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To understand the global distribution of three

ecosystems so that we can explain the variations
within the characteristics of each.
To know that, on a world scale, climate is
the main factor determining the nature
and extent of natural vegetation cover.
- to understand the term ‘biome’.
- to learn the names of the world’s main
- to be able to describe the changes in
vegetation cover from the equator to
the polar regions.

Starter: Tropical
Rainforest - Brazil

Starter: Tundra
in Colorado

Starter: Desert in
Merzouga, Morocco

To understand energy flows within ecosystems so that we
can successfully answer and exam question.

To understand energy flows within ecosystems so that we
can successfully answer and exam question.

To understand energy flows within ecosystems so that we
can successfully answer and exam question.

To be able to understand the material cycling and stores in the
ecosystem so that we can successfully answer an exam question.

To be able to understand the material cycling and stores in the ecosystem so that we can
successfully answer an exam question.

For your notes…

To be able to understand the material cycling and stores in the ecosystem so that we can
successfully answer an exam question.

For your notes…

Nitrogen Cycle
• To be able to understand that nitrogen cycles indefinitely through
the Earth system and will understand the places that it is found on
• To be able to understand that nitrogen is essential for living things.
• To be able to understand that the cycle is complex and nonlinear
traveling between organisms and the physical environment.

Abiotic source
cannot be
used in this
Abiotic source
cannot be
used in this
nitrate can be
returned to the
atmosphere by
bacteria in this
with Legume
Decompose –
nitrogen is
converted into
inorganic forms.

Nitrogen can
be broken
apart by
lightening to
make it usable.
(or heat)

bacteria in to
nitrates in the soil
via ammonia.

From soils and
water (N03-)
Inorganic nitrate
Nitrate is
commonly used by
plants. Animals
get nitrogen by
consuming plants.
Need Nitrogen to
make amino acids,
proteins, DNA.
Passed on to

Carbon Cycle

Tropical Rainforest
General characteristics

Constant high temperatures
Very high rainfall
Vegetation grows quicker than any other place in the
This produces the greatest amount of Organic
matter, referred to as net primary productivity
NPP = the amount of energy fixed in photosynthesis
minus the energy lost by respiration in plants,
measured in grammes per square metre (gm -2 year-1)


Net primary production (g/m2/yr)
High energy
1.Rainforests (2,200)
2. Deciduous forests
Average energy
3. Tropical grassland
4. Coniferous forest
5. Mediterranean (700)
6. Temperate grassland
Low energy
7. Tundra (140)
8. Deserts (90)


• Between
latitudes 10°N
and 10°S of the

Tropical Rainforest Biome
• Diurnal (during the day) temp range of
• Evening temperatures rarely fall below
• Due to the presence of afternoon cloud
temps rarely rise above 32°C
• Most afternoons have heavy showers
• At night with no clouds insulating
temperature drops

ITCZ – Inter tropical convergence
Near the Equator, from about 5° north and 5° south, the northeast
trade winds and southeast trade winds converge in a low pressure
zone known as the Inter tropical Convergence Zone or ITCZ.
Solar heating in the region forces air to rise through convection
which results in a plethora of precipitation. The ITCZ is a key
component of the global circulation system. In the Northern
Hemisphere the trade winds move in a southwesterly direction,
while in the Southern Hemisphere they move northwesterly. The
point at which the trade winds converge forces the air up into
the atmosphere, forming the ITCZ.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the wet season occurs from May to July,
in the Southern Hemisphere from November to February .
There's a diurnal cycle to the precipitation in the ITCZ. Clouds form
in the late morning and early afternoon hours and then by 3 to 4 p.m.,
the hottest time of the day, convectional thunderstorms form and
precipitation begins. These storms are generally short in duration


1.Using only evidence from the diagram above, describe
three characteristics of the natural vegetation in areas of
tropical rainforest. [3 Marks]
2.Explain the relationship between the natural vegetation
characteristics and the climate of the tropical rainforest. [4

Case Study: Human Impacts/ Positive
• Jau National Park – Brazil

• The park is the
largest forest
reserve in South
America and covers
an area greater than
5.6 million acres.

A UNESCO World Heritage site
The largest protected area in the Amazon Basin
Over 6 million hectares
One of the planet’s richest regions in terms of
• The site protects key threatened species, including
giant arapaima fish, the Amazonian manatee, the
black caiman and two species of river dolphin.

Spotted Jaguar
Amazonian Manatee

Pink river dolphin

Black Caiman

International Designation
• 1993 Mamirauá designated a Wetland of
International Importance.
• 2001: UNESCO Man & Biosphere Programme
(20,859,987 ha).

Land Tenure

The Federal government owns 98.3% of Jaú National Park;
1.7% (almost 39,000 ha is comprised of 31 legally held properties which
are to be repossessed by the state.
a further 1.5% of government land on the Unini River is settled by 175
families without ownership title which the government is seeking funds
to repossess.

There are no indigenous inhabitants in the area today
The rural population of caboclos aredescendents of Portuguese originally
attracted by rubber collecting, and the indigenous people.
112 families live along the Unini river,
Most were born in the region or in the state, and still live in traditional
ways, on manioc cultivation, hunting, fishing, gathering turtles and
ornamental fish and the collection of timber, rubber, nuts, oils, resins and

Visitors and facilities

There is no road access to the Jau National Park beyond 100 km. It is only
accessible by river, so rented boats are the usual means of access.
Visitors need prior authorisation from the Park Director at IBAMA
headquarters in Manaus.
At the entrance, there is a recently-built visitors’ center, a houseboat for the
Park guards and housing for researchers and visitors.
At present there is no registered tourist agency arranging trips to the Park, but
in 1998 there were 885 visitors.
The Rio Negro landscape of Anavilhanas attracts river excursions from Manaus
en route to Jaú which have little environmental impact and provide an income.
80% of the county of Novo Ayrão is natural or Indian reserves, and might come
to depend on tourism to enhance local incomes.
There are houseboats for official visitors.

Conservation Management

Jaú is one of the few conservation units in the Brazilian
Amazon with a management plan that is both complete and
being implemented.
This evolved between IBAMA, the Vitória Amazônica
Foundation, local municipal governments, research
institutions and members of the extraction and tourism
industries following guidelines prepared by IBAMA.
Nearly 60 expert researchers from 13 different institutions
To integrate local residents with conservation initiatives
within the Park there are periodic meetings with residents
to disseminate planning decisions and to provide training
for environmental education professionals and research on
the economic valuation of natural resources.

Fibrarte Project
• In Novo Airão, one example is the
Fibrarte Project, set up to stimulate
the use of natural fibres such as
aruma, Schynosiphon sp. to produce
high quality handicrafts.
• Since 1993 the main body
supervising research, planning and
management and education in the
Park has been the Vitória Amazônica

The Management Plan has three
1. Protection, minimizing impacts and integrating
with neighbours
2. Research into and protection of biodiversity/
3. Specific activities:

Regulation of the use of Park resources, such as turtles
and ornamental fish, survey, research and monitoring,
public use, recreation and education about the natural
processes of the area, public relations, encouragement
of crafts, management training for local people, political
integration local and regional, administration and
maintenance, and sources of sponsorship.
A zoning plan defines four management zones:
1. Primitive: of great natural value, with minimum
intervention and maximum protection;
2. Extensive use: some human activity;
3. Intensive use: already altered by man
4. Especial use: the Park services core.

• Deforestation is currently the main threat - the Complex suffers
from being both very productive and relatively accessible.
• Jaú National Park is in good condition. The grass fires, blowdowns and floods which do occur being part of the natural order
of the forest.
• But there are around 250 families who fish in the Unini river
quite intensively.
• The Park has also been invaded from the surrounding area and is
in great need of a better infrastructure. For instance, there are
only two Park rangers at the entrance, making it easily invaded
by outsiders who remove fish and turtles which may affect
future stocks.
• However, in the surrounding region no development projects such
as hydroelectric dams, gas pipelines, power lines, highways,
logging or mining exist or are foreseen.

The Daintree Rainforest,
Queensland Australia
(Human Impacts)
The Daintree forest lies on the North East coast of
Australia in the area called Queensland, it's a part of the
larger area known as the wet tropics.
It runs parallel to the other Australian wonderland the
Great Barrier Reef
The wet tropics are a world heritage site, covering an area
of 900,000 hectares (1/2 size of Wales)









It cannot fly.
It can ONLY be found in the
Daintree forest
It is close to wild extinction- only
500 left.
Vital to ecosystem as scatters
seeds of over 100 species of
Without this bird eating seeds and
then dropping them further away
seeds would not spread through
large areas of forest.
It is a protected species and since
1999 numbers have increased from
54 to 500 in wild!

Why is the Daintree so special?
• 135 million years old- oldest in
• Has plants there older than
human life on Earth!
• Home to greatest no. of plant/
animal species that are rare,
threatened anywhere in world!
• Of world’s 19 primitive plants 12
are found here. (Reproduce by

Low daily temp rangerarely below 22 at
night or above 32 in

High annual rainfall (2000m+)
in intense convectional storms
Low annual
temp range

120 days
with rain per

• Deciduous trees, but look evergreen, as year round
growing season means trees shed leaves at different
• 1% of sun reaches floor- shrubs etc adapt to lack of
• About 200 species of tree in an area size of football
• Soil has thick litter layer, as leaves continuously fall,
but humus is thin due to rapid decomposition in humid
• Nutrients are rapidly leached (drawn down into and
lost in soil)
• Reddish in colour due to high concentration of iron and

• Has Australia’s largest range of
• Highest no. of ENDEMIC
(restricted to a particular location)
mammals anywhere in Australia
• Has near ½ Australia’s bird species13 ENDEMIC
• ¼ of Australia’s frogs- 20+ of which
• Greater diversity of freshwater
fish in Australia
• Has 65% of Australia’s butterfly
and bat species
• 28 of 36 mangrove species
Ulysses butterflysymbol of the

primitive plant
species –
ENDEMIC to the

The Strangler

and epiphytes

Threats: Deforestation
• Began in late 1860’s to
cultivate sugar cane
production continued to
early 1990s
• Most clearance today,
for pasture (86%), with
remainder cleared for
crops (10%), mining
infrastructure and
settlement (4%)
• Shift from central to
southern Queensland
away from Daintree

What are the threats to the Daintree?

Worth 141.7 million Australian $ a year
Most come to see the scenery and the forest
Many partake in destructive activities there- such as fishing, 4
wheel drive tours, walking, reef diving, horse riding
Ferry carries 700 vehicles across river daily
0.5 million visitors annually
Stay an average of 3.8 days
Increased accommodation since 1991- 20 b+bs, 1278 beds
nightly, 176 camping places actually in Daintree AND 58 b+bs,
8822 beds and 770 camp itches in local area
70% of tourists visit independently- 30% with registered
coach companies
Recent improvements- road tarmac increasing visitor numbers
Visitors think there’s too much accommodation and enough
walking tracks already in place

Growth and change in Port Douglas
a) Population 4000
b) Large visitor numbers have led to decline in small local shops
replaced by a small supermarket
c) Property booms- some sold land to developers others priced
from market
d) 2 new resorts just nearing completion, 2 underway and 2 more in
process of planning
e) Small forest areas have been divided up and sold to developerssome have been built on and environmental concerns have been
addressed others have been turned to cattle ranches
f) Red cedar became extinct in 2000 after builder removed all
g) If land clearing isn’t stopped 85 rare plant species stand to be

Limits to development
1) Ferry capacity limits traffic,
population and visitor levels
2) No Mains electric north of riverso people there have to generate
own through RAPS, own
generators or solar power
3) Local services only support small
local population- no mains water
or sewer disposal system
4) In 2000 planners gained
permission for a McDonalds on
site, but now it has been
withdrawn- citing a destruction
of local values and too much
change as reasons

Vegetation Succession
Heather Moorlands
Plagioclimax Community: A stable plant community that
has arisen as a result of human intervention in the
natural succession of communities.

Moorlands - plant succession
• On frost shattered rock a pioneer community,
often algae and lichen start to form
• Plants spread, form a crust and absorb water
and minerals
• As plants die, small amounts of organic matter
build up
• Grasses and mosses take advantage
of the new niches created by
pioneering plants

Moorlands - plant succession
• A plant sequence of plant communities inhabiting
a site is a plant succession or a sere
• There are several stages on a site as it changes
over time - from the pioneer stage then the
building stage and finally a mature climatic climax
• Climatic climax - vegetation is relatively stable
• Self sustaining - inputs of energy and nutrients
balanced by outputs of energy and nutrients

Moorlands - plant succession
• Arresting factors e.g. burning prevents a climatic
climax being reached

• Plant community e.g. moorland is prevented from
developing further through man’s actions and is
described as a plagioclimax

Moorlands - plant succession

Moorlands - plant succession
• Conservation and
measures e.g. deer
fencing, deer culling
and tree planting
have been put in
place to help
encourage forest

• An attempt is being made to increase the small area
(c3% of land surface in Scotland) covered with natural
climax vegetation

Heather management - grazing
• Prevents natural regeneration of trees
• Damage by deer and sheep, if unrestricted,
prevents young saplings growing into trees
• Heather provides good nutrition for sheep,
red deer, cattle and red grouse

Heather Burning (muirburn)
• Periodic burning of heather helps creates young
nutritious growth for grazing animals, particularly red
• The older taller heather creates an environment
suitable for nesting and cover for birds
• Careful burning creates a heather ecosystem with a
mix of different ages of heather
• 4 growth stages of heather are:

pioneer, building, mature and degenerative

Moorlands - plant succession
As a result of grazing and burning, heather
remains a plagioclimax community preventing
the climax stage of Scots pine and birch
woodland from establishing
Red grouse originally occupied the woodland
but have now adapted to the open moorland
ecosystem, they depend on green heather
shoots, buds and seeds for most of their diet
They also eat other plants e.g. bell heather,
sheep’s fescue, blaeberry (and midges!)

Moorlands - plant succession
Since around 1950 the extent of heather and number of grouse have declined
due to:
- reclamation of low lying land
- reforestation by commercial forestry
- overgrazing by sheep and deer
- poor muirburn
- soil erosion
- increased grouse diseases
- increased protection of birds of prey
- increased incidence of heather beetle

Climax Stage: Taller and more complex plants can
Plants from earlier stages die out
because of competition for light and

A unit which links living organisms
with each other and their physical
environment (rock, soil, air and


When a vegetation community is
relatively stable and self sustaining


Burning to manage the structure of
heather as a habitat for grouse


Status of an organism within its
environment and community

Pioneer stage: The first species to colonise a new

A stable plant community that has
arisen as a result of human intervention
in the natural succession of


Sequence of plant communities
inhabiting the same site through time


Modification of land to a “usable”

Reforestation: Re-establishment of a forest

Case Study: UK – Temperate Deciduous woodland Biome

Sand Dunes (Psammosere) The Theory

Definition of Urban niche

Within an ecosystem all living
organisms occupy a niche. Their
niche is the place where they live
(their habitat) and how they
interact with other species (their
role in the ecosystem).

The woodlouse's habitat is under logs and stones and,
particularly at night when it's cool and damp, under leaf litter
The woodlouse's role in the ecosystem is (a) feeding on dead
plant material, breaking it down into small pieces helping to
speed up decomposition by fungi and bacteria and (b)
providing a food source for a range of other species, e.g.
toads, shrews, hedgehogs and other invertebrates

Human use means urban ecosystems are
subject to more change and at a faster
pace than any other ecosystems.
Changes in:
Composition of surface material
Introduction of new species (accidentally +
Removal of established species
= ecosystem unlikely to reach stability

Types of plants which initially colonise a site
are influenced by:
Slope – horizontal/gentle slopes debris
accumulates to create soil
Moisture availability – horizontal/slopes rainwater
accumulates, steep slopes faster runoff
Aspect – south facing slopes = warmer + drier
Porosity (ability to hold water) – surfaces that
hold water are colonised more quickly
Surface roughness – allowing plants to get a hold,
glass + metal are too smooth for most plants
Pollution levels – depend on previous use of the
site. Substances that are toxic to plants e.g. lead
may contaminate the land

Keywords (match the correct definitions
to each key term)


The surface on which a soil
forms. This is usually rock, but
can also be a deposit such as river
sediments, glacial till or boulder
Preservation of the natural
The study of the relationship
between living things and their

The management of resources in
such a way that the ability of the
system to replace itself is greater
than the level of exploitation

Case Study: The Colonisation of
The colonisation of most wastelands is a lithosphere type succession
Lithosphere - (a sere originating on rock) is a plant succession that
begins life on a newly exposed rock surface
Many wastelands are often temporary becoming redeveloped after a
couple of years but if they are allowed to develop the following is likely
to occur:
E.g. Larchfield Mill, Leeds, abandoned textile mill
Victoria and Hunslet Mills in Leeds



Hunslet Mills

Victoria Mills

Invasive Species
• As we have traversed the world species
have been moved both knowingly and
• They can pose a threat to the native
• Along with that many species become
invasive along with other problems

Alien Species share several features
• Enhanced survival rates
• Lack native predator
• Not as susceptible to disease
This means that they are often very difficult to control

Case Study: Cane Toads

VIDEO: Cane Toads: An Unnatural
• Why Is This Important?
• The reason behind the introduction of cane toads to
Australia was well intended but the results were
unimagined. This is a good example of the fallibility of
scientists and what can happen when an exotic species
invades an ecosystem.

Ecological Case Study/Urban Conservation - Avon Gorge

To understand ecosystems along route ways so that we can
successfully answer an exam question.
Route ways through and between urban areas have their own special ecosystems that are
affected by many processes and flows that are different from other parts of the urban or semiurban areas through which they pass. Among these processes and flows are:
• Construction techniques that make the surface quite different from elsewhere.
• Drainage systems that are quite different from most other areas which help create a varied
patchwork of niche ecosystems.
• Maintenance that involves some management of the ecosystem and some total neglect.
• A constant linear movement of traffic along the route ways, often carrying and dispersing
seeds, etc.
• An absence of people from the verges and embankments, reducing one kind of human
• The addition of large amounts of salt (and other substances) to reduce the risk of ice in
• Pollution from traffic fumes and litter.

What is a fragile environment?
• A fragile environment or ecosystem is one
that lacks resilience to a change in
conditions, cause by human activity, foreign
species or natural events such as a flood or
drought. According to the UN, they include
arid and semi-arid areas, mountainous areas,
polar locations, freshwater and intertidal
wetlands, rainforests and coral reefs. Many
are regional in scale, others are small scale.

Biodiversity – the variation in life forms in a
given ecosystem/biome/planet. Diversity
exists at 3 levels – genetic, species,
Sustainability – meeting the needs of the
present without compromising the ability of
future generations to meet their own needs.
Conservation - the preservation and careful
management of the environment and of natural
Exploitation – the act of using something, usually

Ecosystem issues on a global scale
The relationships between human activity, biodiversity and sustainability. The management
of fragile environments (conservation versus exploitation): two contrasting case studies of
recent (within the last 30 years) management schemes in fragile environments should be

Your task: Produce a case study on the Serengeti National
Park/Jaú National Park

Where is it? What is it?
Explain why it is a fragile environment.
What is being done to conserve the area?
How is the fragile environment being exploited?
Are the attempts at conservation successful? Evaluate how
sustainable it is.