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The characteristics of the vegetation of tropical biomes are more the outcome of continued human activity than a response to the climatic conditions

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Introduction

?The characteristics of the vegetation of tropical biomes are more the outcome of continued human activity than a response to the climatic conditions? With reference to one tropical biome, discuss the extent to which you agree with this view. (40 marks) A biome is a large naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat. There are different types of biome, one is a tropical biome. An example of a tropical biome is a savanna. A savanna is a rolling grassland scattered with shrubs and isolated trees, which can be found between a tropical rainforest and desert biome. Not enough rain falls on a savanna to support forests. Savannas are also known as tropical grasslands. They are found in a wide band on either side of the equator on the edges of tropical rainforests. Savannas have warm temperature year round. There are actually two very different seasons in a savanna; a very long dry season (winter), and a very wet season (summer). In the dry season only an average of about 4 inches of rain falls. Between December and February no rain will fall at all. In the summer there is a lot of rain. ...read more.

Middle

The growth tissue in grasses is located at the base of the shoot, close to the soil surface. This is the opposite of shrubs where growth occurs from the tips. This means that burning, and even grazing, grass encourages growth. The warm, wet summers allow much photosynthesis and there is a large net primary productivity of 900 g/m2 per year. This varies from about 1,500 g/m2 per year where the region borders the rainforest, to only about 200 g/m2 per year where the area becomes savanna scrub. In contrast, the biomass varies considerably (depending on whether it is largely grass or wood) with an average of 4,000 g/m2. Typical species in Africa include the acacia, palm and baobab trees and elephant grass, which can grow to a height of over 5 m. Trees grow to a height of about 12 m and are characterised by flattened crowns and strong roots. The nutrient cycle also illustrates the relationship between climate, soils and vegetation. The store of nutrients in the biomass is less than that in the rainforest because of the shorter growing season. Similarly, the store in the litter is small because of fire. ...read more.

Conclusion

This has occurred purely for economic reasons, as game farming is much more profitable. Indigenous games, such as impala and kudu antelopes, are far more suited to surviving in Africa’s drier, marginal landscapes than cattle. These indigenous species are less susceptible to diseases, require far less water and do not impact negatively on the vegetation. An important direct, but non-consumptive, use of ecosystems is nature-based tourism or ecotourism. Swaziland is generally recognised as a country of great scenic beauty and between 1989 and 1995 over 250,000 tourists per annum have visited Swaziland. Tourists spend about £2 million per annum in the eight largest reserves. This is almost certainly an underestimation as fees are higher in the private reserves. Furthermore, this does not take into account the spin-off benefits of nature-tourism, nor does it reflect the number of jobs that are created. Savannas can be harsh ecosystems, with drought and fire dictating what species can survive. They are very seasonal ecosystems that appear bountiful in the wet season and quite desolate in the dry season. They contain a large range of plants and animals, a factor that has attracted much human interest. Savannas are important for biodiversity, but they are under increasing pressure from growing populations. Whether they can be protected and preserved is debatable, especially in LEDC regions where the natural environment is seen as a source of free resources. ...read more.

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