Ecosystems exist at a range of scales and involve the interaction between biotic and abiotic components.
Tropical rainforest ecosystems have a range of distinctive characteristics:
Deforestation has economic and environmental impacts:
Changing rates of deforestation.
A case study of a tropical rainforest to illustrate:
• causes of deforestation – subsistence and commercial farming, logging, road building, mineral extraction, energy development, settlement, population growth
Tropical rainforests need to be managed to be sustainable:
Hot desert ecosystems have a range of distinctive characteristics.
Development of hot desert environments creates opportunities and challenges:
A case study of a hot desert to illustrate:
• development opportunities in hot desert environments: mineral extraction, energy, farming, tourism
Areas on the fringe of hot deserts are at risk of desertification.
Causes of desertification – climate change, population growth, removal of fuelwood, overgrazing, over-cultivation and soil erosion.
Strategies used to reduce the risk of desertification – water and soil management, tree planting and use of appropriate technology.
Cold environments (polar and tundra) have a range of distinctive characteristics:
- The physical characteristics of a cold environment.
- The interdependence of climate, permafrost, soils, plants, animals and people.
- How plants and animals adapt to the physical conditions. Issues related to biodiversity.
Development of cold environments creates opportunities and challenges.
A case study of a cold environment to illustrate:
• development opportunities in cold environments: mineral
extraction, energy, fishing and tourism
- challenges of developing cold environments: extreme temperature, inaccessibility, provision of buildings and infrastructure.
Cold environments are at risk from economic development.
- The value of cold environments as wilderness areas and why these fragile environments should be protected.
- Strategies used to balance the needs of economic development and conservation in cold environments – use of technology, role of governments, international agreements and conservation groups.