss from strong, cold winds due to reduced surface area.
- Cone shaped meaning that heavy snowfall can slide straight off the branches without breaking them.
- Branches also quite bendy so they're less likely to snap.
What are the animals like in the Taiga?
- Larger mammals are migratory, they move long distances to find food.
- Many animals are well-insulated against the winter cold.
- Some animals hibernate to conserve energy and survive the winter.
- Some animals have white coats in winter so they are camouflaged in the snow helping them hide from predators, also a disadvantage as this helps predators sneak up on prey.
Why does slow nutrient cycling lead to slow plant growth in Taiga?
- Few nutrients are added through precipitation or weathering, quite a lot of nutrients added are lost through runoff and leaching.
- Most nutrients are stored in dead organic material (litter).
- Cold, dry climate means nutrient cycling is much slower than TR.
- Little rain or snow, few nutrients introduced.
- Runoff causing nutrients to go away.
- Low evaporation leads to leaching.
- Slow breakdown of rock, few nutrients added to the soil.
Litter in the Taiga.
- Trees are evergreen, needles drop all year round.
- Low temperatures mean it takes a long time for litter to be broken down and added to soil, conditions to harsh for decomposers, soil isn't fertile.
- Cold climate means plants grow slowly, rate of transfer of nutrients from soil to plants is low.
Why is Taiga's biodiversity low?
- Land much colder and covered by ice until around 15000 years ago, species have had little time to adapt to climate.
- Simple structure means theres not many habitats so fewer variety of species.
- Low production, plants grow slowly and nutrients take a long time to be returned to soil because its so cold.
- Growing season is very short, few months in summer meaning not much food available so constant struggle for survival.
- Some groups of animals are under represented as they can't cope with cold climate.
Why is Taiga mainly exploited?
- To make money so trees are chopped down for wood and paper in the search for minerals and to satisfy the worlds demand for energy.
How and why is the Taiga logged for softwood?
- Trees are cut down so they can be used for housing, furniture and matches.
How is Taiga exploited for fossil fuels?
- Trees cleared to extract gas and oil from the ground.
How and why is the Taiga exploited for pulp and paper production?
- Felled trees are mashed into a pulp and used to make paper.
Why and what are the effects of exploitation on the Taiga for HEP?
- Dams to generate HEP from rivers on Taiga forests can flood large areas of land.
Why is the Taiga exploited for minerals?
- Taiga forests are rich in minerals so lots of trees are chopped down to make way for mines as well as access roads.
How does acid precipitation occur and how does it cause loss of biodiversity?
- Burning fossil fuels releases gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
- These dissolve in water in the atmosphere to from acids so when it rains or snows the acids re deposited on plants and soils.
- Acid rain damages plants' leaves and makes it harder or them to cope with cold, it can also make the soils too acidic to support growth and kills organism in lakes and streams.
How do pests and diseases cause loss of biodiversity?
- Damage organisms.
- Can be specific to one species as there is a particular species of trees in one area so its easy for the diseases to spread and multiply.
- Thought that warming caused by climate change is making it easier for pests and disease causing pathogens to survive, new attacks arriving and frequency of attack is increasing.
How do forest fires cause loss of biodiversity?
- Wildfires are natural part of the ecosystem, allow new growth and regenerate the forest.
- However, it's thought climate change is leading to warmer, drier conditions which increases the frequency of fires and making the fire season longer.
- Can destroy huge numbers of trees and may change the distribution go species as some species are better at recolonising areas. May also break forests up into smaller sections, making it hard for migratory animals that need a lot of space to find food.
How does sustainable forestry conserve the Taiga and what challenges does it face?
- Ways of harvesting the timber from the forest without damaging it in the long term.
- Limits can be placed on number of trees felled or size of clear cut area to allow forest regeneration.
- Companies may be required to regenerate area after logging.
- Selective Logging means some trees rain to become part of new forest.
- Some countries struggle to enforce restrictions due to illegal logging.
- May be lack of clear management or info about ecosystem.
- Different groups may not agree with rules and restrictions.
What is the view on protecting the Taiga?
- Store lots of carbon, deforestation will release some of this as CO2 which causes global warming.
- Some species are only found in Taiga as they are adapted to the conditions and the destruction of the habitat could lead to extinction.
- Indigenous people depend on the forest for a traditional way of life.