Discuss the Relative Importance of Physical and Human Factors in Accounting for Changes to Vegetation over Time Within Ecosystems in the British Isles (40 Marks)

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Discuss the relative importance of physical and human factors in accounting for changes to vegetation over time within ecosystems in the British Isles (40 marks)

The British Isles can be found in the Northern Hemisphere where deciduous forest is the main biome. Here physical and human factors have accounted for changes to the vegetation for many years. Human factors can include tourism, agriculture, urbanisation, interception and deforestation. Physical factors can be such things as natural disasters, succession and diseases.

The human factor of interception can vary between many situations. For example, humans can intercept and alter the vegetation through predator control. By reducing the predators which feed upon that particular
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For example, the chemicals could leak into a local water supply through surface runoff and eutrophication could occur. This is where an algae bloom takes place resulting in the depletion of oxygen disabling plants such as pondweed to respire and therefore die. These then decompose and with a high build up of toxic chemicals the fish of the freshwater lake or pond then die too.

A physical factor which can alter the vegetation of an ecosystem within the British Isles can be natural disasters. There are a range of natural disasters that take place all over the world but the ones most common in the British Isles are forest fires, floods and earthquakes. Irrespective that the value on the Richter scale is usually quite low a lot of vegetation can still be disrupted. Small plants can be uprooted and even fallen debris from damaged properties can fall upon an ecosystem and damage the already existing plants resulting in another physical factor-secondary succession- leading to other species colonising the land and becoming the dominant species.

In addition, forest fires and floods act in a similar way. For example, in 2004 in Boscastle there was severe flooding which resulted from a large amount of precipitation that the water basin just couldn’t hold. This led to increased surface runoff and high saturation of the soil, decreasing it stability. With much of the

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