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Compare and Contrast the Interactions Between a Forest and a Grassland Biome

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Introduction

COMPARE AND CONTRAST THE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN A FOREST AND A GRASSLAND BIOME (40) A biome is a global-scale ecosystem; a large-scale grouping that includes many communities of a similar nature in terms of climate, vegetation, animals and soils. In order for each biome to be self-sustaining, there are direct and indirect links between these four main components. For the purpose of comparing and contrasting the interactions between a forest and a grassland biome, I am going to examine a tropical rainforest ecosystem in comparison to a tropical grassland, also known as a savanna. Climate is the most important factor in determining an ecosystem, and has the most interactions - both directly and indirectly - with other components in the ecosystem. Tropical rainforests are principally found within the equatorial climate belt, within 5� each side of the Equator. This climate provides ideal conditions for vegetation to produce and store energy. With high, constant temperatures throughout the year and an annual temperature range of under 3�C, plants are 'evergreen' because, although deciduous, they can shed their leaves at any time during the continuous growing season. ...read more.

Middle

Conversely, the equatorial climate of the tropical rainforest results in ferralitic soils, or latosols. Continuous leaf fall throughout the year leaves a thick litter layer, but the underlying humus is thin due to the rapid decomposition and mixing of organic matter by intensive biota activity. The dense root map in the top 20-30cm of the A horizon intercepts 99.9% of the nutrients released by decomposition of organic matter. The clay-rich soils of the rainforest are also very deep, plunging up to 20m, due to the rapid breakdown of parent material. The vegetation and animals present in a region are another two components which allow a biome to be determined. Vegetation will vary depending on the soils and climate of the area and this vegetation will in turn have some affect on both climate and soils in some way, but most importantly the type of vegetation will affect the animals in the ecosystem. This is because the vegetation tends to be the producer in the food web of each ecosystem. In the savanna, for example, trees, shrubs and grass are the producers which are then eaten by the primary consumers (zebras, elephants etc). ...read more.

Conclusion

Unlike grasses and shrubs, trees survive a fire by retaining some moisture in all their above-ground parts throughout the dry season. Tropical rainforests, on the other hand, are severely damaged as the result of human activity. As human populations have increased over the past several thousand years, they have brought with them deforestation, pollution and industrial usage problems to the biome. More than half of tropical rainforests have already been destroyed as the result of human activity, which continues to a huge scale today. In conclusion, there are four main components which take part in many interactions in both forest and grassland biomes. In all biomes, climate is the most significant component with the largest influence on the vegetation, animals and soils of the region, but these other components are also important in determining the nature of an ecosystem. As well as these four natural components, human activity is another component which can in some ecosystems have a huge effect. In ecosystems such as the tropical rainforest, human activity such as deforestation has affected vegetation, animals and soils, and the failure of these components to interact in the usual way has led to the rapid decline of the tropical rainforest ecosystem over the past decades. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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