With reference to one major biome you have studied, evaluate the role of human activity in modifying its characteristics
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With reference to one major biome you have studied, evaluate the role of human activity in modifying its characteristics. A biome is a large scale or global ecosystem where biotic and abiotic elements interact with eachother producing a stable system that is in equilibrium. An example of this is the hot, wet equatorial climate where tropical rainforest is the dominant vegetation. Here the biotic elements such as the trees and animals for example sloths interact with the abiotic elements such as the poor soils and hot climate. The rainforest is millions of years old and remained undisrupted and in equilibrium for much of this time. However, as people exploit the rainforests resources, in particular its valuable trees, the equilibrium is changing. With trees being cut down at a rate of 40 hectares per minute how can it not? Why are they needed? Tropical rainforests cover over 7% of the earth's surface and play an important part in maintaining environmental and climatic stability. They help reduce soil erosion, prevent flooding and as the trees hold the soil together they stop a loss of nutrients from the soil.
The island of Java is the most populated island in the world and Jakarta has a very high population density. In Brazil in the 1960's the government wanted to develop the Amazon for cattle ranching as during this time world beef prices were high and would bring a lot of revenue to the country. To encourage investment in the Amazon tax exemptions were given to companies investing in agriculture and livestock. The growth of cattle ranching in the Amazon due to the demand for beef particularly in fast food restaurants is the main cause of deforestation. Similarly in Malaysia, TNC's companies investing there were given land by the government for doing so. Here the philosophy is 'develop now, tidy up later.' However, due to lessening timber resources and international pressure Malaysia is rethinking its policies on logging and the rainforest. In Indonesia the government rarely enforces selective logging regulations. In the Amazon this has not been the case where a large amount of logging is done selectively though very few forest management techniques have been put in place.
The products grown on the farmland can be sold providing a further income for people or they could become subsistence farmers and provide food for themselves. The actual wood that is taken is a large source of revenue for developing countries and with this money they can pay off debts faster and hopefully the rate of development will speed up. This benefits the country as a whole as standards of living and education etc will improve as the country develops. The rainforests rich biodiversity is a source of many plants that are used for medicinal purposes. Over 40% of medicines are derived from plants and animals, many of which are native to rainforests. This is of worldwide importance as medicines are vital in improving healthcare in all countries. Other products such as coffee and other food are also got from the rainforest and though they are processed many of the raw materials are from there. The timber that is logged is also important for buildings, furniture, fuel etc and is an important part of everyday life and this shows the human impact as being necessary as these things are important to living.
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