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Analyse the role of human activity in plant succession.

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Introduction

Analyse the role of human activity in plant succession. There are many factors that can affect a climax vegetation. These include climate, hydrology and soil type. Human activity also plays a major role. If succession is modified or interrupted by a human influence then a plagioclimax is reached. Human activities include grazing, burning and deforestation and these processes can be collectively known as arresting factors. A plant succession begins on bare ground with light-seeded grasses, legumes and flowering plants. Over time small trees, brush and briar thickets shade out the sun loving grasses. Ultimately, light-seeded trees shade out the brush and make conditions favourable for shade loving mast producers like oaks. Deforestation involves the cutting down, burning and damaging of forests. If the current rate of deforestation continues then the world's rainforests will disappear completely within 100 years - causing unknown effects on global climate and eliminating a majority of plant and animal species currently alive on the planet. The reasons for deforestation are complex. It is mainly carried out for agricultural reasons, e.g. grazing cattle and planting crops. Poor farmers may chop down a small area (usually a few acres) ...read more.

Middle

Major roads are being built through the forest to provide easier access to the underground resources like iron and aluminium ores: more trees need to be removed to mine these commodities. Inhabitants of shanty towns around Major cities in Brazil are being encouraged to move to rural areas and more land has to be cleared to accommodate these people. In third world countries forests are cut down and used to provide firewood, since this is practically the only source of fuel available to people living there. There are also a large number of new markets opening which are set to increase the demand for products, which have their origin in the tropical rainforests. These include body creams, bath oils, sweets, fruits and nuts, but as these products come into greater demand the future of the forest will be more secure because to produce a large yield of these products a large number of trees need to be grown. About 16-20 million hectares of tropical rainforests are removed each year. When trees are removed no water gets transpired back into the atmosphere from the soil. ...read more.

Conclusion

There are now varied types of species in Britain due to human interferences, modification and management. Without interference vegetation would be typically temperate forest. Today, in Britain, there are no natural woodlands at all, only semi woodlands, and there is only 2% of that. In Spain the figure for natural woodland is 28% and Sweden has a 64% woodland covering. Other interferences have caused the introduction of foreign plants such as the rhododendron or sycamores. The rhododendron was in fact imported from Japan. Other introductions to this country include the rabbit, which was imported from Spain by the Normans. Urbanisation also causes damage to plant life. High demand for housing has caused the destruction of forest and woodland, especially in the north. A rising birth rate in the twentieth century called for an increase in housing, and this needed to be conducted as cheaply and effectively as possible. As a result, miles of forests were cut down in order for building to go ahead. This s detrimental to our health as well as destroying areas of natural beauty. . Recent investigations suggest that over a third of the world's oxygen supply is produced by the rainforests, the only larger source being algae in the sea. So cutting down trees is very damaging to our well being. ...read more.

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