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Deforestation Ecosystem Model Answers

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Introduction

´╗┐Deforesation Model Exam Answers What is deforestation? (2 marks) Deforestation is the deliberate clearance of woodland by cutting, burning or the application of a defoliant and is a major environmental issue around the world. Why is deforestation of tropical rainforests such an issue? (2) The rich biodiversity found in tropical rainforests means that some species exist that humans have not discovered yet, and they could hold the key to future medical cures. Huge tropical rainforests of Amazonia absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide through the process of photosynthesis and store it in plant tissue, thus helping to counteract global warming. Trees also break up the impact of heavy tropical rainfall, allowing infiltration and minimising soil-eroding surface runoff. What can rainforests provide without being destroyed? (4) Without being destroyed, rainforests can provide edible foods such as wild fruits and vegetables, as well as honey and meat e.g. from monkeys that live in the rainforests. Rainforests offer some protection from floods as they increase interception and infiltration and also reduce the likelihood of soil erosion. They are important for providing a home for many different species of animal and bird, as well as providing a high level of biodiversity and maintaining food chains and ecological links. ...read more.

Middle

The five countries with the largest rainforest areas are also among the world's most heavily indebted countries. As most tropical rainforests are located in developing countries that have large debts to pay off, the level of deforestation is often high as the increased demand for hardwoods has also increased the price of the timber, and so many countries take a short term view and allow unregulated use of their forest resources in order to finance those debts. Deforestation also occurs to provide land for rubber plantations, cattle ranches for beef farming, soya plantations and roads and railways. With increased demand for beef products from MEDCs, much of the rainforest has been cleared for cattle ranches as countries can often earn more from exporting beef products than timber. Again, the increased demand has increased the price at which beef products are sold at, and this can help with the debt burdens facing many LEDC countries with tropical rainforest. The need for roads and other transport links can cause deforestation, as paths are often cleared through the tropical rainforest in order to shorten journeys and thus reduce the costs of production for many companies who are transporting goods. ...read more.

Conclusion

Countries experiencing rapid population growth tend to put pressure on the land covered by the forests, which are often viewed as ?wasted? land, and so cut down the trees and burn them to release the nutrients. In Indonesia, the transmigration policy encouraged people to move from the overcrowded island of Java to less populated islands such as Sumatra, where rainforest was cleared away to make way for settlements and agriculture. Can forests be managed in a sustainable way? Possible solutions to the problems facing tropical rainforests include: * Replanting of degraded land, which improves soil, increases biodiversity and reduces erosion. * Education programmes for LEDC populations- a bottom up approach is more successful in the long run than top down * Continued research into the structure and function of the tropical rainforest, as well as its biodiversity * Encourage the use of trees as main crops in order to maintain nutrient cycles * Eco tourism should be encouraged- brings in tourists and educates tourists not to expect developed world standards when in a tropical rainforest ecosystem * Land reform- governments of some countries need to redistribute land more fairly to prevent a huge divide between large landowners and landless peasants. Without reform, it is more likely to result in instability within a country ...read more.

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