Idea for Use in the Classroom
Begin by using the infographic to review the water cycle and create a general diagram of water cycling through Amazonia. Then learn about the food webs dependent on Amazonia’s freshwater systems. As a class, practice creating a food web using those organisms found within bromeliads as depicted in the “Small Ecosystem” section. Next, assign small groups to use the infographic and outside research to produce a food web of one of the featured forests: Igapó, Várzea, or Terra Firme. Contrast the larger forest ecosystems with the bromeliad’s food web to highlight dependence on freshwater and differences in size.
Students can then explore the infographic to identify the positive impacts of flooding within these forests. Next, read Dr. Thomas Lovejoy’s Explorer profile to identify and learn about threats to Amazonia. Ask students to suggest why deforestation can result in decreased rainfall. Students can reference their diagrams of Amazonia’s water cycle to help establish the connection. Then ask: How do deforestation and reduced rainfall relate to flooding? How might the issues affecting Amazonia impact global ecosystems over time? To emphasize the importance of rainfall and flooding, have each student select one of the organisms from their Amazonia food web and predict how the absence of flooding would affect that organism. Then have students hypothesize how the remainder of the food web would be impacted as a result. Extend learning by using the infographic and Explorer profile to propose methods of preventing, or at least reducing, deforestation in Amazonia.
management of a natural resource to prevent exploitation, destruction, or neglect.
community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.
overflow of a body of water onto land.
all related food chains in an ecosystem. Also called a food cycle.
living or once-living thing.
tropical rain forest
grouping of tall evergreen trees, usually close to the Equator, which receives more than 203 centimeters (80 inches) of rain a year.