BIOME RESOURCES FOR PERFORMANCE TASK - ARTICLES & VIDEOS RAINFOREST: Hymn to the Rainforest - Shows video of pristine rainforest being slash and burned to create farmland destroying natives' homes, animal habitats, and creating pollution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSdNlHo_Zms OR Source: ThinkQuest Every year it is estimated that more than 50 million acres (20 million hectares) of rainforest are destroyed. Rainforests are home to half of the world's plants and animals, as far as we know. Scientists discover new species of plants and animals every year. If all of the rainforest is cut down, it will never be able to grow back. Plants will not germinate , because it will get only half of the rain required. The rainforest itself will not be able to produce the other half, as it once did. This might disrupt the rain cycle in all tropic areas. The destruction of the rainforest could also change weather patterns. The rainforest is responsible for sending tropical heat to temperate forest regions in North America. If that warm airflow is stopped, it might change global weather patterns. Carbon dioxide from dead rainforest trees and plants will raise greenhouse gases and speed up global warming. Native people that once lived in the rainforest will be homeless. They will lose all of their culture, knowledge, and history. OCEAN: Oprah speaks on a video about plastics and garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean, killing animals, and the ecosystem. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/04/23/oprah-shines-light-on-gre_n_190552.html OR Ocean Pollution Source: ThinkQuest Garbage Dumping Garbage dumping is the dumping of harmful materials into the ocean like human waste, groundup garbage, water from bathing, and plastics. Most of the waste that has been dumped into the ocean in the early 1990’s is still there today. One main cause of garbage dumping occurs when sewage pipes share their space with storm water drains. Rainfall causes the sewage pipes to overflow and the sewage waste mixes with the storm water drain, which flows into another water source such as a lake or river. After that, the garbage pollutes the ocean, kills plants and animals in the water (for example, the plastic rings that are around pop cans can get around an animal’s neck, causing it to suffocate), and makes the water dirty. How is agriculture polluting the oceans? Chemical pesticides, chemical substances used to kill harmful animals or insects, and fertilizers, chemical or natural substances put on the land to make crops grow better, are another source of pollution. When it rains, the pesticides and fertilizers get taken off of the plants and end up in our oceans, killing ocean plants and animals. They are used by animal and agricultural farms, plantations, industries (especially illegal ones), and believe it or not, our very own gardens. A way to decrease the amount of pesticides and fertilizers polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans is by watching the amount of pesticide spray that you put on the plants in your garden. You can also buy organic products, which are grown with only natural pesticides and fertilizers. Chemical detergents, batteries, plastics, and sewage are all produced by homes and everyday human activity. Every day humans create and use these things, and every day, people are creating a risk to the plants and animals that live in the oceans and lakes by doing things like driving without carpooling and making sure batteries are not leaking. Some ways that you can protect the oceans are by recycling plastics, disposing of batteries properly, using rechargeable batteries instead of regular batteries, using less water, carpooling, and recycling. TUNDRA: http://library.thinkquest.org/C0113340/text/impact/impact.tundra.environment.oil.html Mining and drilling has also destroyed some areas of the tundra. Mining and drilling is popular in arctic tundra areas because they tend to be rich in mineral resources. Minerals are extracted from the ground of the arctic tundras in Russia, Greenland, and Canada. Around these sites not only is the land ravaged, but harmful dusts and gases are produced which cause air pollution. When dusts settle on neighboring ponds, lakes, and streams these waters become uninhabitable by fish, animals and even people. Oil drilling is popularly supported all over the world. Some arctic areas, like in Canada near the Mackenzie Delta and in Alaska in Prudhoe Bay, oil drilling is big business. Unfortunately, oil drilling, like mining, hurts the tundra. It pollutes the air, water, and ground. Both mining and drilling take land away from the arctic tundra animals. This is because they both produce large amounts of noise pollution , which drives animals from their homes. Plants cannot even survive around mining and drilling sites because of the pollution. Parts of the Russian tundra are an excellent example of arctic tundra land being destroyed by mining. Nickel mines there have become so contaminated that all surrounding plants have died off and the soil has washed away. The greatest threat that oil mining poses on the tundra is oil spillage. If an oil leak occurs on the sea or ground, the consequences can be devastating. Oil pollutes the ground and water and kills animals that come in contact with it. An oil spill can ruin a biome as fragile as the tundra. No plants or animals will return to an area where an oil spill has occurred for decades or even longer. DESERT: Source: ThinkQuest The desert is very fragile in many ways, because of the scarcity of water and plants. Most plants that live in the desert take a long time to grow. For example, the saguaro cactus takes two centuries to grow. Once plants are destroyed, it will take many years for them to grow back. Since soil in the desert is held down by the plants roots, once plants are destroyed the soil is, too. The soil will quickly erode away in the strong winds. Many types of human activities hurt the desert. Off roading is one of these activities. Many people drive their off road vehicles in unrestricted areas all over the desert. Their vehicles leave tracks on the soil, which will scar the land for decades. These tracks also kill off vegetation. When vegetation is harmed, so are the animals. When vegetation dwindles in population, in popular off roading areas, so does the animal population. Animals that hide in the sand can also be harmed. The sand viper, which hides so well in the soil, can become an accidental victim of off roading mayhem.