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Types of Forest Ecosystems

Approximately 30 percent of the earth's surface is covered in forests. The forests plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy planet, such as controlling the water cycle and stabilizing soils, assisting in leveling the climate by saturating and storing carbon dioxide, providing a habitat for wildlife and supplying wood, food and medicines. Across the world there are several different types of forest ecosystems. The definition of ecosystem, is, "a selfregulating association of living plants, animals and their non-living physical and chemical environment." Tropical Rain Forest 1. Days usually last 12 hours, temperatures averaging around 77 degrees F, surplus of rain and high insolation (sunlight) are all attributes of a tropical rain forest year-round. Tropical rain forests cover the Amazon region, as well as equatorial regions in Africa, Southeast Asia, the east coast of Central America and elsewhere along the equator. These areas are characterized by broadleaf evergreen trees, vines, tree ferns and palms. LAYERS OF A RAINFOREST a.EMERGENT LAYER The tallest trees are the emergents, towering as much as 200 feet above the forest floor with trunks that measure up to 16 feet around. Most of these trees are broad-leaved, hardwood evergreens. Sunlight is plentiful up here. Animals found are eagles, monkeys, bats and butterflies. b.CANOPY LAYER

Most canopy trees have smooth. Deciduous trees lose their leaves during the winter. c. FOREST FLOOR It's very dark down here. Many animals live here including jaguars. Many animals live in this area since food is abundant. which is less than in the . there is less competition among trees for light but a greater development of vegetation in the lower layers. There is a large concentration of insects here. A leaf that might take one year to decompose in a regular climate will disappear in 6 weeks. red-eyed tree frogs and leopards.UNDERSTORY LAYER Little sunshine reaches this area so the plants have to grow larger leaves to reach the sunlight. d. Tropical Seasonal Forest (monsoon forest) Located on the edges of rain forests are the tropical seasonal forests that receive dwindling and irregular rainfall. some deciduous trees and thorn trees. Since hardly any sun reaches the forest floor things begin to decay quickly. Those animals include: snakes. oval leaves that come to a point. Almost no plants grow in this area. Maximum tree heights range from 40 to 100 ft (12 to 35 m). Giant anteaters live in this layer. toucans and treefrogs.This is the primary layer of the forest and forms a roof over the two remaining layers. Consequently. as a result. The plants in this area seldom grow to 12 feet. These areas are characterized by broadleaf evergreen trees. Monsoon forest presents a more open tree growth than the equatorial and tropical rainforests. It's a maze of leaves and branches.

Temperate Evergreen and Deciduous Forest Found in North America. Lower layers .equatorial rainforest. The shedding of leaves results from the stress of a long dry season. It is dominated by tall. Clumps of bamboo are an important part of the vegetation in climax teakwood forest. As far as weather conditions. Where second-growth vegetation has formed. Perhaps the most important feature of the monsoon forest is the deciduousness of most of the tree species present. Needleleaf and broadleaf trees inhabit the forests. the bark is often thick and rough. it is a moderate climate with a cold season. e. which occurs at time of low sun and cooler temperatures. it is typically jungle. temperate evergreen and deciduous forests tend to blend together at times. Branching starts at comparative low level and produce large round crowns.g. broadleaf trees. which provide a continuous and dense canopy in summer but shed their leaves completely in the winter. Europe and Asia. Tree trunks are massive. Undergrowth is often a dense shrubs thicket. controlled forest fires still take place as the natural cycle of forest re-growth and enrichment. the abundance of tropophytes. Lianas and epiphytes are locally abundant in monsoon rainforest but are fewer and smaller than in the equatorial rainforest. Many tree species are present and may number 30 to 40 species in a small tract. In southern and eastern areas that are fervent with evergreen pines. Thus the forest in the dry season has somewhat the dormant winter aspect of deciduous forest of middle latitudes. A representative example of a monsoon forest tree is the teak wood tree (Tectona grandis).

ash. These tress are conifers. The summergreen deciduous forest represents a response to a continental climatic regime. In spring a luxuriant low layer of herbs quickly develops. basswood . walnut. Where evergreen. The needleleaf forest is composed of evergreen conifers. beech brich. Common trees of the deciduous forests are oak. Species are few and large tracts of forest consist almost entirely of but one or two species. willow. which at the same time receives adequate precipitation in all months. tulip tree. conical tress with relatively short branches. There are mountain forests comprised of needleleaf trees that survive all over the world at extremely high elevations. Savanna and Woodland Savanna and woodland ecosystems have a susceptibility to fires and the ability to rejuvenate and re-grow. fir and pine. narrow. Needleleaf forest is composed largely of straight trunked. Aspen and balsam poplar which sheds its needles in winter and comprises a deciduous forest. Boreal Forest The boreal forest. Savannas and woodlands are characterized by vast . also known as the needleleaf forest. larch.of small trees and shrubs are weakly developed. brich. such as spruce . elm. maple. but this is greatly reduced after the trees have reached full foliage and shaded the ground. the needleleaf forest provides continues and deep shade to the ground so that lower layers of vegetation are sparse or absent except for a thick carpet of mosses in many places. hickory. and small. sweet chestnut and hornbeam. needlelike leaves.

Desert Ecosystem Though a desert may seem like a barren land devoid of lifeforms.areas of grasslands. Savanna woodland consists of trees spaced rather widely apart. which is snowfall in cold deserts and rainfall in hot deserts. It may comes as a surprise. which may be of grasses or shrubs. . One of the prominent difference between the two is the form of precipitation. the characteristic traits of both almost remain the same. such as the Sahara and Mojave. permitting development of a dense lower layer. there are cold deserts as well. deserts are defined as regions wherein the average annual precipitation seldom exceeds more than 10 inches per year. bush thickets and clusters of sparse trees with flattened crowns. the best example being Antarctica. Numerous plants and animal species have . but the areas which we refer to as hot deserts have a chilling temperature at night. parklike appearance of the vegetation. life does exist in this harsh environment. Irrespective of whether it is a hot or a cold desert. This formation class is sometimes referred to as parkland because of the open. Savanna woodland is associated with a climate regime in which aridity is sufficiently developed to prevent the tree growth from forming a closed canopy. Like hot deserts. Desert: In geographical studies. and the amount of water lost to evapotranspiration is much more than the amount of water gained by precipitation.

. Arabian. Namib/Kalahari. many plants and animals have adapted themselves over the years. temperatures can reach up to 115° F during the day. unless they adapt to this harsh climate. Hot desert --. Iranian.bare rock surfaces with huge pavement that kept clear of sand or gravel by wind Plateau desert --. Atacama.a wavy sand sea Stony desert --. Such extreme temperature makes it difficult for lifeforms to survive in the deserts. climate is a deciding factor for the existence of lifeforms.It has hot summers but extremely cold winters. In the desert ecosystem.It has high daytime temperature for the whole year.adapted to these seemingly unsuitable conditions. Australian and in North America: Sonoran. Examples : Sahara.rocky plateaux .gravel surfaces Rock desert --. buttes or inselbergs Mountain desert --. and have become an important part of the desert ecosystem today. Cold desert--. and come down to 32° F at night. though rather cold at night as temperature may fall below 10oC (50oF) or even below the freezing point When the maximum daytime temperature is above 40oC (104oF). In deserts.bare and arid arrays of jagged rock peaks Deserts can be classified is " Hot deserts" and " Cold deserts". There are 5 types of desert according to the landscapes : Sand desert --. Surprisingly though. Mojave and Colorado. deeply eroded wadis.

Patagonian. Grasslands also benefit other animals by providing them with their habitats and food. like. False Oat-grass. Generally. Also. Tor Grass. sunflowers. Knapweed and Bee Orchid. Meadow Saffron. Grasslands can be divided into two types: savannas and temperate grasslands. Turkestan & Gobi Deserts. Rough Meadow Grass. they will be colonized by shrubs quickly and become woodland. there are also a huge number of animals and many of them have their own survival mechanism to escape from their enemies and to adapt to the environment. Cocksfoot. Field Gentian. the existence of grasslands is made possible because without the grazing by animals. . Besides plants. Sainfoin. Sheep's Fescue. Crested Dog's-tail. Red Campion. Harebell. linseed and lupins are especially grown for the oil in their seeds. but both types have some similar features in several aspects.Examples : the desert complex in Western North America (Great Basin). Blue Moor-grass and Yorkshire Fog. there are various types of grassland flowers such as Salad Burnet. With the interaction between grasslands and animals. Common Fox-tail. GRASSLAND ECOSYSEM Grassland landscape is a very important topic in the study of the ecosystem because grasslands cover nearly one third of the earth¶s land surface and supply three quarters of the energy that the world needs. Cuckoo Flower Cowslip. Upright Brome. Common Quaking-grass. Sometimes. Grasslands are very important to human because crops can be grown on them to provide the food that people need. Meadow Buttercup. grasslands are open and continuous areas made up of many different kinds of grasses.

An in-depth explanation on the types of aquatic ecosystems is provided in this article. Savannah's have two seasons. we call grasslands Prairies. y grasses grow up to grasses between 2 5 feet tall. Grasslands are called Savannas in Africa. Aquatic Ecosystem Meaning . Aquatic ecosystems Aquatic ecosystems refer to entities with plants and animals relying on a watery environment. grasses grow up to 2 feet tall. y rain per year. a dry season and a wet season. Grasslands receive between 10 and 30 inches of rainfall a yearThere are three different types of grasslands Tall Grasslands y Mixed Grasslands y Short Grasslands y almost 30 inches of about 20 inches of only about 10 rain per year.Grasslands are extremely hot in summer time and are very cold during the winter. In North America. An aquatic ecosystem is broadly classified into marine and freshwater ecosystems. Pampas are what grasslands are called in South America. y y y y y y In Asia and Europe grasslands are known as Steppes. Many grassland animals are becoming extinct. y inches of rain per year. and 3 feet tall.

an aquatic ecosystem is a community of plants and animals that primarily depend on water. In simple terms. Arctic Ocean. Major oceans include the Pacific Ocean. Atlantic Ocean and Southern Ocean. Prime examples of marine ecosystems include: y Ocean: Main body of salty water that is further divided into important oceans and smaller seas. There are two major types of ecosystems: y Marine Ecosystems Freshwater Ecosystems y Marine Ecosystems While terrestrial ecosystems cover only about 28 percent. Different habitats ranging from coral reefs to estuaries make up this largest aquatic ecosystem in the planet. Different types of habitats including wetlands. Indian Ocean. Aquatic ecosystems are systems composed of living organisms and non-living elements interacting in a watery environment. marine ecosystems cover approximately 71 percent of the earth¶s surface. Terrestrial ecosystems contain organisms that depend on physical environment on land masses of continents. Due to this inflow.An ecosystem is an entity formed by the interaction between living organisms and the physical environment. y Intertidal zone: Area which remains underwater at high tide and remains terrestrial at low tide. rocky cliffs and sandy beaches fall under intertidal zones. It is classified into two main categories: Terrestrial ecosystems and Aquatic ecosystems. . y Estuaries: Areas between river and ocean environments that are prone to tides and inflow of both freshwater and saline water.

flounder. Freshwater Ecosystems Although freshwater ecosystems are one of the main types of aquatic ecosystems. etc. Common species found in marine ecosystems include: y Marine mammals such as seals. coral reefs are mounds found in marine waters as a result of accumulation of calcium carbonate deposited by marine organisms like corals and shellfish. y y Marine ecosystems are important for the well-being of both terrestrial and aquatic environments. The water in freshwater ecosystems is non-saline (which means water has no salt . which can be a serious harm to marine biodiversity. sea bass. etc. only 0.estuaries have high levels of nutrients. dogfish. Organisms such as the tiny planktonic. Nevertheless. whales and manatees Different species of fish including mackerel. brown algae corals. However. but cover less then one percent of the world¶s ocean. echinoderms. sponges and mollusks are found in coral reefs. pollution and overfishing. they are vulnerable to environmental problems such as climate change. There are different names of estuaries such as inlets.8 percent of the earth¶s surface is covered by them. Coral reefs form the most varied marine ecosystems in the planet. harbors etc. lagoons. y Coral Reefs : Often referred as the ³rainforests of the sea´. around 25 percent of marine animals including different types of fishes.

ponds and pools (Lentic): Lentic ecosystems are still waters such as lakes and ponds that have a community of biotic (living organisms) and abiotic (physical objects) interactions. crayfish. Ponds and lakes have a diverse variety of organisms including algae. Various mammals such as beavers.content). Crustaceans like crayfish and crabs. Freshwater ecosystems. wetlands are known to be too diverse as it harbors numerous animals and plant species. are in danger because of the rapid extinction rates of several . clams etc. and reptiles like alligators and water snakes. Approximately 41 percent of the earth¶s fishes are found in freshwater ecosystems. otters and river dolphins also inhabit lotic ecosystems. where the water is completely or partially shallow. tamarack and sedges are commonly found in wetlands. y Lakes. invertebrates such as crabs. which are one of the major types of aquatic ecosystems. Various species of reptiles and amphibians are also found in wetlands. Examples of freshwater ecosystems are: y Streams and rivers (Lotic): Lotic ecosystems refer to systems with rapid flowing waters that move in a unidirectional way. and mollusks such as clams and limpets are commonly found in streams and rivers. Best examples are rivers and streams. water lilies. which harbor several species of insects and fishes. amphibians such as frogs and salamanders. Biologically. shrimps. mangrove. y Wetlands: The best examples of wetlands include swamps and marshes. rooted and floating-leaved plants. Plants such as black spruce.

It is here that the river meets the sea in shallow. The estuary serves a banquet of decaying plants. Millions of sea animals get their start in life feeding in the quiet waters of the estuary. such as horseshoe crab(extinct). beds of slender eelgrass. Some of the animals. so it provides a calm refuge from the open sea. or wide mudflats. mainly because of overfishing and other activities that harm the ecosystem. flounder. eels. and little fishes. An estuary has very little wave action. protected bays. and oysters may spend their entire lives there.invertebrates and vertebrates. Estuary Where River Meets the Sea Brown and green are the colors of the estuary. mud snails. They can find shelter in salt marshes. tiny floating plants and animals called plankton. Small fishes such as stickleback and mummichogs. Classification of estuaries Classification based on geomorphology Drowned river valleys Lagoon-type or bar-built estuaries Fjord-type estuaries Tectonically produced estuaries Classification based on water circulation Salt wedge estuaries Partially mixed estuaries Vertically homogenous estuaries Inverse estuary Intermittent estuaries . and striped bass are just visitors to the estuary.