Biodiversity And Change Ib Sl Geography 11 Geo Assignment

1509 words - 7 pages

Explain the concept and importance of biodiversity in tropical rainforests. Examine the causes and consequences of reduced biodiversity in this biome.

Where are the World’s tropical rainforests? (include a map and an accurate geographical description of their location)

Tropical rainforests are all located near the equator, in Brazil, Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. Tropical rainforests exist in these locations because of the amount of rainfall and amount of sunshine that these areas receive. In these areas, there is a much higher intensity and amount of sunlight, which leads to higher temperatures and frequent rainfall during the evaporation, and this warm and humid environment allows plants found in the rainforest to thrive.

2. What is the structure of the rainforest? Why does this lead to plant and animal adaptation?
Tropical rainforests are vertically divided into 5 layers: the overstory, the canopy, the understory, the shrub layer and the forest floor. The forest floor is the round layer of the forest made up of the trunks of trees, fungus, and low growing vegetation. It is dark and still because of the overhanging leaves and branches. Interestingly, the floor is mostly clear of plants due to the cover of the upper layers and it is the site for important and complex interactions. It is one of the sites for decomposition, which returns nutrients to the soil. The shrub layer is comprised of the shrubby species and young trees that are only 5 to 20 feet off the forest floor. The understory is higher, with widely spaced shorter tree species and younger trees that form a broken layer below the canopy. The ceiling of the rainforest, with closely spaced trees and their branches forms the canopy. At the canopy, it is very much like the atmosphere of an open field, and many plants have adapted to life in the canopy. For instance, the sloth has very strong claws for hanging on. In the forest canopy, there are plants called epiphytes, which are plants that grow on other plants. They do not have roots going into the tree trunks, nor the forest floor, instead using their leaves that are adapted to intercept the dissolved nutrients that come to them in the form of mist and fog. As they die and decompose, they construct arboreal soil because of their immense capability to hold on to nutrients and water. The trees that these epiphytes grow on develop and grow connections with the epiphytes to take nutrients from them. The trees in the canopy rarely touch or interlock, likely to protect from infestations of pests or diseases, and canopy dwellers have adapted to this by being able to travel over these gaps. The leaves in the canopy provide energy to the whole forest, and also shields the lower levels from inhospitable conditions. The overstory, the highest layer, refers to the crowns of the emergent trees that grow 20 to 100 feet higher than the canopy.

3. Why are the rainforests important?
Rainforests are extremely important. They...

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