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The relationship between living (biotic) and non living (abiotic) things. They have different characteristics and features. Can be as large as a tropical rainforest or as small as a field.
Tropical rainforest
Mainly located in Equatorial areas, climate have high year round temperatures, high rainfall which are perfect conditions for growth. Trees appear evergreen.
Temperate forest
Typically found at mid latitudes (UK and Europe), temperature varies between 4 and 18 degrees, mid range rainfall around 1000mm and trees shed leaves in winter.
Boreal forest
Found at higher latitudes (Russia and Canada) with temperature range between -10 and 15 degrees. Evergreen trees with needles, thick bark and shallow roots.
Tropical grassland
Found in tropical areas high temperatures throughout the year with distinctive wet seasons. Main vegetation of shrubs and grass.
Temperate grassland
Found in mid latitude areas with temperature range between 10-18 degrees. Annual rainfall around 500mm. Mainly grasses with few trees.
Mainly found in tropical areas with very low and unpredictable rainfall. Can have very high average temperatures but can have very cold nights.
The average rain and temperature In an area taken over a number of years.
How far north or south of the Equator. Can have a major impact on the climate of a location.
Global atmospheric circulation
Convection currents in the atmosphere which can have a major impact on climate, especially high and low pressure systems.
The height of land which can have an impact on climate – geneally the higher you go the cooler it gets.
Ocean Currents
Movements of warm and cold water that can affect the temperature of the land they flow past.
Relief / topography
The way a slope facing. In the northern hemisphere south facing slopes tend to be warmer as they get more sun.
Prevailing Winds
The direction from which the wind normally blows from.
Distance from sea
Can impact climate in terms of temperature and rainfall.
Climate Change
A long term movement in weather and climate patterns and average temperatures across the Earth.
The part of the Earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms exist.
An ecosystem on a global scale such as tropical rainforest or deciduous woodland.
Different vegetation requires different types. Thinner soils such as in the Boreal forests contain less organic matter, and may be more acidic, whereas in the Tropical rainforest soils are more nutrient-rich because of the decaying litter layer.
Natural resource
These include foods, medicine, building materials and fuel that can be found in ecosystems.
Finite resource
A resource which will run out at some point.
Taking and using resources from ecosystems, ecosystems can be damaged if this is not done carefully.
Renewable resources
Resources which could last forever if they are used in a careful manner.
Found in upland areas where rainfall levels tend to be high. In the UK they occur mainly above 250 metres, so can be found in the Pennines, North Yorkshire etc.
Found in lowland areas of southern UK such as the New Forest, Surrey Heaths and parts of Suffolk.
Covers around 12% of the UK land area, making the UK one of the least wooded areas in Europe. At least 80% of UK woodland is less than 100 years old.
Includes open waters, floodplains, rivers, streams and ponds. Floodplains are a key location of wetlands such as the River Severn and the Somerset Levels.
Broadleaved trees that lose their leaves in winter.
Trees with needle like leaves which often keep their needles all through the year.
Terrestrial ecosystems
Ecosystems which are based on land.
Marine ecosystems
Ecosystems which are based in the sea.
Breeding of fish in pens / nets (similar to agriculture / farming, but in water).
The living elements of an ecosystem such as plants, animals, insect and fungi.
The non living elements of an ecosystem such as soil, rock, air, water and heat.
Limiting factors
Factors that limit biodiversity / species population size, such as temperature, moisture, light and nutrients.
Energy flow / food chain
How energy is passed through an ecosystem.
Nutrient cycling
The movement of important nutrients (such as nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) around the ecosystem between biotic and abiotic elements.
The main areas where these nutrients are stored in an ecosystem (biomass, litter and soil).
Gersmehl Model
The name for a model / diagram which shows how the nutrients flow in, around and out of an ecosystem. Bigger circles mean bigger stores, bigger arrows mean bigger inputs, transfers or outputs.
Nutrient recycling
How nutrients are reused between the different stores.
How nutrients can be lost out of the soil by rain and surface run off.
The amount or weight of living or recently living organisms in an area.
The leaves that have fallen to the ground.
The breaking down of rock in situ. This can release nutrients into the soil and nutrient cycle.
Food web
A network of food chains which explains how energy moves from primary producers to tertiary consumers.
Primary producer
Plants that get their energy from the source. These are the base of all food chains and ecosystems.
Primary consumer
Also known as herbivores, mainly eat plants.
Secondary consumer
Also known as carnivores, eat other animals as well as plants.
Tertiary consumer
Carnivores which are at the top of the food web.
Imaginary lines running around the Earth 23.5 degrees north and south of the Equator, often with dry and hot climates.
Imaginary line running around the centre of the Earth. Warm all year and can be very wet.
Stratified layers
The structure of vegetation within tropical rainforest and deciduous forests.
Buttress roots
Large wide roots which support very tall trees.
Drip tips
Specially designed leaves designed to get rid of excess water so leaves aren’t damaged by heavy rainfall.
Plants which grow on other plants, taking nutrients from the air and rain to help them grow faster to reach the sun.
The way plants and animals have changed to enable them to live in certain conditions.
Something that you can physically hold in your hands such as wood, food medicine.
Something you can’t hold in your hands, such as the tourism or recreation or cultural value. Could also be for flood or climate regulation.
Carbon sink
The term used for large forest areas, especially TRF’s. They are a vital carbon store and release oxygen.
The chopping down of trees on a large scale.
Chopping down trees for their wood to use as timber, fuel or building materials.
Large farms with large amounts of cattle to meet the increasing demand for meet, often created by chopping down large areas of forest.
Taking minerals, rock, metals and fuels from the ground. In tropical rainforests large areas of forest are chopped down so people can get to the materials in the ground
The use of land for buildings. Many ecosystems can be destroyed to make way for these.
Policies and decisions made on a large scale by governments or councils.
Travel to natural areas which does not damage to and conserves the environment, promotes and protects local people and their cultures. Profits stay within the community.
Non government organisations such as charities and pressure groups.
Sustainable management
The use and management of forests in such a way that their environmental, social, cultural, recreational and economic characteristics are preserved for future generations.
Woodland management
Sustainable management can include restricting large-scale clear felling on steep slopes, controlling post-logging soil erosion and pollarding to prevent trees toppling over
Wildlife management
Management can include monitor grazing, fencing off areas of forest against animal grazing, encourage growth and development of a variety of habitats and ecological niches and preventing invasive species
Management can include well managed visitor centres, signposted woodland trails, car parks, designated cycle trails and well managed activities, e.g. Go Ape
Partly chopping down trees so they are less likely to fall or be damaged, can also use for wood but allowing tree to remain and regrow.