Geography Assessment Task 1 2015 Essay

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Biophysical Interactions-Deforestation in the Biosphere [Case study on Deforestation: The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra] Map of Sumatra
Listed as the sixth largest island in the world, Sumatra is home to a vast variety of flora and fauna that exemplify ecological uniqueness thus inscribed the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its biodiversity therefore, at high risk of extinction and is expected to disappear in twenty five years’ time. The Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra comprises of three national parks: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Selblat National Park, and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park. These parks are stretched along the Bukit Barisan Mountain Range towards the western side of Sumatra. Deforestation is a major issue that recently has been acknowledged by authority recently, with new laws and regulations in place to protect forests around the world. This issue has highly affected the biosphere of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra and its cause has been the human activity over the past hundred years or so. Once a rainforest has been deforested, it becomes difficult to re-establish or regenerate.

Gunung Leuser National Park Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park Kerinci Selblat National Park
Having an impressively diverse biota in the world, with at least ten thousand inhabitants that are endemic, individuals in Sumatra over time have taken this for granted establishing an inevitable situation in our generation where flora such as medicinal plant species and animals such as local elephants and tigers, pushing these endangered flora and fauna to extinction. In the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, lives 50% of Sumatra’s fauna including the world’s tallest flower the Amorphophallus titanum(figure1) and the world’s largest flower Rafflesia Arnoldii (figure 2) , also fauna that only exists in Sumatra, the Sumatran Tiger(figure 3) and the Sumatran Orang-utan(figure 4).

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4
Containing the 'last and largest sources commercially valuable hardwoods in Asia', the area is threatened by illegal logging, agriculture and settlements, the poaching of large animals and the proposal of new roads along the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra. It is estimated that ‘the highest rate of deforestation of any major tropical region, could lose up to three quarters of its original rainforests by 2100 and up to 24% of its biodiversity’. At this point of time, the prediction seems sceptical to most individuals but day by day, every portion of the rainforest is one step closer to extinction (evident in figure 5 and 6). This is due to the increasing population of humans resulting in a higher demand for resources from water to the flora and fauna species itself. Therefore, the deforestation through both illegal and legal human activities has caused the rainforest to gradually degrade. Figure 5 Figure 6

Being a tropical island, Sumatra has a tropical wet climate making it moderately humid. The annual temperature in Sumatra is 26.2°C whilst its annual precipitation is 2125 mm. Figure 6 and 7 indicates the average temperate monthly and annually, showing the range of temperature from the hottest day to the coldest day of each month and year. Figure 6 Figure 7

On average, there are 166 days a year with