Introduction to Biology Lab

Introduction to Biology Lab

 Introduction

There are a number of rain forests in South America. However, the Amazon rain forest stands out as a unique forest, which has managed to maintain its indigenous trees for a long period of time. The forest is located in South America and the largest part of it is located in Brazil.  It is one of the largest rain forests in the world. In terms of size, it covers thousands of hectares of land and it has a number of ecosystems within it. The forest has had a lot of influence on the climate of the entire South American region since it has been a source of many rivers and more so, it has played an important part in rain attraction. Furthermore, the rain forest has acted as source of  herbal medicine since most of the tree that are used to extract the medicine are indigenous trees and these are mostly found in the Amazon forest (Flora & Fey, 2004). More so, the forest has acted as a sanctuary  for various bird types  and this has gone along away  in increasing tourist attraction in the area. Hence, this has gone a long way in improving the revenue of the country through tourism. Furthermore, the forest is home to various species of birds, animals, and insects and, moreover, trees.

Remote view of the geographical location

The   Amazon rain forest ecosystem has various types of biotic components that have existed in the ecosystem for a long time. These biotic components have existed and depended on each other for a long time. Some of the biotic components in the Amazon rain forest include trees.

There are several types of tree that are found in the rainforest. However, it is worth noting that the Amazon rain forest trees are majorly indigenous hardwood trees. Among the trees in the rain forest include;

Mahogany;

This tree is also known as Honduras mahogany and it is a common tree in the Amazon rain forest. It is strong and has a reddish brown color and sometimes, it displays stripes, ribbon, and broken stripes (Flora & Fey, 2004). Moreover, the tree provides a great cover in the forest since the tree cover is approximately 100000 acres. However, the tree in the recent past has been under the threat of extinction.

Teak

This is another tree that is common in the Amazon rain forest. It covers approximately tens of thousands of acres. The tree grows in a straight manner, hence, making it one of the strongest trees in the forest (Flora & Fey, 2004). Moreover, the teak has a yellowish dark brown color. The tree grows too tall and its leaves forms a canopy at a height of 50m at the top and, hence, inhibiting the penetration of sunlight to the ground (Flora & Fey, 2004). Moreover, the growth of teak tree in the forest inhibits the growth of other plants at its feet.

Pine tree

This is the most common type of softwood tree in the forest. It was introduced in the forest by the forest management as one way of curbing deforestation in the forest (Sen, 1999). The tree has covered a large area of the forest that has been under deforestation.   The pine leaves and branches grow towards each other, hence, inhibiting sunlight from reaching the ground. This effect of inhibiting g sunlight from reaching the ground has inhibited growth of other plants in the area.

Climbing figs  

These are climbing plants that have grown all over the Amazon rain forest ecosystem. However, it is important to note that there are various types of climbing trees in the Amazon rain forest ecosystem (Sen, 1999). They majorly twist around the trees so as to be able to access to sunlight for photosynthesis.

 Apart from the various types of trees that are available in the forest, there are also other biotic components that are also present. For instance, there are several reptiles in the   Amazon rain forest ecosystem. There are several anacondas in the ecosystem, most of them are very dangerous (Prescott, 2001). Moreover, there are several green mambas snake in the ecosystem since it offers a calm environment for their hibernation, hence, being able to survive in the ecosystem.

Moreover, there are other wild animals in the ecosystem. For instance, the ecosystem has animals like the Tigers which have found the ecosystem a better place to leave in since the ecosystem provides a good hunting ground for their prey (Gough, 2003). There is also the presence of leaf cutter ants in the ecosystem. These ants feed majorly on the leaves that fall down and, hence, they are the ones that support the decomposition of the leaves and other organic components.

The ecosystem has also flying insects like bees and butterfly. These insect are vital in this ecosystem since they enhance pollination of various plants in the ecosystem (Uphoff, 2002). Moreover, butterflies play an important role in the ecosystem since they are the ones that facilitate the breeding of caterpillars. More so, the ecosystem has a butterfly center where they bread and also help in research (Uphoff, 2002).

Moses is another plant that grows on the dump surfaces of the trees. It is an important food for other reptiles like the frogs. Moreover, this plant play an important role in this ecosystem by ensuring that there is food for fish.

A biotic component

The ecosystem experiences a warm wet weather due to the amount of sunshine that is experienced in the area and more so, the amounts of rain fall, which is at an average of 40mm annually. The temperatures of the ecosystem are at an annual average of 20 degrees Celsius (Prescott, 2001).

The   ecosystems soils are of poor quality in terms of structure and texture. The soil is mainly composed of dead animals, animal wastes, and even dead plants. In terms of soil aeration in the ecosystem, it is poor since there is little barrowing of rodents and other animals, which exist underground (Gough, 2003). The ecosystem experiences a lot of rainfall going up to 40mm annually and, hence, making the ecosystem to be wet  most of the times.

Food web in the rain forest ecosystem

The grass is the primary provider of energy to this food chain (Uphoff,  2002). The  rabbit , squirrel ,mice ,seed eating birds  and herbivorous insects  are the secondary providers of energy in the food chain since they  eat  the grass .The snake, foxes, hawks and owls  are the tertiary consumers in the food chain. The special interdependence among the living creatures in the forest is has been important in as far life sustainability is concerned (Gough, 2003).

Conclusion /Recommendation

The Amazon rainforest has been under the care of the Brazilian government for a long time.  However, the efforts of the government in preserving the forest have experienced several challenges in terms of human activities that have impacted negatively on the ecosystem.

Logging/deforestation  

The demand for fire wood for the local communities and timber for the traders has led to increase in logging activities in the ecosystem. Hence, the ecosystem has been losing a great number of indigenous trees, which have played a vital role in maintaining the rain patterns of the area.

Map showing the level of deforestation through logging

Hunting

There has been increase in the level of traditional hunting activities that has been targeting small grazing animals like gazelles. This has led to the reduction in the numbers of these animals and more so, the number of anacondas is reducing due to increase in the demand for their hides. This increase in hunting has been prompted by increase in demand for game meat and hides of various animals among the communities, which live close to the forest.

Also, an increase in the demand for herbal medicine has led to the extinction of number of trees and climbing species.

It is important for the government to initiate programmes and increase funding to the already existing programs so as to include the local community in the conservation process. This will go along away in maintaining a peaceful coexistence between the local communities and the forest management.

References

Flora, C. B., Flora, J. L., & Fey, S. (2004). Rural communities: legacy and change. New York: Westview press

Gough, I. (2003). List and thresholds: comparing Our Theory of Human Needs with Nussbaum’s capability approach. Wed Working Paper research group.

Montoya, F., & Drews, G. (2006). livelihoods, community well-being, and species conservation: wwf marine and species program for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Prescott-Allen, R. (2001). The Wellbeing of Nations. country index of quality of life and environment. London:  Island Press.

Sen, A. (1999). Development as a freedom. Oxford: Oxford University press

Uphoff, N. (20020. Community –based natural resource management. Island Press. London.

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