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With reference to a named biome explain how terrestrial, atmospheric and biotic processes interact to form distinctive vegetation.

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Introduction

With reference to a named biome explain how terrestrial, atmospheric and biotic processes interact to form distinctive vegetation. The tropical rainforest is an important natural resource found in humid tropical areas. Currently the tropical rainforest covers about 12 million sq. km of land, which is approximately 5% of the total land surface area. The tropical rainforests are found between 10degrees North and South of the Equator, where the climates are hot and moist. The high concentration of solar radiation throughout the year promotes a rich variety of natural vegetation. These areas have a small annual temperature range, with high and constant temperatures. Average monthly temperatures are between 27 and 30 degrees C. Variation in the daylight levels is limited, the rainforest doesn't experience seasons, as we know them. However the diurnal range is large, possibly up to 17 degrees C between night and day. The consistence in heat and energy means that little adaptation is needed for the plants. Daily rainfall patterns remain the same through out the year, and the predictable nature is important to plants. ...read more.

Middle

Water for example is vital to the growth of the rainforest plants is adapted to maintain it. The plants are evergreen broadleaf, they are non-deciduous so they can capture the sun's light energy at all times through-out the year as they don't loose their leaves. Their large leaves contain many chloroplasts to absorb the sun's energy for photosynthesis. Also the leaves are often waxy to reduce the loss of moisture, often the leaves have drip-tips to which the water falls from to prevent collecting water damaging the leaf. Also specialised plants like lianas climb up tree trunks to reach the light at the top of the canopy. The leaves are shed throughout the year and this maintains a very rich litter. The biotic features of the rainforest maintain the nutrients of the soil in this way and trees then have their root systems near the surface of the soil to access nutrients of the litter. In the rainforest the majority of the nutrients are found in the biomass and little in the soil, the litter is constantly being used for nutrients. ...read more.

Conclusion

The forest tree cover protects the soil from the impact of intense tropical storms and the litter protects the soil from 'rain splash'. Also the roots of the trees help to bind the soil together and prevent erosion. Also the flora in the rainforest has adaptations to make relationships with other parts of the ecosystem so that benefits can be seen. Symbiosis is one of these relationships; fungi that live in plant roots can act as transport links to carry ions from the litter to the root systems. Also some plants are able to produce toxic substances to protect themselves to prevent competition and some even secrete chemicals to stop their seeds being eaten. Mutual association is where two species benefit from a relationship, such as some ants guard a specific tree from predators to ensure their own food supply. The interrelations between different processes within the forest result in the vast levels of diversity. Different specific processes regulate the rainforest, and integration means that everything depends upon everything else. The complex biome it all creates is adapted to not only specific climate conditions but by decomposition and weathering. Every factor is the rainforest is interrelated and depend upon each other Sarah Bennett ...read more.

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