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GCSE Geography Revision Topics: Ecosystems

What is an ecosystem?
The Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem

Human Impact
What might the examiner ask?



A community of plants and animals sharing an environment. The largest ecosystem units are called biomes.

The Tropical Rainforest Ecosystem

The key idea relates to a systems approach, therefore inputs, processes and outputs of the rainforest are key here.

Inputs: Climate of the rainforest
Processes: Awareness of plant growth:
  • Nutrients from the soil
  • Photosynthesis
  • Decomposition
  • Outputs: Rainforest Vegetation:
  • Emergents
  • Canopy
  • Ground cover
  • Location

    Rainforests are located 5 either side of the equator.


  • Hot and humid
  • Over 25
  • Heavy rainfall most afternoons


    Richest and most varied biome in the world. The vegetation is in distinctive layers:

  • Emergents
  • Canopy
  • Under Canopy
  • Shrub Layer
  • Ground Level

    Human Impact

    Deforestation is occurring as a result of ranching, logging, farming and mining. The deforestation of rainforests is causing problems world-wide - this includes: Soil erosion, surface run-off, flooding as a result of Global Warming (The TRF uses carbon dioxide in photosynthesis - removing the forest means more global warming), destruction of natural habitats (animals as well as humans) and soil infertility.

    What might the examiner ask?

    1. Where are the rainforests?
    2. What are they like?
    3. How do they work?
    4. How does farming affect them e.g. how do farmers cause soil erosion?

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