Terrestrial Biomes on Earth

By: Dani Profita

 

  • Northern Hemisphere
  • Alaska, Northern Canada, parts of Greenland, Northern Scandinavia, Northern Russia

 

  • There are only about 48 species of land mammals found on the tundra. Some of these include the Arctic Fox, Caribou, Ermine, Grizzly Bear, Harlequin Duck, Musk Ox, Polar Bear, Snowy Owl, Snowshoe Rabbit, Wolves, Wolverine, Lemming, Black Fly, Deer Fly, and Mosquito.
  • Plant life consists of Arctic moss, Arctic willow, Bearberry, Caribou moss, Diamond-leaf willow, Labrador tea, Pasque flower, Tufted saxifrage, Heaths, Lichens, Shrubs, Sedges, and Grasses.

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Tundra

  • There is not much precipitation in the tundra, only averaging about 6-10 inches each year. Most of this precipitation is snow.
  • The average annual temperature is -18° F (-28° C), however, in winter temperatures can drop as low as -94° F (-70° C). In the summer, temperatures can reach 54° F (12° C), but can also be as cold as 37° F (3° C). The average summer temperatures range from 37° to 60°F (3° to 16°C). 
  • In the tundra, the ground is frozen 10 inches to 3 feet down so trees are unable to grow. The soil of the tundra is poor in nutrients and minerals except where animal droppings are able to fertilize the soil. There is permafrost underneath the soil which remains frozen at all times and allows hardly any room for deep rooting plants and trees.

Abiotic Factors:

  • Humans do live in the tundra, as people are moving here to work in the mines and oil rigs.
  • Humans are exploiting the tundra by creating pollution from mining and drilling for oil, which is polluting the air, lakes, and rivers. The increase in greenhouse gases is also causing the permafrost of the tundra to melt, which is releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Also, the creation of towns and roads is disrupting certain animal's movements to their normal feeding and denning grounds, which has caused many polar bears to starve. Humans also use pesticides to control the amount of insects, but these pesticides reach many of the animals that live on the tundra through the food chain.
  • The push to reduce greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere by finding alternative sources of energy is a way to protect the tundra and the organisms that inhabit it. This means less drilling for oil! Also, animals are added to the Endangered Species List in order to raise awareness for the need of protection of the tundra.

Human Interaction:

  • The Taiga has millions of insects during the summertime, and birds migrate here every year to nest and feed.
  • Animal life includes wolverines, bobcats, minks, ermines, snowshoe rabbits, red squirrels, voles, red deer, elk, moose, finches, sparrows, crows, American Black Bears, bald eagles, Canadian Lynx, Gray Wolf, Grizzly Bear, Long-Eared Owl, Red Fox, and the River Otter.
  • Plant life includes lichens, mosses, White Spruce, Hemlock, Douglas-fir, Balsam Fir, Black Spruce, Eastern Red Cedar, Jack Pine, Paper Birch, Siberian Spruce, White Fir, and White Poplar. Most of the plants are coniferous trees since it is difficult for plants to survive the bitter taiga winters.
  • Northern part of Northern Hemisphere including Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia, and Russia.

  • Spreads over Eurasia and North America

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Taiga

  • The average yearly precipitation is 30-85 cm (12-33 in.), which comes in the form of rain, snow, and dew.
  • The average annual temperature is below freezing for six months out of the year. The winter temperatures range from -54 to -1° C (-65 to 30° F), and the summer temperature ranges from -7° C (20° F) to 21° C (70° F).
  • The soil in the taiga is very poor in nutrients and thin due to the fast winds and cold temperature, which hinders the development of soil.

Abiotic Factors:

  • Humans do live in the taiga, with most of them being indigenouse people of Northern Europe.
  • Humans are exploiting the taiga through deforestation, which is contributing to habitat loss of organisms. Humans are also over-hunting and trapping as well as creating towns and roads, which is decreasing the number of different species.
  • The only protection in place for the taiga is a small percentage of the Canadian Taiga is being legally protected. The best way to protect this biome would be to set limits on the amount of trees that can be logged, in order to protect the habitats of many organisms.

Human Interaction:

  • Animal life includes Coyotes, American Bald Eagle, Bobcats, the Gray Wolf, Wild Turkey, Fly Catcher, Canadian Geese, Crickets, Dung Beetle, Bison, Prairie Chicken, Badger, Bumble Bee, and Prairie Dog.
  • Plant life includes Buffalo Grass, Sunflower, Crazy Weed, Asters, Blazing Stars, Goldenrods, Clover, Wild Indigos, Big Bluestem Grass, Blue Grama Grass, Fleabane, Indian Grass, June Grass, Milkweed, Purple Coneflower, and Stinging Nettles.
  • Central Plains of North America, Pampas of South America, Veldts of Africa, Steppes of Eurasia, outskirts of Australia.

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Grassland

  • In temperate grasslands, the average rainfall per year ranges from 10-30 inches, whereas in tropical and sub-tropical grasslands, the average rainfall per year ranges from 25-60 inches.

  • The average yearly range of temperatures is 20° F to 70° F, but in the winter temperatures can get as low as -40° F.
  • Soil in Temperate grasslands are known for being rich in nutrients due to the growth and decay of deep, many branched grass roots. The upper levels of the  soil are the most fertile and the soil is able to hold water for a long period of time.

Abiotic Factors:

  • Around 800 million people live in grasslands, however, most of the original land has been converted into farm land for agricultural uses.
  • Humans are exploiting the grasslands through hunting and the burning of fossil fuels which is causing global climate change. the excessive hunting is causing multiple extinctions of many species. Also, the change in temperature due to the warming climate is causing droughts in the grasslands.
  • Some governments have banned the hunting of endangered species in the grasslands, and National Parks have also been created to preserve grasslands and protect the species that inhabit them.

Human Interaction:

  • Eastern half of North America, middle of Europe, Asia, southwest Russia, Japan, and eastern China, Southern Chile and Middle East coast of Paraguay in South America, New Zealand, and southeastern Australia
  • Animal life includes the American Bald Eagle, American Black BearCoyote, Duckbill Platypus, Eastern Chipmunk, European Red Squirrel, Fat Dormouse, Least Weasel, White-tailed Deer, gray squirrels, mice raccoons, salamanders, snakes, robins, frogs and many types of insects.
  • Plant life includes the American Beech, Carpet Moss, Common Lime, Guelder Rose, Lady Fern, Northern Arrowwood, Pecan, Shagbark Hickory, Tawny Milksap Mushroom, White Birch, White Oak, rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, huckleberries, and wildflowers.

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Deciduous Forest

  • In the Deciduous Forest, the average yearly precipitation is 30-60 inches.

  • The average annual temperature in a deciduous forest is 50° F, however, in the summer the average temperature is 70° F and can exceed 100° F on hot days. In the winter, temperatures stay around freezing.
  • The soil of deciduous forests is very fertile and rich with nutrients, and some of the great agricultural regions are found in this biome. This is due to a constant cycle of decomposition and nutrients re-entering the soil.

Abiotic Factors:

  • Humans do not live in deciduous forests directly, but they are clearing them in order to build homes in which people will live.
  • Humans are exploiting this biome by clearing forests for houses, ships, furniture, and paper, which is destroying many different organisms' environment.  Also, since the soil is typically very fertile in deciduous forests, farmers are clearing the trees to create farmland.
  • There are some forests in Russia that are established as official forest conservation areas. Also, in Canada there is permanent protection for 1,000 parks, wilderness areas and nature reserves along with conservation areas.

Human Interaction:

  • West coast of the United States, the west coast of South America, the Cape Town area of South Africa, the western tip of Australia and the coastal areas of the Mediterranean.
  • Animal life includes Coyotes, Jack rabbits, Mule deer, Alligator lizards, Horned toads, Praying mantis, Honey bees, Ladybugs, Aardwolf, Cactus Wren, Golden Jackal, Grey Fox, Isand Grey Fox, Puma, San Joachin Kit Fox, Spotted Skunk, and Wild Goats.
  • Plant life includes Poison oak, Scrub oak, Yucca Wiple and other shrubs, trees and cacti, Blue Oak, Coyote Brush, Common Sagebrush, Fairy Duster, French Broom, King Protea, Lebanon Cedar, Manzanita, Mountain Mahogany, Saltmarsh Bird's Beak, Olive Tree, and Torrey Pine.

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Chaparral

  • In the Chaparral, the average yearly precipitation is 10-17 inches with most of the precipitation occuring in the winter.

  • The average temperatures in the Chaparral are 104° F in the summer, and 50° F in the winter.
  • The soil in the Chaparral is very poor in nutrients and is typically very dusty and thin. 

Abiotic Factors:

  • Humans do live in the Chaparral biome, usually on the edge of it which puts their houses at risk when fires break out.
  • Humans are exploiting this biome by building tourist attractions,  factories, and industries which has interferred with the homes of many different organisms causing extinction. 
  • In order to protect the Chaparral, many areas have been set aside as protected parks and many animals are listed as endangered.

Human Interaction:

  • Most Hot and Dry Deserts are near the Tropic of Cancer or the Tropic of Capricorn. Cold Deserts are near the Arctic part of the world. These include Western North America, Central Australia, the Middle East, Western China, North Africa, South Africa, areas of Peru, Chile, and Argentina.

  • Hot and Dry Desert animals are typically small nocturnal ones. There are also insects, arachnids, reptiles, and birds, Borrowers, Mourning Wheatears, and Horned Vipers. Cold Deserts have animals like Antelope, Ground Squirrels, Jack Rabbits, and Kangaroo Rats. Other animals include the Armadillo Lizard, Banded Gila Monster, Bobcat, Cactus Wren, Coyote, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Desert Kangaroo Rat, Desert Tortoise, Javelina, Cactus Ferruginoug Pygmy Owl, Sonoran Desert Toad, Sonoran Pronghorn Antelope, and Thorny Devil.
  • Hot and dry desert plants include Turpentine Bush, Prickly Pears, and Brittle Bush. In the cold desert, all plants are either deciduous and more or less contain spiny leaves. Other plants include the Barrel Cactus, Chainfruit Cholla, Creosote Bush, Crimson Hedgehog Cactus, Desert Ironwood, Joshua Tree, Jumping Cholla, Mojave Aster, Ocotillo, Palo Verde, Pancake Prickly Pear Cactus, Saguaro Cactus, Soaptree Yucca, and Triangle-leaf Bursage.

Locations:

Biotic Factors:

Desert

  • In the Hot and Dry Desert, precipitation is under 15 cm a year. In Cold Deserts, there is usually a lot of snow as well as rain around springtime. Cold Deserts have an average of 15 - 26 cm of precipitation a year.

  • Hot and Dry Desert temperature ranges from 20 to 25° C. The maximum temperature for Hot Desert ranges from 43.5 to 49° C. In Cold Deserts in the winter, temperature ranges from -2 to 4° C and in the summer 21 to 26° C.
  • The soil in the Desert is very coarse sand, which contains little to no organic matter. Instead, it contains large amounts of rocks.

Abiotic Factors:

 

  • Humans live in the desert, and they typically live in tents and mud houses. More commonly, however, people travel through the desert with their cattle to reach a destination, and do not stay permanently. 
  • Humans are exploiting the Desert by hunting, mining, and drilling for oil which is also contributing to global climate change. Also, when humans drive through the deserts it destroys the little amount of fertile soil that exists. Humans are also causing deserts to spread due to deforestation and poor agricultural methods.
  • People are working to fix some habitats that have been destroyed and are keeping a close eye on threatened species. No official protection is in place however.
 
 
 

Human Interaction:

  • Animal life includes the African Elephant, African Wild Dog, Black Mamba, Caracal, Chacma Baboon, Egyptian Mongoose, Emu, Grant's Zebra, Koala Bear, Lion, Nigriceps Ants, and Nile Crocodile.

  • Plant life includes the Acacia Senegal, Baobab, Bermuda Grass, Candelabra Tree, Elephant Grass, Gum Tree Eucalyptus, Jackalberry Tree, Jarrah tree, Kangaroo Paw, Manketti Tree, River Bushwillow, Umbrella Thorn Acacia, and Whistling Thorn.
  • Africa, South America, India, and Australia

Biotic Factors:

Locations:

Savanna

  • In the Savanna during the dry season, only an average of 4 inches of rain falls. Then, between December and February no rain will fall at all. In the summer, an average of 15 to 25 inches of rain occurs.
  • The average Savanna temperature ranges from 68° to 86° F (20° - 30° C). In the winter, it is usually about 68° to 78° F (20° - 25° C). In the summer, the temperature ranges from 78° to 86° F (25° - 30° C).
  • The soil in Savannas is typically very porous and thin, making it only suitable for certain grasses and shrubs.

 

Abiotic Factors:

 

  • A low number of humans live in the Savanna, however, as humans alter savannas more and more, the number of people inahbiting this biome is likely to increase.
  • Humans are exploiting the Savanna by causing an increase of wildfires from turning this land into farmland. Humans are also over-hunting many animals who live in this biome, causing them to become endangered.
  • National parks and reserves have been developed to protect the Savanna. There are also some organizations who volunteer to help replant areas of Savannas that have been destroyed.
 
 

Human Interaction:

  •  Central America in the Amazon river basin, Africa - Zaire basin, a small area in West Africa, eastern Madagascar, Indo-Malaysia - west coast of India, Assam, Southeast Asia, New Guinea and Queensland, Australia.

     

  • Animal life includes Africa Forest ElephantBengal Tiger, Chimpanzee, Common Palm Civet or Musang, Dawn Bat, Golden Lion Tamarin, Harpy Eagle, Jambu Fruit Dove, King Cobra, Kinkajou, Linn's Sloth, Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Red-shanked Douc Langur, Silvery Gibbon, Slender Loris, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Toco Toucan, Vampire Bat, and Wagler's Pit Viper.

  • Plant life includes Bengal Bamboo, Bougainvillea, Curare, Coconut Tree, Durian, Jambu, Kapok Tree, Mangrove Forests, Strangler Figs, and Tualang.

Biotic Factors:

Locations:

Rainforest

  • The average yearly precipitation in the Rainforest is 50 to 260 inches (125 to 660 cm.).
  • The temperature in the Rainforest hardly exceeds 93 °F (34 °C) or drops below 68 °F (20 °C).
  • The soil in the Rainforest is not rich in nutrients due to the heavy rains that have washed the nutrients out of the soil.The nutrients that are present come from decaying organisms or plant life. 

 

Abiotic Factors:

  • Humans such as tribal people are those who inhabit Rainforests, since they rely on the environment for food, shelter, and medicine.
  • Humans are exploiting this biome through mass deforestation, which is releasing huge amounts of carbon and contributing to global climate change. Deforestation is also ruining the homes of many different species.
  • In order to protect this biome, organizations attempt to buy rainforest land to protect it from logging. Many animals were also added to the endagered species list.

Human Interaction:

  • Found in the mountain regions all around the world,usually at an altitude of about 10,000 feet or more. The Alpine biome lies just below the snow line of a mountain.

     

  • Animal life includes Alpaca, Andean Condor, Chinchilla, Llama, Mountain Goat, Snow Leopard, Vicuña, Yak, mountain goats, sheep, elk, beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.

  • Plant life includes Alpine Phacelia, Bear Grass, Bristlecone Pine, Moss Campion, Polylepis Forest, Pygmy Bitterroot, Wild Potato, ussock grasses, dwarf trees, small-leafed shrubs, and heaths.

     

Biotic Factors:

Locations:

Alpine

  • The average yearly precipitation in the Alpines is 30 cm.
  • The summer average temperatures range from -12 to 15° C . In the winter, the temperatures are below freezing.
  • The soil in the Alpine is very poor because many plants grow in sandy and rocky soil.

 

Abiotic Factors:

  • A small number of humans live in the Alpine Biome due to the extremely high altitudes, however there are some people who choose to do so.
  • Humans are exploiting this biome through global warming which is causing the alpine to get less snow every year, resulting in a loss of water that is needed for the environment to thrive.
  • In order to protect this biome, certain areas have their own regulations involving the Alpines. Also, some alpine areas are designated as parks to protect them from humans.

Human Interaction:

Biomes The Cradles of Life [Internet]. 2012-2013. Copyright Global Virtual Classroom: GVC1214 Team; [April 1, 2013]. Available from: http://1214.virtualclassroom.org/grassland_lifestyle.html

 

Blue Plant Biomes [Internet]. 2010. West Tisbury Elementary School: Brynn Schaffner. Available from: http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/world_biomes.htm

 

Chaparral Biome [Internet]. 2012. BioExpedition. Available from: http://www.bioexpedition.com/chaparral-biome/

 

Science Focus 10 [Internet]. 2004. McGraw-Hill Ryerson. Available from: Science.Technology.Society

 

World Wildlife Global [Internet]. 2016. World Wildlife Fund. Available from: http://wwf.panda.org/

 

Works Cited