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in terms of the earth’s terrestrial ecosystems or biomes. The earth’s major biomes include: (i) Tundra (ii) Boreal Forest (iii) (iv) (v) (vi) (vii) (viii) (ix) TUNDRA The tundra biome occurs in the northern hemisphere just south of the ice cap. It is characterized by an extremely cold climate and extensive tree-less plains. Low growing seasonal temperatures and a short growing season (lasting for sixty days or less) make the tundra one of the least productive ecosystems in the world. Thus the tundra ecosystem is relatively simple, i.e. it has low biodiversity. The vegetation consists of lichens (“reindeer moss”), grasses, sedges, and dwarf woody plants such as willows and birches. Temperate Deciduous forest Temperate Grassland Desert scrub Savanna; Tropical rain forest Chaparral and Complex vegetation zonation on mountains.
BOREAL FORESTS The boreal forest biome is also known as the northern evergreen forest or northern coniferous forest biome. This biome lies south of the tundra in a broad band extending from Alaska across Canada and across Northern Europe all the way to Russia Canada. Evergreen forests are also found on mountainsides in the western United States. The climate in boreal forests is
averaging about 650mm. there are distinct summer and winter seasons. . Beneath the upper canopy is a layer of under storey tree species such as dogwood. so a layer of needles 70-150mm thick commonly covers the ground. The deciduous characteristic allows for the presence of a rich variety of wild flowers and shrubs that grow during the spring season and complete their life cycle activities before the canopy closes. Elsewhere it covers the British Isles. TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FORESTS This type of biome occurs south of the northern coniferous forest biome. The tree layer is dominated by two species of spruce (white spruce and black spruce) and balsam fir. Annual Precipitation ranges between 750mm and 1500mm and is distributed more or less evenly throughout the year. and ironwood. As in the tundra. The deciduous tree leaves decompose more easily than the needles of the boreal forests. In the U. The temperate deciduous forests have higher biodiversity than either the tundra or boreal forests. Eastern Russia. Climate in this biome is temperate.S. This in combination with the worm summer temperatures hastens the release of mineral nutrients into upper soil layers. maples. Beach. About forty different tree species make up the canopy. The climate and the nature of evergreen needles make the soil acidic. and oaks grow in dense stands forming the upper canopy. Annual precipitation is moderate. species diversity in the boreal forests is low. Ireland. shrub and herb flora are sparse and include such successional stages as paper birch and aspen. Hence the temperate deciduous forest soils are more fertile than the tundra or boreal forest soils. Japan and the central parts of China.only slightly less severe than that in the tundra. magnolia. magnolia. hickories. and the winters are very cold. and ironwood to mention but a few. and all regions are subject to freezing temperatures. Because of the dense shade and thick litter layer. this biome covers all of Eastern United States except southern Florida. they are still only thin layers overlying sheets of rocks exposed by glaciations*.A. lasting only from June to August. The growing season is still short. Although soils are better developed than in the tundra. southern Scandinavia. basswood. central Europe. Low temperatures and decay-resistant evergreen leaves (also known as needles) contribute to a slow rate of litter decomposition.
and into the southern parts of Canada while in the South American continent the temperate grassland occur in Argentina. If sufficient precipitation falls. Annual precipitation in the temperate grasslands biome is fairly light. The plants that live in desert biomes are adapted to undergo a rapid burst of activity when these infrequent deluges occur.TEMPERATE GRASSLANDS The Temperate grassland biome thrives in inland parts where soil moisture is too little to allow the growth of forest trees.32˚C in winter. Syria. central and northern parts of the U. Many species of grasses occupy the natural temperate grasslands. and the aridity of the particular habitat determines the actual species assemblage.A. parts of Turkey. north-western parts of India as well as the northern parts of Mongolia and China. The temperate grassland plants survive summer dry periods by becoming dormant. Northern Iraq. DESERTS Deserts are biomes that occupy regions in which annual precipitation is less than 250mm. Wildfires (as well as small quantities of precipitation) have played a role in maintaining the natural temperate grassland biome. turns southwards to New South Wales and then westwards ending at Geraldton on the southwest coast. a major part of Iran and Pakistan. the temperate grasslands occur as a U-shaped band stretching from the north-west coast between Brome and Onslow+ across the northern territory all the way to Queensland very close to the east coast. it ranges between 250mm and 750mm. Seasonal temperature variations are wide and range between 38˚C in the summer and . but also infrequent and largely unpredictable often occurring as cloudbursts. there is usually adequate moisture during spring and early summer to ensure that they will grow enough and store a sufficient amount of food to survive periods of dormancy.S. Rainfall in deserts is not only sparse. the seeds of many . In Europe the temperate grasslands cover the Eastern part while in Asia they cover the southern part of Russia. In the North American continent the temperate grassland stretch from Mexico all through the southern. In Australia.
A.S. the hot deserts include the Sahara desert in the north as well as the Namib Desert in Namibia and the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. In Africa. b) Cold deserts The cold deserts occur in the temperate regions. viz. a) Hot Deserts Hot deserts cover several parts of the world. the cold desert is situated in the Great Basin extending from the state of Nevada through Idaho. South Yemen. Generally the productivity of desert biomes is very low due to the arid conditions. In South America the hot deserts cover the western parts of Peru and the northern parts of Chile. Elsewhere in the world the hot deserts cover the southern parts of Pakistan and several states in Australia. the southern parts of Chile Atacama desert) as well as in Kazakhstan. the hot deserts occupy much of the Southwest while in Mexico they cover the northern and western parts. Evergreen shrubs dominate the vegetation in this biome. Desert biomes can be classified as either hot or cold deserts. In the U.A. In the U. .S. Western Australia (Great Sandy desert). Oman. Southern Mongolia and Northern China. Utah and on to the eastern part of Washington state. Elsewhere the cold deserts occur in the eastern and central parts of Argentina. Southern tip of Afghanistan. CHAPARRAL The Chaparral biome has a climate that is characterized by abundant winter rainfall and dry summers. In the Middle East the hot deserts occupy Saudi Arabia.desert plants germinate rapidly yielding seedlings that flower and set seed within a span of only a few weeks. South Australia (Great Victoria Desert) as well as Queensland and the Northern Territory (where it is known as Simpson desert in both states). Fires are frequent during late summer. Underground parts of shrubs are fie-resistant and resprout profusel when winter rains return. favoring the growth of shrubs and inhibiting that of trees. Uzbekistan. Jordan..
both trees and grasses must be fire-resistant. to. perhaps over 60 million years old. Trees of all heights are found beneath the upper canopy and epiphytes are abundant. Annual rainfall commonly exceeds 2000mm.The chaparral biome occurs along the southwest coast of the U. For example a two-hectare area can contrain over 100 species of trees. Because of the warm temperatures and abundant moisture.. The tropical savanna biome is typically grassland characterized by continuous cover of grasses interrupted by scattered clumps of trees and shrubs. on the west coast of Chile. . Southeast Asia. Luxuriant canopy growth permits little light to penetrate to forest floor.. Vegetation. and. The tropical rain forest biome stretches over lowlands of the humid tropics of Africa. Hence. Fires are common. in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and along the southern coast of Australia. soils have a thin litter cover and are nutrient poor. but one or more relatively dry period(s) usually occur(s) each year. and nutrients are immediately taken up by a vast root network. Daily and seasonal temperature variations in these biomes are small. is the major reservoir of nutrients. whereas the same area in the temperate deciduous forest may contain less than twenty-five species of trees. rather than soil. and therefore the ground flora is generally sparse except where the canopy is broken by fallen trees.A. Central and South America and the islands of Indonesia.S. litter decay is rapid. TROPICAL RAIN FORESTS The tropical rain forests are the oldest remaining biomes on earth. TROPICAL SAVANNAS The tropical savanna biome is found in warm areas that have 1000 – 150mm of rainfall annually as well as a pronounced dry period for at least four months in a year. survive. The tropical rain forest biome has the highest biodiversity when compared with any other biome.
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