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Terrestrial Biomes Declining Biodiversity Report

Terrestrial Biomes Declining Biodiversity Report

Question Description

I’m working on a geography question and need a sample draft to help me study.

Assess the impact of declining biodiversity upon a major terrestrial biome that youhave studied.

Mark scheme

Level 3 (7–9 marks)

AO1 – Demonstrates detailed knowledge and understanding of concepts,

processes, interactions and change. These underpin the response


AO2 – Applies knowledge and understanding appropriately with detail.

Connections and relationships between different aspects of study are

fully developed with complete relevance. Evaluation is detailed and well

supported with appropriate evidence.

Level 2 (4–6 marks)

AO1 – Demonstrates clear knowledge and understanding of concepts,

processes, interactions and change. These are mostly relevant though

there may be some minor inaccuracy.

AO2 – Applies clear knowledge and understanding appropriately.

Connections and relationships between different aspects of study are

evident with some relevance. Evaluation is evident and supported with

clear and appropriate evidence.

Level 1 (1–3 marks)

AO1 – Demonstrates basic knowledge and understanding of concepts,

processes, interactions and change. This offers limited relevance with


AO2 – Applies limited knowledge and understanding. Connections and

relationships between different aspects of study are basic with limited

relevance. Evaluation is basic and supported with limited appropriate


Notes for answers


  • The concept of the biome. The global distribution of major terrestrial
  • biomes.

  • The nature of one biome: tropical rainforest or savanna grassland to
  • include: the main characteristics of each biome; ecological responses

    to the climate, soil and soil moisture budget – adaptations by flora and

    fauna; human activity and its impact on each biome; typical

    development issues in each biome to include changes in population,

    economic development, agricultural extension and intensification,

    implications for biodiversity and sustainability.

  • The concept of biodiversity. Local and global trends in biodiversity.
  • Causes, rates and potential impacts of declining biodiversity.


  • Responses are likely to consider either tropical rainforest or savanna
  • grassland. Other biomes may be considered such as temperate

    deciduous woodland or tundra for example.

  • The loss of biodiversity has many potential consequences.
  • Losses in biodiversity in rainforests cause significant changes in
  • ecosystem functioning. The particular species making up an

    ecosystem determine its productivity, they affect nutrient cycles and

    soil constituents, and they influence environmental conditions such as

    water cycles, weather patterns, climate and other abiotic aspects such

    as soil formation.

  • Some may argue that in some ecosystems it is possible that many
  • species can disappear without serious degradation of most of the

    functional aspects of the ecosystem. Many ecologists nevertheless feel

    that the total number of species has a great effect on ecosystem

    functioning. Reducing biodiversity may lead to a reduction in

    productivity because of the loss of some niche roles.

  • Reduced biodiversity affects soil processes, decomposition, water
  • retention and many other ecosystem functions. For example increasing

    the diversity of plants, herbivores, and decomposing organisms, may

    increase net primary productivity (NPP). Areas with greater numbers of

    species tend to have a greater above- and below-ground plant

    biomass, higher rates of nitrogen fixation. Data suggests for a 50%

    reduction in biodiversity, there will be a 10%–20% loss of productivity.

    There are suggestions that loss of species richness may affect many

    ecosystem processes (nutrient cycling, increased uptake of carbon,

    and others) in addition to productivity.

  • Another unintended impact of reduced biodiversity relates to fire
  • hazards and wider impact upon local climate. In Hawaii for example,

    grasses were introduced to improve cattle grazing, but since these

    grasses are flammable, they have caused a significant increase in fires

    in the forests into which they spread. Most woody plants are damaged

    or destroyed by fires, while grasses generally are not, since their deep

    root systems are maintained even when the superficial portions of the

    plant are lost. This in turn reduces evapotranspiration and rainfall. If

    tropical forest trees are removed and their place is taken by savannah

    grasses, the evapotranspiration is reduced, decreasing rainfall (and

    reducing the possibility of forest regeneration).

  • Trophic interactions may be altered as biodiversity declines:
  • Ecosystem functions depend greatly upon trophic interactions among

    species within that system. For instance, if carnivores are removed,

    prey species populations may grow tremendously, leading to a series

    of uncontrolled changes in the system.

    Credit any other valid approach. Evaluation should be based upon

    preceding content.

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