Essay on The Ecosystems And Evolution Of Tropical Forests

Essay on The Ecosystems And Evolution Of Tropical Forests

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Chapters 3-4 Ecosystems and Evolution
1. Even though tropical rain forests only cover about 2% of the earth’s land surface, they are home to about half of all terrestrial plant and animal species. By continuing our harmful logging practices and ever-increasing fossil fuel consumption, we are becoming a greater threat to these “endangered” ecosystems. These tropical rainforests are important in that the copious trees take in carbon dioxide and help regulate its levels in the atmosphere, which is important in keeping our air at the right temperature. We are eliminating large areas of trees by destroying these tropical rainforests, and thus helping accelerate climate change due to global warming. Without the trees to take up the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, the atmosphere will warm. Finally, the continued destruction of tropical rainforests will change regional weather patterns. The diversity of the tropical rainforests will be lost, and a less diverse, less productive tropical grassland may unfortunately replace it.
2. A) The Earth has a fixed supply of nutrients that are recycled through the biogeochemical cycles such as the carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles. Without nutrients, there is no real “energy.” For example, producers need the nutrients in the soils in order to thrive and make food, convert atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates, etc. Consumers eat the food, and when the consumers die decomposers come and break the remains down into nutrients again, which become part of the soil which the producers live in. Thanks to the decomposers and detritus feeders, the planet is not full of plant litter, animal wastes, garbage, etc.
B) Gravity keeps the atmosphere close to the Earth- if the atmosphere were too far...

... middle of paper ... the main factor causing the extinction rate to become 100-1000 faster than normal. This is very concerning. I would tell the person that while extinction may be called a “natural process” by textbooks, it is more of a “man-made process” than anything else. From clear-cutting forests to clearing acres upon acres of grassland to polluting the oceans, we are inadvertently causing countless species to become extinct, decreasing the biodiversity of our planet. Loss of biodiversity first has immediate, negative effects on the particular place in which it occurred (i.e. coral reefs), but then the effects will inevitably affect our environments and lives. There is evidence that species richness increases the productivity and stability of an ecosystem, so decreasing biodiversity would result in less productive and less stable ecosystems- both undesirable side effects.

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