Presentation on theme: "Geography Project Amazon Rainforest By Cornelie Jacobson 8/7."— Presentation transcript:
Geography Project Amazon Rainforest By Cornelie Jacobson 8/7
Index Rainforests I Rainforests II Rainforests III Layout People living there Plants Animals I Animals II Cutting down Cures What is going to happen ? Resources used
Rainforests I Tropical rainforests are usually found north of the Tropic of Capricorn and around the Equator The temperature varies from just under to over 30 degrees Celsius during the year. Tropical rainforests have quite a lot of rain throughout the year. About 200mm on average. Rainforests are commonly classified by climate, altitude, and latitude, either alone or in combination. The phrase Equatorial Rainforest refers to forests found in the equatorial zone 10° either side of the Equator; in some cases the rainforest extends beyond the Tropics, where it is called Subtropical Rainforest. In areas that experience pronounced changes in season (a cycle of wet and dry seasons), the forests are classified as monsoon rain forests. Rainforest can also establish itself on tropical mountains.
Rainforests II The Amazon rainforests are on the east coast of Brazil in Peru, it is almost thirty times the size of Great Britain. The term rainforest has also been used to describe some temperate communities, such as the northwest coastal coniferous forest of North America, where rainfall and humidity are high and winters mild. Vertical stratification of trees and plants is a characteristic feature of rainforests. Tropical soils are generally diverse, ranging from volcanic to almost pure quartz sands. Sometimes one to a half of the total rain forest area is composed of reddish latosols (soils from which the nutrients have been stripped).
Rainforests III The forest floor is dark and it is difficult to spot the animals. The plants in the rainforest need light, water and warmth to survive. The rainforest gets about 200mm of rain a year and one of the hottest daily temperatures, 25 degrees Celsius. The warm air rises which causes low pressure over the Atlantic ocean and it rains. During the day clouds build up and in the afternoon it rains. As the hot air rises, it cools down and clouds form then it rains this is called Classic Convectional rainfall Most of the water that falls, goes back into the atmosphere, it is intercepted by the canopy. Some falls to the floor for the roots but 20% of the rain from the canopy reaches the river. Trees need nutrients to grow they don’t get it out of the soil but out of other dead trees which have fallen down.
Layout The canopy’s trees vary from 30 – 50m, the trees growing above the canopy are called the emergent trees. Under the canopy are the young trees, still busy growing, they are about 20m high. Under the young trees is the shrub layer, this grows to about 10m. Light is one of the main factors, in the rainforest it is all about the life - death struggle for light. The upper canopy almost blocks the sun out completely, and captures most of the sun’s energy. The trees grow long, thin, tall trunks towards the sunlight. On the forest floor the vegetation is most luxurious, flowers and fruit grow everywhere and most animal life is found here.
People living there There are mostly Indians living in the forest, they live in scattered regions all over the Amazon. They were the first to be contacted from the outside world and since then much has changed. The men make canoes from whole trees and use them to catch fish. They use lines and spears to catch the fish with, it is their main source of protein. They normally live in villages of up to 25, the houses are built on stilts to keep the sand from blowing in, to keep it clean and to keep it cool in the summer. The women do most of the farming, they burn the land to get rid of all the trees. They plant crops such as pineapples, bananas and beans. They usually have 6 to 7 children, who each receives their own land to look after. The Indians find a use for everything in the forest. Some men have shotguns these days but they originally used bow and arrows.
Plants There are more species of plants and animals in tropical rainforest than in all the rest of the world's ecosystems combined. About 70 percent of all plant species in these forests are trees. Tropical rainforests are vertically stratified, having three to five layers of plant life: visible emergent trees protruding partly or entirely above the upper canopy; one to three closed canopies; and an under storey The upper canopy of trees reaches 30 to 50 m above the ground. Woody vines called lianas that can exceed 20 cm in diameter are often common, and their tops can reach the upper canopy. In rainforests, little light reaches the forest floor. Leaf litter is minimal and nutrients released through decomposition are quickly reabsorbed by the trees. Tropical rainforests contain most of the planet's biodiversity, and there are probably still millions of insect species, as well as many plant species, that have not been described scientifically.
Animals I The Anaconda, The world's biggest snake is a fearsome predator and in the wild spends most of its time in water where it lies in wait for prey. Its main food consists of small mammals, aquatic birds and other reptiles. The three-toed sloth is the slowest of all land animals, moving through the branches at one hundredth of a mile per hour! It is among the world's laziest animals, spending three-quarters of its life asleep. It eats only leaves and loves to "hang" out in Cercirpia trees. Sloths are often seen and they are in fact very common. They are hunted for meat, but because they are well-camouflaged, and feed high in the canopy, they are difficult to find. Their main predators are eagles, and jaguars. The Jaguar is the ultimate Amazon predator top of the food chain and among the largest living cats. These animals are revered by local tribes, a sentiment not shared by hunters who treasure only the gorgeous pelt. Jaguars rarely venture into the trees, but they often hunt close to water for large terrestrial animals such as peccary, deer and capybara. They will also take birds, fish, turtles and smaller mammals. The jaguar is currently listed as endangered.
Animals II Most of the world's animals are insects, and most insects are found in rainforest. Insect species outnumber all the other animals put together. There are far too many kinds of insects to even begin describing them, but some of the more important groups are butterflies, moths, beetles, ants, wasps, bees, termites, grasshoppers, katydids, cicadas, mantis, stick insects etc. The Amazon is a birdwatcher's paradise. About 1,500 bird species are known from lowland Amazonia about 15% of all known birds in 4% of the world's land area. They range from the world's most powerful birds of prey to some of the tiniest hummingbirds. Oddities such as the toucan, umbrella bird and hoatzin baffle. Flying jewels such as trogons, parrots and hummingbirds dazzle you. When people imagine the Amazon, they think of rivers teeming with flesh-eating fishes the deadly piranha. However, the biology of piranhas is not common knowledge. There are in fact at least a dozen different species, belonging to the characin group of fishes. Most eat fallen fruit not as thrilling as stripping a carcass to the bone, but there is no doubt they play an important part in the local ecology.
Cutting down Not all rainforests are the same. In the flooded forests the trees, plant and animals adapt to either live partially submerged in water or high up in the trees. In the rainforests, the forest depends on cycles, the nutrient cycle and the water cycle. If you cut down the trees you break the cycles and the forest may be ruined. It is already happening today!!! If you cut down all the trees the rain is not intercepted by the trees, the soil and the nutrients are washed away and useless rock remains.
Cures The Amazon rainforest has long been a symbol of mystery and power, a sacred link between humans and nature. It is also the richest biological incubator on the planet. It supports millions of plant, animal and insect species – a virtual library of chemical invention. In these archives, drugs like quinine, muscle relaxants, steroids and cancer drugs are found. More importantly are the new drugs which are still to be found – cures for AIDS, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and Alzheimer’s. Many secrets and untold treasures await discovery with the medicinal plants used by shamans, healers and the indigenous people of the Rainforest Tribes. The untold wealth of the indigenous plants are the true wealth of the rainforests not the trees. Rich in beneficial nutrients, photo chemicals and active constituents, the rainforest Indians and indigenous people have used them for centuries for their survival, health and well being.
What is going to happen? Extracting the secrets from the jungle is not easy and sadly this state of affairs may not last long enough into the future for man to unlock all their secrets. Rainforests once covered 14% of the earths land surface, now they cover a mere 6%. In less than 50years, more than half of the earth tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, over 200,000 acres of rainforests are burned everyday in the world. That is over 150 acres lost every minute of everyday. Experts estimate that at the current rate of destruction, the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40years. They also estimate that we are losing 130 species of plants, animals and insects everyday as they become extinct from the loss of rainforest land and habitat. Just think how many possible cures to devastating diseases we have already lost!!!!!!!!!!!!
Resources used Class information Microsoft Encarta Encyclopaedia