Flashcards in Tropical Rainforest and it's Conservation Deck (47):
What makes the rainforest an interdependent ecosystem?
- Warm and wet climate means that plants grow quickly.
- Dense leaf cover protects forest floor from wind and heavy rainfall.
- Root systems hold the soil together stopping it from erosion.
- Lack of wind means plants have to rely on insects to pollinate them.
- Agouti is the only species that can crack a Brazil nut so they sometimes burying which can lead to seed dispersal.
- Epiphytes, plants that grow on other trees, get access to light by getting high up the tree but they don't have access to nutrients and water in the soil.
- Changes to the rainforest ecosystem can have knock on effects on the whole ecosystem. (deforestation can reduce co2 around the whole ecosystem.
What are the characteristics of plants in the emergents section of the rain forest and how have they adapted to the hot, wet climate?
- The tallest trees which poke out of the main canopy layer.
- Straight trunks and only have branches and leaves at the top where they can get light.
- Big roots called buttress roots to support their trunks.
- 30M +
What is the structure in the rainforest like?
- It is layered and stratified effecting how much sunlight can reach the different levels of vegetation.
- Each plants adapt to the conditions in each layer.
What are the characteristics of plants in the main canopy layer of the rain forest and how have they adapted to the hot, wet climate?
- Continuous layer of trees.
- Only have leaves at the top.
- Dense layer of leaves shades the rest of the forest.
What are the characteristics of plants in the under canopy layer of the rainforest and how have they adapted to the hot, wet climate?
- Made up of younger tress that haven't reached their full height yet.
- Can only survive where there are breaks in the canopy to let a little bit of light through.
What are the characteristics of plants in the shrub layer of the rainforest and how have they adapted to the wet hot climate?
- Nearest to the ground where it's quite dark.
- Large, broad leaves to absorb as much of the available light as they can.
What characteristics do plants in general have to survive the conditions of the tropical rainforest?
- Thick, waxy leaves with drip-tips, the drip tips channel the water so it can run off so the water doesn't damage the plant. Also, it doesn't allow water and fungi to grow that way. The wax helps repel the rain.
- Tress have smooth, thin bark as there is no need for the trunk to be protected from cold temperature, the smooth surface allows water to run off.
- Climbing plants, lianas, use the tree trunks to climb up the sunlight.
- Plants drop their leaves throughout they year, meaning they can grow all year round.
How have animals adapted to the physical conditions of the tropical rainforest?
- Some animals spend their entire lives high up in the canopy meaning they have strong limbs so they can climb and leap.
- Some animals have flaps of skin enabling them to glide.
- Some animals are camouflaged so they can hide from predators.
- Some animals are nocturnal so they can feed at night when its cooler, helping them save energy.
- Some animals are adapted to the low light levels on the rainforest floor, some have a sharp sense of smell or hearing so they can detect them without seeing them.
- Some rainforest animals can swim, allowing them to cross river channels.
How do nutrients move through an ecosystem?
- Nutrient cycle.
How are nutrients stored in the tropical rainforest eco system?
- Living organisms, biomass.
- Dead organic material, litter which is fallen leaves.
- The soil.
- They are transferred across these 3 stores.
- In tropical rainforests most nutrients are stored as biomass and the transfer is very rapid due to:
- Evergreen trees so dead leaves and other material falls all year round.
- Warm, moist climate means fungi and bacteria decompose dead organic matter quickly.
- Dense vegetation and rapid plant growth mean that nutrients are rapidly taken up.
What is biodiversity?
- The variety of organisms living in a particular area.
What us biodiversity like in the rainforest?
- Extremely high, contain around 50% of the worlds plant, animal and insect species and may contain around half of all life on earth.
- Rainforest biome has been round from 10M+ years without the climate changing very much so there has been lots of time for plants and animals to evolve to form more species.
- Layered structure of the rainforest provides lots of different habitats, plants and animals adapt to become highly specialised to that environment and food source.
- Stable environment, hot and wet all year round.
- Very productive producing lots of biomass.
- High nutrient cycling
- Plants and animals don't have to cope with changing conditions and there is always plenty to eat so they are able to specialise.
What is a food chain?
- Show whats eaten by what in an ecosystem.
- Start with a producer which are then eaten by primary consumers then secondary consumers and then tertiary consumers.
How do primary sources make their food?-
- By itself by using the energy from the sun.
How are these organisms broken down?
- By decomposers.
What is the effect of high biodiversity on food chains in the tropical rainforest?
- So many different species so there are loads of links that link to different things, therefore, a specie might eat multiple things.
- Animals can be both primary and secondary consumers.
What is deforestation?
The removal of trees form forests.
Why do local people have local demand for fuel wood?
- To use for fuel for cooking or to burn to make charcoal.
Who do people deforest for mineral resources?
- Found in tropical rainforests.
- Explosives are sometimes used to clear earth or deep pits are dug to reach the deposits.
Why do people deforest for HEP (electricity)?
- Large rivers so building dams to generate HEP floods large areas of forest behind dams.
Why do people perform commercial hardwood logging?
- Felled to make furniture and for construction.
- Road building for logging also requires more tree clearance.
Why do people perform commercial farming?
- Forest is cleared to make space forecastle grazing, or for huge palm oil or soya plantations
Why do people perform subsistence farming?
- Forest is cleared so farmers can grow food for themselves and their families.
Why is there high demand for biofuels?
- Fuels made from plants.
- Growing the crops needed to make biofuels takes up large amount of land - trees have to be cut down to make space for them.
What environmental impacts does deforestation have?
- With no trees to hold soil together, heavy rain washes it away leading to landslides and flooding.
- Without a tree canopy to intercept rainfall and tree roots to absorb it, more water reaches the soil reducing soil fertility because nutrients in the soil are washed away out of reach of plants.
What is an indirect threat?
- Things that don't involve deliberately chopping down trees but still lead damage to the ecosystem.
How is climate change an indirect threat to the Tropical Rainforest?
- In some areas, temperature is increasing and rainfall is decreasing which leads to drought.
- Droughts lead to ecosystem stress so plants and animals living in tropical rainforests are adapted to moist conditions so many species die in dry weather.
- Frequent or long periods of drought could lead to extinction of some species.
- Drought can also lead to forest fires, which can destroy large areas of forest.
What is the rate of deforestation in in the Tropical Rainforest?
- Very high, roughly 130,000KM2 per year.
Why are deforestation rates rising globally?
- Poverty due to population growth and poverty mean there are many more small scale subsistence farmers.
- Foreign debt as there is a huge market for goods from tropical rainforests so it is an easy way for developing countries to make money to pay back the debt they owe.
- Economic development as road and rail projects promote development to open up of the rainforest to logging, mining and farming.
Why are deforestation rates decreasing globally?
- Government policies - ecotourism and forest cover is increasing.
- International condemnation as it puts puts pressure on companies by naming those in involved in deforestation, therefore, companies have agreed to zero-deforestation as a result.
- Monitoring systems as GFW has provided satellite data to track forest loss meaning authorities can act more quickly to stop illegal logging.
What is REDD scheme?
- Aims to reward forest owners in developing countries for keeping forests instead of cutting them down.
What are the advantages of the REDD scheme?
- Deals with the cause of climate change as well as direct impacts of deforestation.
- Forest is protected so remains a habitat for species so biodiversity is not lost.
- Everyone benefits from reducing emissions and its a relatively cheap option for doing so.
What are the disadvantages of the REDD scheme?
- Deforestation may continue in another area.
- Aspects of REDD are not clear meaning that it may be possible to cut down rainforests but still receive the rewards if they are replaced with other types of forest.
- Preventing activities may affect local communities who depend on the income of them.
What is the CITES scheme?
- An agreement to tightly control trade of wild animals and plants.
What are the advantages of the CITES scheme?
- Issue is tackled at a global level which means the trade of endangered species is controlled all over the world.
- Raises awareness of threats to biodiversity through education.
What are the disadvantages of CITES scheme?
- Doesn't protect protected individual species' habitat so they can still go extinct due to climate change.
- Some rules are unclear.
- Not all countries are members some countries promote the trade of endangered species material.
What is sustainable forest management?
- When a forest is used in a way that prevents long terms damage whilst allowing people to benefit from the resources it provides in the present and in the future.
- Techniques include selective logging.
What is selective logging?
- Where only certain trees are removed rather than large areas being cleared.
Why does sustainable forest management have economical challenges in the Tropical Rainforest?
- Economic benefits of sustainable management are only seen in the long term, affecting poorer countries who need income immediately.
- Sustainable forest usually more expensive so it can be difficult to persuade private companies to adopt sustainable methods.
- Many SFS are funded by government departments and NGO's, funding can stop quickly if the organisations change.
Why does sustainable forest management have environmental challenges in the Tropical Rainforest?
- If trees are replanted, the new forest may not resemble the natural forest, trees may be replaced but the whole ecosystem will not be restored.
- Tress replanted for logging in future can have a slow growth rate and companies may chop down more natural forest whilst they are waiting for the new trees to mature.
- Selective logging can damage lots of trees in the process of removing the target trees.
Why does sustainable forest management have social challenges in the Tropical Rainforest?
- Sustainable forest management provides fewer jobs for local people so locals won't really see the benefits so some may turn to illegal logging.
- If population of a forest area increases the demand for wood and land from the forest increases, sustainable forestry is unlikely to provide enough resources to match the increasing demands.
What is ecotourism?
- Tourism that minimises damage to the environment and benefits the local people.
Why might ecotourism be a better alternative to protect the tropical rainforest rather than sustainable forest management?
- Only small number of visitors are allowed into an area at a time meaning environmental impacts are minimised. For example, waste and litter are disposed of properly to prevent land and water contamination.
- Provides a source of income for local people as they can act as guides and provide accommodation and also transport. Raises awareness of conservation issues and bring in more money for rainforest conservation.
- If locals are employed they don't have to log or farm for money so less trees are cut.
- If country relies on ecotourism, its an incentive to conserve the environment.
Why does sustainable forestry techniques protect the soil?
- Land remains productive; no need to clear land every few years.
Agro forestry: a sustainable forestry technique.
- Trees and crops are planted at the same time so that the tree roots bid the soil and the leaves protect it from heavy rain.
Green Manure: a sustainable forestry technique.
- Plants which add nutrients to the soil as they grow are planted to maintain soil fertility.