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- IELTS Reading True/ False or Not given
IELTS Reading Passage – Accidental rainforest
According to ecological approach, rainforests are supposed to grow gradually over millions of years. But now ecologists are being pushed to rethink their opinions.
- When a Swedish priest, Peter Osbeck, returning from China in 1752, stopped at the island of Ascension in the mid-Atlantic and defined it as “a heap of ruinous rocks” with a white mountain in the centre. It had only a few dozen plant species, the majority of which were ferns and some of which were unique to the island.
- Thus it could have remained. Joseph Hooker, a British botanical collector, made a brief visit in 1843 on his return from Antarctica. He concluded after surveying the bare earth that the island had suffered some natural calamity that had deprived its vegetation and caused a precipitation decline that was converting the area into a desert. The British Navy, which maintained a garrison on the island at the time, wanted to improve the area and requested Hooker’s counsel. He recommended an ambitious plan to plant trees and vegetation that would stimulate greater ecological recovery and increase rainfall. And, perhaps lacking anything else to do, they set sail with resolve.
- A naval transport ship from Argentina delivered a batch of seedlings in 1845. In the next years, more than 200 plant species arrived from South Africa; 700 packets of seeds came from England, including some bamboo and prickly pear seeds that thrived in the region. By the early twentieth century, the mountain’s alignments were covered with a variety of trees and plants from all over the world thanks to the efforts of seafarers who planted several thousand trees a year, giving rise to the mountain’s new moniker, Green Mountain.
- Ecologists of modern times shake their hands in dismay at what they see as Hookers’ environmental chaos. The exotic species ruined the native ecosystem, leading the island’s endemic vegetation to become defunct. In fact, Hooker was well aware of what could occur. However, he saw greater benefit in enhancing rainfall and encouraging the island’s vegetation growth.
- However, there is a much more underlying issue at hand than the relative advantages of rare endemic species versus numerous imported ones. Furthermore, as UK ecologist David Wilkinson of Liverpool John Moores University observed after an earlier visit to the island, it challenges fundamental ecological tenets. The conservationists’ understandable concern for the survival of Ascension’s scattering of different species has, according to him, blinded them to something quite astonishing: the success of the introduced species.
- According to Wilkinson, today’s Green Mountain is ‘a fully functioning man-made tropical cloud forest’ that grew from a collection of species collected more or less at random from all over the globe. However, how could this have occurred? Complex ecosystems like cloud forests are created through evolutionary processes in which each organism develops in concert with others to occupy specific niches, conventional ecological theory says. Plants and their pollinators and seed dispersers experience eo-evolution, while microbes in the soil evolve to cope with leaf material.
- However, this did not occur on Green Mountain. Moreover, the evidence suggests that natural rainforests are likely developed through a coincidence rather than evolution. According to some ecologists, species do not so much evolve in order to create ecosystems as they do make the most of what they have. According to Wilkinson, ‘The Green Mountain system is a built system that created a tropical rainforest without coevolution among its constituent species.
- Not everyone approves. An ecologist at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, Alan Gray, claims that the few surviving endemic species on Green Mountain might continue to act as the foundation of the new ecosystem, despite their small populations. The newest arrivals may be simply decorative, adding little to the ecosystem’s structure.
- But to Wilkinson this sounds like clutching at straws. And the idea of the instant formation of rainforests sounds increasingly plausible as research reveals that supposedly pristine tropical rainforests from the Amazon to south-east Asia may in places be little more than the overgrown gardens of past rainforest civilisations.
- The most incredible fact is that no ecologists have thought about conducting thorough research on this human-made rainforest ecosystem. The University of Edinburgh conducted a survey of the island’s flora six years ago, focusing entirely on endemic species. They considered everything else to be dangerous. And the authorities of Ascension are currently transforming Green Mountain into a national park where introduced species, at least the invasive ones, are slated for elimination rather than conservation.
- Wilkinson states conservationists have valid considerations. At least four endemic species have become vanished since the appearance of unfamiliar species in Ascension. However, in their rush to save endemics, ecologists have forgotten to analyze an important secret.
- As you walk through the forest, you observe numerous leaves that have been partially consumed by insects. Wilkinson says, ‘There are larvae and insects nearby.’ But where did they originate? Are they native or exotic? Wilkinson says, ‘There are larvae and insects nearby.’ But where did they originate? Are they native or exotic? If extraterrestrial, did they bring the plant on which they feed with them or did they find it upon arrival?’ Such questions are fundamental to understanding how rainforests form.The Green Mountain forest holds numerous mysteries. The irony is that the most manufactured rainforest in the world could teach us more about the rainforest ecosystem than any number of natural rainforests.
Accidental rainforest IELTS Reading Questions
Complete the sentence below.
Write the correct letter from A-G to your answer sheet.
- The reason for modern conservationists’ concern over Hooker’s tree planting programme is that
- David Wilkinson says the creation of the rainforest in Ascension is important because it shows that
- Wilkinson says the existence of Ascension’s rainforest challenges the theory that
- Alan Gray questions Wilkinson’s theory, claiming that
- Additional support for Wilkinson’s theory comes from findings that
- other rainforests may have originally been planted by man.
- many of the island’s original species were threatened with destruction.
- the species in the original rainforest were more successful than the newer arrivals.
- rainforests can only develop through a process of slow and complex evolution.
- steps should be taken to prevent the destruction of the original ecosystem.
- randomly introduced species can coexist together.
- the introduced species may have less ecological significance than the original ones.
Recommend the IELTS Reading Matching Sentence Endings Questions to score well.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D. Circle the correct letter in
6. Wilkinson suggests that conservationists’ concern about the island is misguided because
- it is based on economic rather than environmental principles.
- it is not focusing on the most important question.
- it encourages the destruction of endemic species.
- it is not supported by the local authorities.
7. According to Wilkinson, studies of insects on the island could demonstrate
- the possibility of new ecological relationships.
- a future threat to the ecosystem of the island.
- the existence of previously unknown species.
- a chance for the survival of rainforest ecology.
8. Overall, what feature of the Ascension rainforest does the writer stress?
- the conflict of natural and artificial systems
- the unusual nature of its ecological structure
- the harm done by interfering with nature
- the speed and success of its development
Prefer the IELTS Reading Multiple Choice Questions to score well.
Answer the question from True/ False or Not Given.
TRUE if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE if the statement contradicts with the information
NOT GIVEN there is no information on this
9. When Peter Osbeck visited Ascension, he found no inhabitants on the island.1
0. The natural vegetation on the island contained some species which were found nowhere else.
11. Joseph Hooker assumed that human activity had caused the decline in the island’s plant life.
12. British sailors on the island took part in a major tree planting project.13. Hooker sent details of his planting scheme to a number of different countries.14. The bamboo and prickly pear seeds sent from England were unsuitable for Ascension.
Recommend IELTS Reading True/ False or Not Given questions to know more.
Accidental rainforest reading answers with explanations
Refer Accidental rainforest reading answers in order to identify your errors and locate your answers.
9. Not given
13. Not given