Amazon Project part 6: Conclusion

amazon rainforest

Now, in some parts of the Amazon, Logging companies are being more selective and careful about the trees they want to cut down and the best way to do it without doing to much damage. More companies are replacing the trees they cut down with more rarer and valuable species such as mahogany.

As individuals, there is a lot we can do to help the situation. First, do not order expensive mahogany and other wood to make furniture- do you really need it. Be more careful with the amount of paper you use. The average family uses about seven trees worth of paper and cardboard each year. Re-cycle all the packaging and use paper and other products like wood sparingly. Turn off the heating and put on a jumper, do not leave things on standby unless you have to and turn things off when you are not using them and do not need them. This saves tress from being burnt to make your electricity.  

International ecotourism groups such as Tie’s are working with people worldwide in places like Lebanon. They promote sustainable tourism to remote villages. Eco-tourism is sustainable tourism. You can go on holiday to a less well off country like Lebanon as well as many destinations across the Globe. As you can see from the map below, there are projects worldwide. On these trips, you can visit indigenous people and learn about their culture. You can find out their point of view and how they are affected. This gives you a great holiday, a new experience and all without doing a great deal of damage to the environment. Some of the money you pay goes to these people and they can use it to survive. It will give them food and clean water and teach language and friendship skills they can use in the outside world.

National parks are springing up across the tropical rainforests. Parks such as the Jaú National Park protect the rainforest from loggers, miners and farming. They have a great range of biodiversity and help endangered species with special breeding programmes. These parks help save and re-grow the rainforest to its former glory. Here scientist can study the affects of what is happening, and they can study and discover potentially life-saving cures.

In conclusion, if we all work hard, there is still some hope. If we all work together, we can try to save this planet and stop the rainforests of the world from being destroyed.  The planet can stay looking like this…

Hostile Earth (Part 2)

The Process of aVolcanic Eruption

  1. At a destructive plate boundary the oceanic plate moves towards the continental plate, but as the oceanic plate is heavier it sinks.
  2. The oceanic plate is pushed further under and melts in the hot temperatures of the mantel, and the extra magma increases pressure.
  3. As the melted rock is lighter it forces its way to the surface creating a volcano. Further eruptions build up layers of rock.
  4. Red hot lava flows down the side of the volcano. Gases in the volcano can cause explosions as more magma forces its way upwards, releasing thousands of volcanic bombs and pyroclastic flows. The lava can also mix with water to form Lahas (a type of mudflow which causes more deaths than the lava alone)

If volcanoes are so dangerous, why do we live near them?

  • Fertile soils – the physical breakdown and chemical weathering of rocks over thousands of years forms fertile soil (e.g.  Hawaii)
  • Geothermal energy – water in permeable rocks is heated by the magma beneath to form steam. It can be used to drie turbines for electricity, for spas or for space heating. It is an environmentally-friendly and limitless source of enerfy. (e.g. in Iceland 70% of homes are heated by geothermal energy)
  • Minerals – lava can crystallise into gold/silver/diamonds etc. meaning dormant volcanoes provide good mining oppurtunities, which could lead to job creation and the development of near-by towns.
  • Tourism – Hot springs/geysers are huge tourist attractions and provide additional revenue for the country (e.g. Old Faithful in Yellowstone park)
  • Science – Close study of volcanoes could lead to a better understanding of them and help to develop new prediction techniques
  • Other – local inhabitants often think an eruption won’t happen in their lifetime so it is safe to live there and as it has always been their home they are often reluctant to leave, particually as many jobs are based near volcanoes e.g. logging

Case Study – Mt. St. Helens

A detailed account of the eruption and its affects can be found here, but here is a rather informative and at the same time commical song about the eruption:

Tourism!

With the January exams looming I thought I’d share my revision notes for the geography unit on tourism 🙂

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Counter Urbanisation

Escape-to-the-country-logo

With reference to a specific example describe and explain the causes and effects of counter urbanization in an MEDC.

Counter-urbanisation is taking place in the UK, from London, the capital and most populated city in the UK, to Tiptree, a village along the A12 between London and Colchester.

One of the main reasons for leaving London is that the cost of living is very high. Demand for homes in the capital where there is little room for expansion and lots of businesses means that there is a huge amount of competition for housing nearby people’s workplaces for example. The huge demand means that prices rise and many people can’t afford it. Whereas in Tiptree there is not a lot of competition for houses as there is a more sparse population. House prices here are a lot cheaper than in London, and you get larger accommodation for your money.

As a crowded city, London has a fairly polluted environment, with poorer air quality, lots of litter and a lot of noise from many things such as roads. Whereas in Tiptree, the environment is more welcoming, with clean air, only small amounts of litter, and lots of wide, open spaces.

The amount of immigration to the London area has seen much over crowding in schools in the city, but in the smaller village of Tiptree there is no overcrowding so schools can cope with the amount of pupils and their learning doesn’t suffer.

Transport links into and out of the city of London are very overcrowded and therefore there is a lot of congestion, and many people are often late for work, or late getting home. Tiptree does not have this problem as it is a smaller village and traffic can quickly flow easily through so there is not any lateness.

Due to all these reasons, counter-urbanisation is taking place. The richer population of London who can afford to move do so from the city to local villages like Tiptree. Yet while having a more positive impact on London, it negatively affects Tiptree.

This is because as more and more people move out of parts of London, there becomes less road congestion as there are fewer people with fewer cars, and local school and hospitals may become less crowded as there are fewer people li8ving and needing those services in the area.

On the overhand, in Tiptree, housing prices rise as there becomes a greater demand from all those leaving London. First time buyers then struggle to buy their first property as prices become too much for them to afford.

The local populations are swamped with newcomers who are often disliked as they live but don’t work in the village and are seen as outsiders to the community of Tiptree. Also, there becomes congestion at peak times within the village as people travel to London for work.

The main school in Tiptree, Thurstable School, had to be extended to cope with the increase in the number of 11-18 year olds in the area.

As more and more people move to Tiptree, there becomes a loss of open green spaces as extra amenities such as golf courses, shops, gyms pubs and new roads open due to the high increase in the population. This costs a fair amount of money, and the beautiful countryside is slowly destroyed by excess buildings.

Consequences of rainforest exploitation (Amazon project part 5)

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Due to these activities, everything is affected. The natives that live in the forest are fighting for survival. Logging companies are cutting down dense areas of forest and only leaving small pockets of not very dense forest. This means they cannot hunt for food, and many of the tropical plants they use to store food eat and use as medicines are all being cut down. Cutting down trees affect their water supply, instead of being pure and fresh mineral water it becomes muddy and useless. This is because there are no trees so rain hits the ground directly. This pulls mud from the top soil into the rivers. This means the natives have no clean water to drink or to wash with. The fish struggle to live in that dirty water and many species could be wiped out. The natives would have nothing to eat. The natives have to heavily rely on getting supplies from the outside world, but they do not have enough money to get what they need.  They have to become farmers, but their crops do not sell at a high enough price. These markets where they buy and sell supplies could be miles away and the only way to get to them is by a long trek by foot that could last for days, or they would have to row all the way and risk the dangers of the water such as wild animals. They cannot move any closer to the markets as the land is already being used for farming, mining or logging. We are killing of the indigenous people of the forest. 

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Not only are the natives affected, plants and animals are affected too. By cutting down the trees, we are killing off the animals of the forest. The tall trees in the canopy provide food and shelter for a wide range of species including monkeys and lizards. Without this home, they cannot survive. Other groups often reject any animals that do survive and escape to another part of the forest. The animals cannot drink any fresh water because the rainwater hits the soil directly and washes mud into the river. This causes the animals to catch diseases. This could wipe out whole species in no time. There are still thousands of species that could help us learn more about the world, but scientists are not getting the chance to find these animals. After the trees are cut down, the nutrients and water cycles are broken. This means in a few years the land will become wasteland and practically useless. There are plants out there, which we have not discovered, and yet they are being cut down and the whole species is being made extinct. These plants could hold the keys to curing diseases such as aids and cancer, but scientists are not being given the chance to find these plants. These plants could save hundreds or even thousands of people each year. This means one day, if a loved one becomes seriously ill, we will not have a cure that will definitely cure them, and we are all putting ourselves in danger. When logging companies leave some trees because their value is not worth the effort or time to cut down when there are lots of more valuable trees, those trees may die as well because they get damaged whenever another tree is cut down. More animals will be affected.  Dragging the trees down the river by using a boat to tow them affects the wildlife in the rivers because animals may get caught in-between them and die.

There is a serious global threat partly due to with the way we live and partly due to the cutting down of the rainforests worldwide. As we all know, plants take in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use it to keep them alive and in return, they give out oxygen-essential for our survival.  However, we are cutting down all of the trees and burning an awful lot of them. This produces a lot more carbon dioxide as well as other harmful gasses. As there are even less trees to absorb this carbon dioxide, a lot more escapes into our atmosphere and rises up to form a protective layer around the Earth, as explained in the diagram below.

earth

When the sun’s rays hit the Earth, as usual, most of that energy is absorbed by the Earth to heat it up. The problem is, normally, some of those rays are not needed and are reflected back towards the sun. Now, because of excessive amounts of Carbon dioxide, these rays are reflected from the earth to the atmosphere, but the rays cannot escape through carbon dioxide so they are reflected back to the Earth and so on.  This means the Earth is heating up by 1 degree per year. This does not sound like much, but the way we are going, it is going to increase. This sudden rise in temperature means the polar ice caps are melting at an extraordinary rate. Sea levels are set to rise by meters, and if the Thames barrier and other defences that are going to be put in cannot hold the water back, Most of England could be under water and look a bit like the picture below- part of the sea.

 sea

Animals cannot adapt in time and the natives have nowhere to go so whole species is the polar ice caps are becoming extinct.  Even the rainforests might flood with salty seawater, and no plants and very few animals would be able to survive. The whole rainforest would be destroyed and there would not be enough land for the whole population of humans to live.

The Tropical Rainforest (Amazon Project Part 1)

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The Tropical rainforest is a forest found near the equator. The temperature only varies by a few degrees all year. It looks green all year round even though many of the trees are deciduous, because there is a constant temperature there are no seasons so the trees lose their leaves at different times of year. The rainforests hold more of the world’s species of plants and animals than any other biome. The Amazon has around 50% of the world’s species of plants and animals.

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The rainforest is mainly made up of well-designed and adapted trees. These millions of trees grow in four main layers. The top layer of trees is made up of very tall trees reaching heights of over 50 meters called Emergent. They have specially designed buttress roots so they do not fall over. The next layer is called the canopy, with trees growing to around 30 meters. This is where most of the animals live; flowers grow and the layer that gets the most light. The next layer is called the under canopy or under storey with trees growing to around 10meters. Here it is quite dark. The last layer is the shrub layer. Here it is very quiet and plants may only get sunlight for a few minutes of the day, so they have very dark green leaves and turn to face the sun. Some plants have adapted to grow on the taller trees and use their energy to survive. The animals have adapted to have bright and bold colours, being able to make a loud noise and eat diets that consist mainly of fruit as well as living in the canopy where there is more food and light. The nutrients cycle helps to keep the rainforest alive. Most of the trees are deciduous, but they all lose there leaves at different times of the year, so the forest floor is always covered in leaves all year round. Decomposers then eat these leaves. They then excrete and put nutrients back into the soil. The trees then suck up the nutrients so they can grow. Sometimes over plants will grow on the trees, and suck nutrients from their host tree. The tree then loses it leaves and the cycle starts again.

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The Tropical Rainforest is found mainly between the Tropic of Capricorn to the south and the Tropic of Cancer to the north. It is found here, as there is a hotter climate because there is more direct sunlight hitting the earth, as it is not as round as the top of the Earth, so the sun has a smaller area of land to heat. The main areas of tropical rainforest are shown on this map. The two red lines show the topics of cancer and Capricorn

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It rains a lot in the Rainforest because it is very hot all day. This is part of the water cycle. As the sun heats the ground, it heats the air above it. The warm air then rises, cools, and condenses, causing convectional rainfall.  Some of the rain is evaporated off the leaves or held as moisture in the leaves. Some water runs off the leaves and is absorbed into the soil. The rest runs off into the river. Only about 20% of the rain makes it backinto the river. As you can see by this climate graph, the amount of rain does vary a lot throughout the year; there is always plenty of water. The temperature does not vary much at all.

MEDC Urban Development Problems

Case Study: Congestion and Traffic Management in Chelmsford

Causes:

  • There is fairly poor public transport so many prefer to use their own means of transport instead.
  • Chelmsford is a thoroughfare to get to other places such as Colchester as the A12 and A414 run through it, meaning there are more cars on the road.
  • There is an increase in car ownership as cars are becoming cheaper to buy second-hand.
  • Chelmsford is built on old road systems that only allow one lane each way with no room to expand as there are too many buildings, and so the roads cannot cope today’s volume of traffic.
  • Chelmsford is the county town of Essex and is a big town so many people are moving here in the hope of employment.
  • People are travelling further to reach work as they have car access instead of taking local jobs to them in walking/cycling distance so there are lots more cars.

Effects:

  • People may become consistently late to work as they struggle to get through the town to their work amidst all the traffic
  • It increases the amount of road-rage experienced by frustrated drivers stuck in long queues.  
  • There may be an increase in the amount of collisions/rashes as there are more cars on the road. Also, people who become fed up with being stuck in traffic jams may drive more dangerously such as performing
  • All the traffic on the roads means it becomes very difficult for local businesses to transport their goods or have other companies deliver goods to them.
  • There becomes tension between car owners and environmentalists as car owners want to drive but environmentalists are angered by this as it is damaging the environment. 
  • There also becomes tension between locals and commuters as the commuters are causing a great deal of the congestion, and the locals cannot get around their own town easily or have to wait for long periods of time to park their car in their driveway.
  • The total amount of money spent on petrol increases as more is used sitting in traffic, and local companies can exploit the high demand by increasing prices.
  • The fumes from all the cars cause vast amounts of air pollution. For example, these gases can cause illnesses and potentially cancer, especially in high risk groups such as the elderly or the asthmatic. Also a lot of carbon dioxide is produced, which is one of the gases contributing to global warming.

Solutions:

  • Some roads have become pedestrian orientated to keep cars away from high risk area e.g. in the town centre the high street isn’t used for any vehicles, and also they cannot make any pollution here.
  • Hybrid cars could be developed and promoted. These would cut down on the carbon emissions as well as other detrimental gases.   
  • Smaller cars and car sharing could be promotes which would cut down on emissions and the amount of congestion on the roads.
  • Park and ride/park and cycle schemes could be promoted cutting down on traffic and pollution in the main area of the town.
  • Congestion charges could be enforced around the town centre to discourage people from driving there, encouraging them to find alternative means of transport.
  • More bus lanes could be built to improve the flow of public transport. Or cycle lanes to encourage cycling and keep cyclists out of pedestrian’s and cars way.
  • More tax could be put on petrol and diesel to discourage drivers from using their cars all the time.
  • Buses could become free or a lot cheaper to encourage more people to use them on a regular basis.
  • Parking costs in the town could be increased to encourage people to use public transport, walk or cycle to wherever they need to go if possible.
  • Alternative means of transport need to be explained and promoted such as walking to school (walking bus)
  • Cycling should be promoted as it is very environmentally friendly and also has health benefits.
  • Traffic calming measures such as speed bumps, speed cameras and 20mph speed limits should be introduced to reduce accidents by cars.