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Describe how a global vegetation system you have studied has been modified by human activity

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Describe how a global vegetation system you have studied has been modified by human activity Human activity affects rainforest ecosystems in many ways, some of which are negative and some of which are positive. One impact of human activity is the loss of nutrients from the soils of the rainforest. This occurs as tropical vegetation is interfered with or removed by deforestation, this leads to changes in nutrient availability and transfers. In the rainforest most of the nutrients are stored within the biomass and the ground litter reservoirs, the main transfers are between these two reservoirs. Dead and decaying matter decomposes rapidly and plant roots then take up nutrients. Under human influence of for example a 'slash and burn' regime with a three year cropping limit and a long fallow period in between the nutrient levels in the litter and the biomass decrease and the nutrients in the soil increase. This is however counteracted by heavy rain which causes loss of nutrients through leaching, soil erosion and to the atmosphere. Soil fertility increases during periods of fallow should sufficient time be allowed. ...read more.


It is estimated that there were more than five million Indians living in the Amazon rainforest in 1500. By 1900 this had fallen to about one million and recent estimates suggest that there are currently fewer than 200,000 left. The population of the Waimiri-Atroan Indians tribe was 6000 in 1903; by 1973 this had fallen to 3500 and by 1986 there were only 374 people left. Most died from measles epidemics whilst others were hunted down and shot by gunmen hired by local landowners. Rainforest people are also threatened by dam construction and logging as tribes can be displaced. Commercial logging in Sarawak results in the loss of 2000 km2 of rainforest every year, however Malaysian government puts the needs of the logging companies before those of the tribe who face imprisonment if they interfere with logging activities. Deforestation in the rainforest is a major cause of these problems as during the nineteenth century, exploitation of the Amazon was confined to rubber tapping; this peaked at the turn of the century. Agriculture began in the late nineteenth century and was based upon the native system of slash and burn. ...read more.


The Tambopata Candama Reserved Zone is a nature reserve in the Amazonian forests of Peru. In terms of biodiversity these are the richest forests in the world. In one small part of the TCRZ there are 587 species of bird, 1230 of butterfly and 150 different types of tree. The TCRZ was created in 1990 by ministerial decree. It included 1.479 million hectares and contains a mixture of sub-tropical forest, cloud forest and tropical savannah. In the reserved zone, forest conservation is encouraged and local traditional lifestyles supported. Various health initiatives are working to enhance community life by supporting sustainable projects. There are two health centres involved in the training and support. Groups also carry out scientific research in the reserve supported by TreeS, the international voluntary organisation of the Tambopata Reserve Society. The area is however under threat from oil and gad exploration, jungle lodges, construction of highways and cattle ranching. The Amazon rainforest is therefore impacted by human activity in both negative and positive ways in some cases for economic gain and in other cases for the protection and enhancement of the landscape for future generations to come. Problems arise when these views over a specific area are conflicting and it must be decided which is more worthy. L.Tollman ...read more.

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