Tropical forests only cover about 2% of the earth’s surface, but they contain half of the world’s known plant and animal species. They are marvellous ecosystems, that is to say, communities of organisms that interact with each other and with the matter and energy in which they live.

Ecosystems recycle materials and provide humans and other organisms with essential natural services and natural resources. Some organisms produce the nutrients they need, others get their nutrients by consuming other organisms, and some recycle nutrients back to producers by decomposing the wastes of organisms.

The ability to understand how parts influence one another within a whole, and the relationship of the whole to the parts, is crucial.

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Florestas tropicais apenas cobrem cerca de 2% da superfície da Terra, mas nestas encontra-se metade das espécies de animais e plantas conhecidas no mundo. São maravilhosos ecossistemas, ou seja, comunidades de organismos que interagem uns com os outros e com a matéria e a energia onde vivem.

Os ecossistemas reciclam materiais e fornecem aos seres humanos e a outros organismos serviços naturais essenciais e recursos naturais. Alguns organismos produzem os nutrientes que eles necessitam, outros obtêm os seus nutrientes consumindo outros organismos, e alguns reciclam nutrientes devolvendo-os aos produtores ao decompor os resíduos dos organismos.

A capacidade de compreender como as partes se influenciam dentro de um todo, e a relação do todo com as partes, é crucial.

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