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Carbon and Water Cycles in the Tropical Rainforest

Media: DVD & Digital Download
DUR: 34 mins
Product Code: RCYCLE
Price: £49.00

DVD and HD Digital Download including MP4 files, supporting materials by Bob Digby and full script. (Download 2.7GB)


Filmed in the Amazon and Borneo, this resource illustrates and explains the key environmental and land use changes occurring in tropical rainforests and explores the effect these changes are having on the carbon and water cycles. We accompany scientists up flux towers as they monitor CO2 emissions and find out why they're digging soil pits to examine decomposition rates.  A fantastic case study to deepen students' understanding of carbon and water cycles

The programme includes 4 sections. Each section has its own supporting activities.

1. The Global Carbon Balance (9'18") 

2. Measuring Carbon (9'54")

3. Deforestation and the Carbon Cycle (7'28")

4. Deforestation and the Water Cycle (7'24")



"A comprehensive, well thought out and accessible resource that will be of use year after year for the study of Earth's Life Support Systems.”

Laura Giles,
Head of Geography, Clifton High School

The DVD is highly linked to the new A level syllabus, and provides a comprehensive, yet accessible resource looking at carbon and water cycles. Its focus is on how important rainforests are because of their positive carbon balance, but how with modern practices, this positive balance is threatened.

The DVD could also be used at GCSE Level to look at the structure of tropical rainforests, adaptations and the importance of rainforests with Gifted and Talented students.

It starts with an introduction to rainforests and how important their positive carbon balance is to the planet. It discusses the levels of carbon being absorbed and released and how this links to carbon sinks and carbon sources. Research teams are shown taking measurements to calculate carbon through Mean Net Primary Productivity measurements.

The focus then shifts to the effects of deforestation on the carbon stores and the move from carbon sink to carbon source, even in the long term. The programme shows why replacing tropical rainforest with palm oil plantations can mean a dramatic loss of stored carbon.

Finally, the changes in movements within the water cycle are examined as a result of deforestation (also useful at GCSE level).

A well thought out DVD that will be of use year after year when studying Earth Life Support Systems.

Laura Giles,
Head of Geography, Clifton High School

GCE Specification coverage 


AQA                             Section, Case study of a tropical rainforest

Edexcel                       Enquiry Question 1: How does the carbon cycle operate to maintain planetary health?

Eduqas (England)       Sections 2.1.6 The global carbon cycle and 2.1.7 Carbon stores in different biomes

Eduqas (Wales)           Sections 3.1.6 The global carbon cycle and 3.1.7 Carbon stores in different biomes

OCR                             Section 2a Case study of a tropical rainforest