Using examples, assess the relative importance of human and physical factors in influencing levels of biodiversity. (15)
It is clearly the case that variations in levels of biodiversity are highly influenced by physical factors. The climate of a region has a massive impact on the levels of biodiversity, as this determines what flora and fauna can survive. Sunlight, temperature, water and CO? are all limiting factors for plant growth. Places with very few limiting factors, such as a tropical rainforest, have high biodiversity because the conditions are good, meaning many plants can grow there because they do not need to be specialised. These conditions are also favourable to many animal species, due to resources being widely available and many niches to be occupied. This leads to high biodiversity because of little competition between species. On the other hand, places with a lot of limiting factors, the Arctic for example, means plants and animals have to be specialised to survive, therefore biodiversity is low due to harsh conditions. The altitudinal range of an area also influences biodiversity. This is because different climates occur at different altitudes, meaning if there is a large range of elevations, there will be conditions that suit many different species of animals and plants so biodiversity is higher. One example of this is the Himalayas where biodiversity is high.
Endemism is another physical factor, this increases biodiversity and is affected by the location of an area. For example, islands, such as the Galapagos Islands, are more likely to have endemic species because of isolation from species on the mainland, leading to adaptation to suit the environment on the island.
The age of an area also plays a part in the levels of biodiversity as it allows species to adapt and different niches to become occupied. Moreover, if the area is also undisturbed, biodiversity will be higher. For example, in untouched areas of the Amazon rainforest, nature thrives.
Although physical factors play a bigger role in influencing biodiversity, because they are the factors that…