Major Biomes of the World
The Arctic tundra is a cold, vast, treeless area of low, swampy plains in the far north around the Arctic Ocean. It includes the northern lands of Europe ( Lapland and Scandinavia ), Asia ( Siberia ), and North America ( Alaska and Canada ), as well as most of Greenland. Another type of tundra is the alpine tundra, which is a biome that exists at the tops of high mountains.
Vegetation comprises of plants growing over the surface of the earth. The plant geographers have divided the vegetation of the world into four great biochores :
The Forest Biochore : Defined as plant formation consisting of trees growing close together nd forming a layer of foliage that shades the ground.
The Savanna Biochore : It is a combination of trees and grasslands.
The Grassland Biochore : An upland vegetation of herbs which include grasses or grasslike plants and herbs.
The Desert Biochore : It is associated with arid climate and thinly dispersed plants. According to varied climate and density of vegetation cover, the vegetation of world is divided into three types.
1. Forests are classified on the basis of coverage, density and greenery.
- Tropical Rainforests :
- Monsoon Forests :
- Coniferous Forests :
- Deciduous Forest :
This biome is in the mild temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Major regions are found in eastern North America, Europe, and eastern Asia.
These are known as equatorial forests and found in Amazon Basin, Zaire Basin and other wetter areas in the monsoon regions. These are broad-leaved hardwoods composed of trees like Mahogany, Rubber, Cinchona, etc.Tropical rainforests are found in Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, and on many of the Pacific islands. They are often found along the equator. Almost half of the world’s tropical rainforests are in the South American country Brazil.
There are other types of rainforests around the world, too. For example, northern Australia has a “dry rainforest” that experiences a dry season each year, and the rainy Pacific Northwest in the United States has a “temperate rainforest” that is made up of evergreen trees.
These are found in areas having 100 to 200 cm of rainfall. They are hardwood forests and generally deciduous.
These are evergreen, needlelike softwood forests found in North America and South America.The coniferous forest biome is south of the Arctic tundra. It stretches from Alaska straight across North America to the Atlantic Ocean and across Eurasia. The largest stretch of coniferous forest in the world, circling the earth in the Northern Hemisphere, is called the “taiga.” It supplies the bulk of the world’s commercial softwood timber, which is used to make paper.
Grasslands are places with hot, dry climates that are perfect for growing food. They are known throughout the world by different names. In the U.S. they are called prairies and extend from the Midwest to the Rocky Mountains. In South Africa, grasslands are called the veld. Hot, tropical grasslands called savannas are found in South America and Africa. In Eurasia, temperate zone grasslands are called steppes; in South America, pampas.
Grasslands are characterized by less rainfall.
- Savannas :
- Steppes :
- Prairies :
- Meadows :
These are tropical grasslands, occuring as a transitional belt between hot desert and monsoon regions and are areas of thick high grasses. These are known by different names like Parkland in Africa, Illonos in Venezuela, Campos in Brazil and Downs in Australia.
These are short, shallow rooted grasses growing in bunches. These are found in low latitudes and middle latitudes. These are reduced to weedy plants due to overgrazing.
These are temperate grasslands. The grasses are tall and deep rooted. These are found in Southern Russia, Central Europe and Argentina. The original vegetation in these regions is destroyed and the land turned into agricultural land.
These are grasslands maintained artificially and known as pastures; common in England and North Kalahari desert.
3. Desert Shrubs consist of bushy plants in hot sandy deserts and mosses in cold tundras. These occur in parts of Atacama desert in South America.
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