Battle for the Biosphere Year 11 revision Key terms Key term Definition Abiotic Non – living things (air, water, soil, climate) Altitude: The height of something above sea level expressed in metres. Biodiversity The number and variety of living species found in a specific area Biofuels Fuel sources derived from agricultural crops Biome A plant and animal community covering a large area of the Earth’s surface Biosphere The living part of the earth (e.g. plants and animals) Biotic factors Living things (plants, animals, bacteria) CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – an international agreement Conservation Managing the environment in order to preserve, protect or restore it Deforestation The chopping down and removal of trees to clear an area of forest. (Afforestation = replanting new trees) (Temperatures drop roughly 0.5oC for every 100metre increase in latitude) Key terms Key term Definition Degradation The social, economic and environmental decline of an area Ecosystem The community of plants and animals in a given habitat together with their non-living environment Evapo transpiration Water loss from plants via evaporation and transpiration Fauna Animals Flora Plants Gene pool The genetic material contained by a specific population Hydrological cycle The global stores of water, and linking processes that connect them Infiltration The process whereby water soaks into the soil and rock Interdependence When two things rely on each other Key terms Key term Definition Latitude The position of a place north or south of the equator, expressed in degrees Ramsar The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty for the conservation and wise use of wetlands Services Things that are provided, bought and sold that are not tangible. Superpower countries The world’s most powerful and influential nations – the USA and, increasingly, China and India Sustainability The ability to keep something (such as quality of life) going at the same rate or level. From this stems the idea that the current generation of people should not damage the environment in ways that will threaten future generations’ environment (or quality of life) Sustainable development Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising (limiting) the ability of future generations to meet their own needs Unsustainable Unable to be kept going at the same rate/level Key facts: Ecosystems Key facts: The biosphere life-support system The biosphere’s interaction with other parts of the physical world. Key facts: Latitude The sun’s rays are more spread out at the poles, meaning the temperature is lower The sun’s rays are more concentrated at the equator, meaning the temperature is higher Latitude: The position of a place north or south of the equator, expressed in degrees. Biomes The largest ecosystems in the world are called biomes. Tropical forests They are hot and humid and contain a huge variety of plants and animals - around half of all the world's species. The trees are mostly hardwood. The climate is called equatorial. Found near the equator in Central and South America, parts of Africa and Asia. Savannah (or tropical grasslands) Hot and dry, dominated by grass, scrub and occasional trees. They have two distinct seasons - a dry season when much of the vegetation dies back, and a rainy season when it grows rapidly. Found in central Africa (e.g. Kenya), northern Australia and central South America Desert The driest and hottest of areas. The world's largest desert is the Sahara in North Africa. Areas of scrub land that border the desert are called desert scrub. Mediterranean Climates are not too hot or cold. They are found around the Mediterranean Sea, near Cape Town in South Africa and Melbourne in Australia. Temperate grasslands Dominated by grass and trees and large bushes are scarce. They have a temperate continental climate - the weather is mild with moderate rainfall. Grasslands include the Puszta in Hungary, and the Prairies in the USA. Temperate deciduous forests Contain trees that lose their leaves and are found across Europe and USA. The weather is mild and wet. The climate is called temperate maritime. Coniferous forests Contain evergreen trees and are found in Scandinavia, Russia and Canada. They have a cool climate with moderate rainfall called cool temperate. Mountain Areas can be very cold at night and during winter. The growing season is short and at higher levels trees will not grow. Tundra Surrounds the North and South poles. They have an extremely cold climate, with limited numbers of plants and animals able to survive there. Biome distribution The two main factors that control what ecosystems are like and where they can be found are: • latitude (distance from the equator) and • altitude (height above sea level) Latitude and altitude also control precipitation (rain) and temperature. Therefore ecosystems change depending on the altitude and latitude they are found at. e.g. the type of ecosystem found at the top of a mountain is often very different one found at the bottom. Biome distribution example: Tropical rainforest • • Between 10o north and south of the equator Here the sun’s rays are concentrated, heating moist air and causing it to rise. Heavy rainfall is the result – perfect conditions for evergreen rainforest. • The largest continuous area of tropical rainforest is in South America • E.g. Brazil, Indonesia Biome distribution example: Hot deserts Deserts cover about one fifth of the Earth's land surface. Most Hot and Dry Deserts are near the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. • • • Hot and Dry Deserts temperature ranges from 20 to 25° C. The extreme maximum temperature for Hot Desert ranges from 43.5 to 49° C. • Hot and Dry Deserts usually have very little rainfall and/or concentrated rainfall in short periods between long rainless periods. This averages out to under 15 cm a year. Hot and Dry Deserts are warm throughout the autumn and spring seasons, and very hot during the summer. Winters usually have very little if any rainfall. The biosphere and the hydrological (water) cycle: The biosphere and the hydrological cycle: The biosphere and the hydrological cycle: The biosphere (e.g. trees and the soil) supports the hydrological cycle in many ways: • • • • Trees can also help reduce hazards such as flooding because they absorb lots of water and prevent it from running off into rivers. The leaves on trees can intercept rainwater and therefore protect the soil from being eroded (washed away) The soil also acts as a store for water. Trees take up water from the soil through their roots and this water eventually ends up back in the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. The carbon cycle How the biosphere regulates carbon: The Carbon Cycle The nutrient cycle Biomass Litter The total mass of living organisms, mainly plant tissue The amount of organic matter, including humus and leaf litter, in the soil. Soil nutrients Soil absorbs nutrients from the decaying litter. The nutrient cycle Biomes – Goods and Services • Goods – products and items sourced from the biome for survival or commercial use. • Services – measures the biome takes to serve the planet e.g. regulating the composition of the atmosphere, maintaining the health of the soil. Biomes – Goods Biosphere goods Good Details Food When population numbers are low, natural ecosystems can be sustainably harvested, e.g. Through fruit and berry picking. With larger populations, there is more pressure to replace natural vegetation with commercial crops. A good e.g. Cereal production in central parts of USA. ‘America’s bread basket’ is a region where naturally occurring grasses have been replaced by wheat and corn – increasingly used for the production of bio fuels as well as food. Medicines Many naturally occurring substances act as medicines and remedies. E.g. Quinine is a plant extract found in the tropical rainforest native tribes paralyse animals with darts dipped in quinine. We call this natural store of medicines the gene pool. Genes are the building blocks of life found in the cells of plants and animals. The biosphere provides raw materials for industrial activities. The most Raw materials important of these is the wood for the construction of houses and boats. Roofing material for thatched roofs also came from plants. In the dry savannah grasslands of countries like Kenya, trees have evolved to store water so they can survive long periods of drought. The baobab tree has a trunk that stores water like a barrel. It is a vital source of water for people living in rural areas where rainfall is rare. Biosphere services Service Details Green lungs • • Water control • • • Forests remove CO2 from the atmosphere. This reduces global warming Forests give out O2 – purifying the atmosphere Forests protect watersheds from soil erosion and intercept precipitation – preventing flash flooding By trapping silt, forests keep water pure Reefs and mangroves provide protection from costal storms Nutrient cycling • Forests provide leaf litter which forms humus. This makes the soil more fertile for growing crops Providing habitats for wildlife/ biodiversity • Rainforests and reefs are very biodiverse. They provide ‘homes’ for a huge range of organisms, including some very rare animals Recreation • Reefs and rainforests provide attractive scenery for tourism Biomes – Goods and Services Biomes – Goods and Services Key: Goods Services They regulate the hydrological cycle They are a source of Illegal drugs like cocaine They are a unique biome They provide saleable commodities like Rubber and timber Many indigenous people in rainforests live the way they have lived for centuries they can teach us a lot 25% of all cancer fighting drugs are found in the rainforest Over 50% of the biological diversity on Earth is found in tropical rainforests Plants from rainforests are used in the contraceptive pill One rainforest drug is used to help diabetics Small monkeys called marmosets from rainforests are used to test drugs before human tests One rainforest drug, Rosie Periwinkle improved childhood leukaemia sufferers survival chance from 10 to 90% They provide homes for many endangered animals species- such as Orang-Utans, Bonobos, Poison Arrow frogs, etc Rainforests are places we can visit on treks and holidays, providing us with ecotourism. They provide 80% of all western foods- like pineapple, coffee They provide nutrients for soil to be productive They store carbon, a contributor to global warming The Destruction of the Amazon Impact of people on the rainforest FACTOR DESCRIPTION IMPACT EXAMPLE Deforestation Logging is the process whereby trees are removed in order to make things with the wood. Commercial logging destroys forest unless sustainable forestry principles are used. It affects rates of flooding, soil erosion and humus formation. Logging in the rainforests of the Amazon and Indonesia. Mining and energy Mining is the process whereby trees are removed in order to find precious minerals. Mining cuts away whole hillsides. Opencast mining destroys the surface and restoration is only partly successful. Oil drilling also takes places in areas of rainforest. Removal of forests for mining iron ore and bauxite in the Brazilian Amazon. Tin mining in Malaysia. Drilling for oil also began in the Amazon in 2008. Impact of people on the rainforest FACTOR DESCRIPTION IMPACT EXAMPLE / WHERE Introduction of alien species Bringing in species of plant or animal that are not native to the area Sometimes we introduce new species deliberately, or they escape (e.g. Foxes in Australia). More usually they arrive by accident, or through new housing and gardens. Alien species often breed well and take over. Invasive plant species brought in as crops or garden plants on edges of the Daintree rainforest (Australia). Cats and dogs hunt and feed on birds and small rodents in the Daintree communities. Removal of trees to make room for cattle ranching or new/bigger urban (built up) areas. Commercial intensive farming destroys or alters the ecosystem. Urban sprawl destroys ecosystems and encourages wildfires Cattle faming in the Amazon has removed natural rainforest. Soya beans are grown for biofuels. Conversion to farmland or urban use The urban sprawl of Brasilia, the capital city. Climate Change, Pollution & the Biosphere Polluting the biosphere: • Climate change is caused by greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane. Direct threats to biomes can be managed and reduced by countries, but indirect threats are much harder to manage. The main indirect threat is global warming. Global warming is occurring too rapidly for many species to adapt to the changing climate. A rise of 3o could happen by 2060. Some scientists think this could lead to some species extinction...already: Plants are flowering earlier Bird migration patterns are changing The Arctic tundra is warming rapidly Vegetation zones are shifting towards the poles by 6km every 10 years Managing our biosphere Methods of biosphere management Method Description Scale CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – an international agreement. (global) Rainforest conservation Managing the rainforest in order to preserve and protect it. (global) National Parks An area of countryside, or occasionally sea or fresh water, protected by the state for the enjoyment of the general public or the preservation of wildlife. Covers 13% of earth’s surface. World Heritage A natural or man-made site, area, or structure recognized as being of outstanding international Sites importance and therefore as deserving special protection. Sites are nominated to and designated by the World Heritage Convention (an organization of UNESCO). Over 950 worldwide. Wetland management Management of wetland areas. The Ramsar Convention has achieved real success, protecting wetlands everywhere from unsustainable overexploitation. (local) (local) (global) What is sustainable development? “Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations.” Learn! Sustainable management of our biosphere: Social = Economic = Environmental = Sustainable management: Improved infrastructure means more tourists are attracted, that spend money in local businesses. (soc/econ) Sustainability Money earned ensures people have adequate housing, electricity & water (env/soc/econ/sus) Economic Improved infrastructure attracts more investment & business (soc/econ) Locals have jobs as forest rangers (env/soc/econ/sus) Money earned pays for children to go to Environmental school (soc/econ) Locals are encouraged to look after forest and protect animals as these attract tourists and provide an income (env/soc/econ/sus) Hunting is kept to a Only certain trees are minimum and allowed to be felled and endangered species forest is allowed to reare protected generate (env/soc/econ/sus) (env) Social Locals have jobs as wildlife Spotters (env/soc/econ/sus) Rich biodiversity (env) Forest growing freely (env) Money earned pays for doctors & health programmes (soc/econ) Money earned pays for improved infrastructure such as roads (econ) Employment provides people with skills, pride & helps reduce crime (soc/econ) Case study: sustainable management Deforestation was one of the highest rates in the world, but now most of the Costa Rica’s rainforest have become national parks. Small scale tourism is good because there is little environmental damage Talamanca, Costa Rica (central America) Locals are have found ways of earning money from the forests without cutting them down. The forests in Costa Rica attract lots of tourists A problem with small scale tourism is that it does not bring in enough revenue. Case study: Talamanca, Costa Rica • Small scale forestry with a long-term view. • To ensure the forest was farmed sustainably, they: • Do not cut trees down – they only collect timber from fallen trees. They use buffalo to remove the wood, so there is no need to build roads. • Timber has been used to build a tourist lodge, so avoid depending on only one resource (now having farming, timber, and tourism) The lodge is a way of protecting the forest as here they can educate the tourists about it. • Plant crops in the spaces between trees • Plant a variety of crops in amongst the others, copying the rainforest’s natural growth patterns. • Local communities sceptical at first, but now on board Videos: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. World Biomes: An Introduction to Climate Photosynthesis Rainforest processes - Costa Rica The carbon cycle 1 The carbon cycle 2 Climate Change Impacts on Biodiversity Rainforest sustainability - Costa Rica 1 Rainforest sustainability – Costa Rica 2 Links: Costa Rica - TALAMANCA INITIATIVE Past GCSE questions: A 1. Describe the distribution of tropical rainforests (2 marks) 2. Outline how altitude affects biome location (2 marks) 3. Explain how temperature and precipitation (climate) affect the distribution of global biomes. (4 marks) 4. “The destruction of some forests has made us more aware of the benefits they can provide.” Explain the value of a biome you have studied. (4 marks) 5. Using examples, describe how the biosphere provides people with a range of goods and services. (4 marks) 6. Describe two ways in which the biosphere acts as a life support system (4 marks) Past GCSE questions: B 7. Explain the role of human activity in the destruction of tropical rainforest (6 marks) 8. Suggest two reasons why many rainforest areas are being cut down (deforestation). (2 marks) 9. Describe two effects of deforestation on the environment. (4 marks) 10.Explain how climate change can lead to degradation of the biosphere (4 marks) 11. Describe two ways humans can harm (damage) the biosphere (4 marks) Past GCSE questions: C 13.Describe one way in which people are trying to conserve the biosphere. (2 marks) 14.Describe one way of conserving threatened environments. (2 marks) 15.Describe two ways of conserving (protecting) threatened environments. (4 marks) 16.Describe one management measure that can be used to conserve the biosphere. (2 marks) 17.Using examples explain how management measures can help to conserve the biosphere (6 marks) Good luck!