Geography 1500F/G Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Ecosystem Services, Craps, Water Cycle

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1500f: lecture #7: October 3rd, 2016: Biodiversity case study: The Amazon
Today’s focus:
Applying ideas to the Amazon region
o The Amazon’s diversity and ecological services
o Historical human-environment interactions
o Contemporary threats
Reminder of unmarked midterm = Oct 12th
Amazon region draw image - refer to slides
Thin black lines are country regions
Overlaps territory with several different countries
Even from area from space you can see the river and mountains
In terms of size… size of about the US
Many different ecosystems with conflicting regulations
Life in the amazon is incredibly diverse
Ecosystem probably formed by the rise of the Andes mountains starting 35-65
million years ago
o Increased rainfall by blocking humid Atlantic air
o Prevented water from draining to Pacific; formed wetlands
Home to 1/10 of all specific on earth
o Most diversity in the world
Helpful video: amazon: the lungs of our planet (BBC)
The Amazon provides regional and global ecosystem services
Produces oxygen, stores carbon
Regulates the water cycle, ‘creates’ rain
Cycles nutrients, forms soil
Provides useful products…nuts, rubber, etc.
Provides cultural value for those living within the soil (turning to their story now)
Humans have lives in the Amazon for thousands of years
Around 13, 000 years
Throughout most of that period, tropical rainforest has been the dominant
o Has been stable as a tropical rainforest
o Main source of vegetation
Different indigenous livelihoods over time:
o Foraging (hunter-gatherer)
o Foraging combined with settled fishing
o Cultivation (slash-and-burn [not meant to have negative connotation-
burning is a way to release nutrients]; orchards of valuable plants)
o Some large settlements that emerged at this time
How did pre-colonial people influence the Amazon environment?
Changed the composition of the forest
o Cultivated useful trees and plants
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