Living World – What you need to know

The key ideas for the topic are in bold and the main information you need to know is shown in italics.

An ecosystem is made up of plants and animals and the physical factors affecting them (climate and soil). These different parts interrelate and depend on each other. There is a balance between the different parts.

The concept of an ecosystem. The use of a small scale ecosystem to illustrate the parts of an ecosystem and how it works, including consumers, decomposers, food chain/web, nutrient cycling and producers.

The balance between the components. The impact of changing one component on the others.

Different ecosystems are found in different parts of the world due to the influence of climate and soils.

The vegetation adapts to the climate and soils and is in harmony with it.

The global distribution of three ecosystems – temperate deciduous forest, tropical rainforest and hot deserts. The characteristics of the vegetation, climate and soils for each ecosystem.

The ways in which the vegetation in temperate deciduous forest, tropical rainforest and hot deserts adapts to the climate and soils.

Temperate deciduous woodlands are used for a variety of reasons. They provide examples of successful, sustainable management.

A case study of a temperate deciduous woodland. The use of the deciduous woodland for timber and timber products, recreation and conservation. Ways in which the deciduous woodland is managed – controlled felling, replanting, planning for recreational use and conservation.

Tropical rainforest is removed for a range of reasons. This has economic, social, political and environmental repercussions.

A case study of a tropical rainforest. The causes of deforestation: farming, slash and burn and commercial ranching, logging, road building, mineral extraction and population pressure. The economic, social, political and environmental impacts of deforestation.

Tropical rainforests need to be managed sustainably. international co-operation is needed.

The sustainable management of tropical rainforest – selective logging, replanting, education, ecotourism, protection, reducing demand for tropical hardwoods and reducing debt.

Hot deserts provide opportunities for economic development.

A case study of a hot desert in a rich part of the world and one from a poorer area: use of area for commercial farming, irrigation, mineral extraction, retirement migration and tourism and a contrasting area: hunting and gathering, farming, irrigation. Management of each area to ensure sustainability and challenges faced.