Vertical vegetation zones (comparision with vegetation zones from pole to equator)
*Snow land(Schneestufe) 0 Grad, starts at 6 000 m , no agriculture ,arctic desert
———————————-Snow line ———————————————————-
*Frozen land(Felsschuttstufe)5 Grad ,starts at 5 200 m, Llama pasture ,tundra
*Cold land /tropical cloud forest (Nebelwaldstufe)12Grad ,start at 4 000m,Potatoes and Barley,taiga
*Temperate land/tropical montane forest(Bergwaldstufe)18Grad ,starts at 2 500m,“,decidious forest
*Hot land (Kaffeestufe)24Grad, starts at 1 100m ,maize,bananas &coffee ,tropical rainforest
Agriculture :US versus Latin Ameerica
little or no mechinasation
very few workers (1.6%of workforce)
Very many workers (1/3 of workforce )
Agribusiness (big profits)
Cash crops (profits for owners& workers get little pay for export
Monoculture( bananas, coffee,cocoa,coconuts)
Lots of chemicals
Comparision of climate
Hours of daylight
Winter:8 & 10min
Summer:16 &10 min
av.temperature at 6 a.m.
Winter :5 Grad
summer : 21 Grad
At 3 p.m.
Winter :7 Grad
Daily temperature range
Winter : 2 Grad
Summer: 5 Grad
Annual temperature range
Annual total precipitation
The difference in temperature during the day is much larger than the difference during the year.
This is called diurnal climate (tageszeitenklima).The precipitation is high ,sometimes with a wet and dry season .
A typical day in the rainforest
*The sun rises at 6’o clock -20 Grad- fog
*from 7 to 9’o clock – evaporation
*from 10 to 1 o’clock -condensation and formation of clouds (at noon 28 Grad)
*from1 to 5 o’clock – thunderstorms (highest temperature at 3p.m. 31 Grad)
*The sun goes down at 6 pm o’clock -vaporous clouds(at night = 20 Grad )
The layers of the rainforest
Name of layer & characteristics
Sun deck up to 60m
few giant trees (60m high)
Giant trees with big roots called butress roots
General layer/canopy layer
up to 45 m
trees with big crowns (40 m high)
Trees, flowering plants, plants thet live on other plants called Epiphytes ,lianas
Lots of birds,insects
Understorey layer up to 15 m
Small trees, palms, bushes with big leaves (covered with lianas)
Insects: mosquitoes, spiders, beetles.
Forest layer up 0m
old& dead leaves or branches
Big roots of bigger trees
Big animals (Jaguar)
snakes , frogs , insects
The nutrient cycle
The soil of the tropical rainforest is infertile because of the heavy rainfall, which washes away all nutrients .
But when trees or leaves die , they soon begin to rot and micro-organism digest them.This makes a humus layer on the ground .Thic cycle continues quickly because of the high temperature.The plants can absorb this nutrients through their roots and use them to grow.
A second source of nutrients is dust with minerals(from Sahara) which is washed to the ground water by the rain.
If the trees are cut down the cycle is broken, because deforestation causes erosion and the soil is infertile then .
Shifting cultivation & slash and burn
Wanderfeldbau & Brandrodung
First the Yanomami choose a small part of the rainforest near their settlement, then they slash the natural vegetation with simple tools and burn the wood. In the ash are nutrient which are washed into the ground with rain . Now the Yanomami start to grow crops, because the soil is fertile.
One field can be used 2-4 years, then the nutrient are washed away and the Yanomami look for a new place for slash and burn. After 12 years they have to go to another area and built a new settlement, because there is no good land left anymore. They can come back to their first place after 50 years, then the forest has re-establish itself.
The traditional way of farming of the Yanomami (shifting cultivation) is sustainable, but only with a small population and a large area.
List of dangers for the rainforest
*System of roads( Trans-Amazonian Highway)
*Settlement ( infertile soil and dry in the North-East of Brazil &no work in crowded cities)
*Slash and burn agriculture
*Breaking of nutrient cycle->infertile soil->no more trees can grow
*Selling of the high valuable trees (Mahogani)
*Substistence farming(Selbstversorgung)>soil lost fertility and settlers go furtger into the rain forest
*Logging firms (Holzfirmen) money to owner
*Natural conditions (rain washes away nutrients)
*Poor settlers sell their land to GM soybeans firms and clear it first
*Cattle ranches (cattles destroy the ground with treir hooves)
*GM soybeans farming (Genmanupullierte Sojabohnen) >is resistant against pesticides
–they are used for animal food
Why should we save the rain forest?
*trees produce the air we breathe:the plants take in carbon dioxide(CO²) and produce oxygen (O²)
during photosynthesis , CO² causes global warming
*clouds: the plants of the rain forest have large leaves which give out water vapour,this makes
clouds and the clouds protect the Earth from the sun
*animal species: they live in different layers and share the food
*plants :about 75% of all known plants live in the tropical rainforest which can grow there were fast
because of the hot and wet climate (on one hectare=283 species and in Germany just 5)
*medicine:most medicine is made of tropical plants eg the medicine against Malaria
*people:many tribes live in the rain forest and need it ro survive
Where are the rainforest?
They are all in the tropical zones near the Equator (high temperature 25 Grad and much rainfall 5.5mm a day):
7+8South-East Asia (mainland &islands)
Sustainable living in the rainforest
Once Acre was well off , there were many rubber trees and the people there collected latex.
This was exported to make things like car tyres.Then cattle ranchers and loggers moved in and made deforestation. The rubber tappers tried to stop them …Another problem was synthetic rubber (made from oil) ,nobody bought the rubber anymore and the people get poor.
So they had to make slash and burn & cut down trees.
Now the people make sustainable farming:they grow crops which they can eat theirself and sell soon, but in the spaces between they grow trees which take longer to grow but will earn money in few years and they also grow slow-growing trees like mahogany because so the ares will look like a rainforest again in 10 or 20 years.
There are also new rules for logging:Logging is just allowed in some areas and not all trees can be cut down there and the loggers have to plant new trees.
The people of Acre have also found ways to use the rain forest with out destroying it:collect fruits and seeds,latex for bags and sandals, sustainable tourism,little factories for latex,furniture and nuts
And now there are some things to manage the rainforest :satellite images, forest was divided into zones ( sustainable logging, tourism, farming),better infrastructure(paves ways,solar power)