What is a Biome?
A biome is formed of plants and animals having common characteristics due to similar climates and can be found in different continents. Biomes comprise of variety of habitats. There are seven major biomes in this world.
What are the major types of Biomes on Earth?
1. Tropical Rain Forest:
Tropical Rain Forests provide shelter to maximum number of species in comparison to other biomes. They are found in parts of South and Central America, Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, Southern India and North eastern Australia.
Broad-leaved evergreen trees found. Both tall and short vegetations grow, forming two layers- Upper and lower layers.
The upper layer consists of tall trees. The leafy tree tops extend up to 70 metres above the forest floors and form a canopy. Under such canopy the shorter vegetation (trees and vines) grow, forming the second layer. Other vegetations found in these forests are fern, climbing trees, orchids and bromeliads. The soil is thin and do not contain much minerals.
Climate: Climate is hot and wet throughout the year.
Wildlife: The wildlife consists of the following species:
- Herbivores such as tapirs, capybaras and sloths.
- Birds such as parrots, parakeets and toucans.
- Reptiles such as Caymans, anacondas, frogs and boa constrictors.
- Insects such as butterflies, beetles and ants.
- Besides, jaguars, monkeys, anteaters, piranhas and various other freshwater fishes are also found.
2. Arctic Tundra:
It is located in the north around the Arctic Ocean. It covers Lapland and Scandinavia; Siberia; Alaska and Canada; a large portion of Greenland. Apart this, there is another tundra named alpine tundra. It is a separate biome which exists at the tops of high mountains.
It is treeless swampy plains. Trees never grow due to the presence of permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil). However, small shrubs, cushion plants and lichens are found.
Climate: The climate remains cold throughout the year.
Wildlife: Species which live in this biome are:
- Polar bear, caribou, grey wolves and arctic foxes.
- Insects such as blackflies, midges and mosquitoes.
3. Coniferous Forest:
The coniferous forest is found in the south of the Arctic tundra. It covers Alaska, Atlantic Ocean and Eurasia. Taiga present in the Northern Hemisphere is considered to be the largest stretch of coniferous forest in the world. Commercial softwood timber required for making paper is available here.
Cone bearing tress like spruce, fir and hemlock are mainly found in these forests. Soil is fertile.
Climate: The climate is cold.
Wildlife: Species present in these forests are:
- Snowshoe rabbit, ermine and moose.
- Birds such as crossbill and great horned owl.
4. Deciduous Forest:
Deciduous forest is found in the mild temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. It covers eastern North America, Europe, and eastern Asia.
Deciduous forests are abundant in trees such as oak, beech, maple and ash. Besides, wildflower and berries also grow there. Soil is rich in minerals.
Climate: This biome has four seasons, namely, spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
Wildlife: Wildlife consists of the following species:
- American gray squirrels, deer, raccoons and rabbits.
- Birds such as woodpeckers, cardinals and finches.
- Insects like wood mice and others.
Desert covers about one fifth land surface of the earth. It is present in all the continents except Europe. Deserts are of two types.
Hot and Dry: Arabian and Sahara deserts.
Cold and Dry: Antarctica and Gobi desert.
Different types of cactus are mainly found in desert regions.
Climate: The climate of the desert region is either hot or cold.
Wildlife: The species found in deserts are:
- Camel, frogs, toads, lizards and snakes are found in hot deserts.
- Emperor and Adélie penguins are found in Antarctic desert.
Grasslands are called by different names throughout the world such as prairies (USA); veld (South Africa); savannas (South America and Africa); steppes (Eurasia); pampas (South America)
This biome is consists of grassy fields.
Climate: The climate of grasslands is hot and dry.
Wildlife: The wildlife includes the following species:
- Prairie dog and the mule deer in North America.
- Giraffe and the zebra in Africa.
- Lion in Africa and Asia.
Mountains are found in all continents. The two great belts on which several mountains of the world lie are :The Circum-Pacific chain or the Ring of Fire (stretches from the west coast of the Americas through New Zealand and Australia and Japan through the Philippines) and Alpine-Himalayan belt or Tethyan system ( runs from the Pyrenees in Spain and France through the Alps and the Himalayas before ending in Indonesia)
Growth of plants depends on geographical location and altitude. Trees do not grow at the higher elevations .The lower elevations are covered by forests.
Climate:The climate of regions is cold and windy.
Wildlife: Species found in this biome are ibex or wild goat, sheep, puma, mountain lion, mountain goat and yak.