Tropical Rainforests - adaptation of species - Physical Geography Essay Example
Very tall trees (emergent’s)
In the rainforest an emergent can grow up to 40 metres! - Tropical Rainforests - adaptation of species introduction! Trees grow high in the rainforest because of the climate they are in. This is hot weather with strong sunlight with lots of rain. It is important for trees to grow high because they’re in competition with other trees and plants for light and water. If a plant doesn’t grow high then it won’t have as much light and water as the sheltered plants, therefore they need to adapt to grow tall in order to survive. The reason they need to grow high is so that they can get water (via interception) UV light from the sun and heat. All these factors help it photosynthesis.
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Tree trunks are straight and branchless
Tree trunks are straight and branchless in the rainforest because, so that they can grow tall. As their efforts can be on growing tall not having branches near the bottom. More water falls down on the top of the tree. Therefore they put their efforts in growing tall so that gain most water. Not as much water falls near to the bottom of the tree therefore there is no need to have branches.
Large buttes roots
These are used to support the high trees. They also gather nutrients for the tree, this is because the soil in the rainforest doesn’t have much nutrients. They also don’t penetrate into the ground deeply.
Lianas are climbing woody vines that drape rainforest trees. They have adapted to life in the rainforest by having their roots in the ground and climbing high into the tree canopy to reach available sunlight. Many lianas start life in the rainforest canopy and send roots down to the ground.
Little undergrowth on the forest floor except in clearing/ river edges.
This is because not much water falls down to the bottom. They adapt to living close to the water in damp conditions. This makes them grow bigger.
Drip tip leaves
The leaves of forest trees have adapted to cope with exceptionally high rainfall. Many tropical rainforest leaves have a drip tip. It is thought that these drip tips enable rain drops to run off quickly. Plants need to shed water to avoid growth of fungus and bacteria in the warm, wet tropical rainforest.
Leaves with a waxy/ glossy surface
The cuticle, that is the ‘waxy layer’, lessens water loss by not letting it diffuse away so easily (the cuticle is waterproof).
Leaves have a large surface area.
Leaves have a big surface area because then they can absorb all the possible light energy so then they can use that for photosynthesis. They can also use this large area to capture lots of water for survival.
The distribution of the rainforests in our world is located in the southern parts of the world. Most are located near to the sea, this may be because water is close to it, and therefore it can evaporate then precipitate easily. They are near to the equator.
1.) Explain why the rainforest is an important natural resource.
There are many reasons why the rainforest is an important natural resource. The rainforest is one of the largest suppliers for natural rubber. 25% of all drugs come from the rainforest. 80% of the world’s diet involves some sort of food from here, for example oranges and coconuts. There is so much diversity of animals and plants that they can take small bits and the forest would and still would be functioning well. Amazon forest has incredible amounts of trees.
2.) The rainforest is being destroyed at an alarming rate. It is being destroyed by various methods. One of these methods is could ‘shifting cultivation’, this is where a small area of land is cleared and the vegetation burned, providing a source of nutrients from the ash, they do this because for a few years the soil remains sufficiently fertile for the tribe to grow crops. This is unsustainable as it destroys land. Advantages would be that is makes the ground fertile, disadvantage of this would be that it destroys trees.
‘Subsistence agriculture’ is where a farmer grows enough crops to survive. The typical subsistence farm has a range of crops and animals needed by the family to eat and clothe themselves during the year. Advantages of this are that they get food; disadvantages would be that you don’t get any luxuries in life, as you are poor. This is sustainable, because they get just enough, and don’t pollute the atmosphere.
Commercial Farming is the farming which is performed on large scale, with the help of machine like harvesters and tractors etc. This is becoming ever more popular in the rainforests of today as demand for food grows rapidly, an advantage is that they get lots of money, a disadvantage of this is it non-eco friendly, because they need petrol etc to power machines. This is unsustainable as it uses non renewable energy sources .
Logging is where the cutting of trees in a forest for timber. Logging is the process of which certain trees are cut down by a machine for forest management and timber. This is a major cause of deforestation as they’re cutting alot of trees down, this is unsustainable because it destroys trees, and this is a disadvantage, an advantage would be that they earn a living.
Mining/ oil exploitation is also a major factor why the rainforest is being destroyed. This is where large quantities of oil are brought up from the ground. This can also lead to trees being destroyed; because they need large areas of straight/flat land, this will end up killing trees and wildlife. This is unsustainable as it uses up unsustainable resources. Advantages are they get oil to people and get money, disadvantages would be that it is unsustainable.
Large areas of land are destroyed as urbanisation is occurring more often. For example more roads are needed. This could be to get to mining areas. When these roads are built they destroy wildlife’s habitats, and trees. This is one major factor of deforestation. An advantage would be that people can easily get around the forests. A disadvantage is that is destroys habitats of animals. This is unsustainable, as it uses non renewable sources, and kills animal habitats.
Hydroelectric power stations also known as H.E.P is a sustainable method. It is renewable source of energy. Things like water turn a coil and make kinetic energy. Advantage of this is that you are not contributing to global warming. A disadvantage of this would be that it doesn’t provide a lot of power. This is a sustainable method, as it doesn’t contribute to the green house effect.
Greenpeace is a group of enthusiasts about ‘saving the rainforest’. They believe the rainforest should be kept preserved. Greenpeace say As the largest remaining rainforest on Earth, the Amazon rainforest is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world; almost half of all known species live in the Amazon. Sadly, it’s also experiencing one of the highest rates of deforestation on the planet. While our Amazon campaign has had some remarkable successes over the past few years, there is still much more to do to protect the Amazon. They believe people should leave the rainforest how it was originally, in a result they lead campaigns to preserve it. For example they fly to the Amazon rainforest, and protest there. To conclude Greenpeace’s views are they feel deforestation should stop. The Green party also agree with this statement.
Local tribes such as the “Jacuna” feel it should be preserved. This is their homeland and is
where they have grown up. They are being pushed out of their habitat, and this angers them. The Jacuna tribe use the rainforests for their home.
Avanca Brasil, or Advance Brazil, was created in 2000 by the Brazilian government. This latest plan aims to develop roads, railways, waterways and hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Amazon region. It is a package of 338 projects throughout Brazil, with the portion of the plan to be carried out in Brazil ‘s Legal Amazon region totaling US $43 billion over 8 years. They believe in making useful resources in the rainforests. This can be seen as unsustainable
A manger of a logging company would want to use the rainforest for cutting down trees. This would make him lots of money. This is an unsustainable method of making money though. An owner of a hydroelectricity plant would want to use the rainforest for creating electricity in a renewable way. This is a sustainable method of creating electricity. Brazil’s economics minister will be thinking about turning over as much money as possible for Brazil. Resulting, in him trying to create public transport and other unsustainable transport in the rainforest. This is so he can make most money for Brazil.
However, the Environmental minister would be more sympathetic to the rainforests. He would also want to preserve the rainforests. This is because his job is to make Brazil one of the most environmental friendly countries in the world. Furniture manufacturers in Britain use the rainforest for importing wood. They use it to make Furniture, and then sell it to make money.
Tourists use the rainforest to look at animals in safaris. Their view on the rainforest could be very mixed. For example a majority of them would want Hotels and transport, which would destroy the natural beauty. However, some may like it primitive. Residents would use the rainforests for homing.
4.) Consider whether there are ways that the resources of the Amazon Rainforest can be both exploited and conserved so that the forest can be used in a sustainable way.
The rainforest can be both exploited and conserved. If we allow loggers to cut down there trees, then we could equally combat the problem by planting more trees. Or get the logger to plant a tree seed in replacement of the tree he has just cut down! So yes we can however, we would have to invest a lot of money in the scheme to get lots of people planting seeds.