5. What are biomes, and which are the most important?
A biome is a biological unit that occupies large terrestrial and aquatic surfaces of the planet and has fairly uniform characteristics in terms of climate, flora, and fauna. A biome is made up of a set of ecosystems of typologies corresponding to said surfaces or areas of the Earth. Next, we will discuss the most important terrestrial biomes.
The tropical rain forest is characterized by high temperatures and precipitations. They are located in the belt of the planet around the Earth’s equator, mainly in South America, Africa and the islands of Southeast Asia. The Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world.
The savannah is characterized by a herbaceous layer that disappears to the horizon like a green ocean in rainy seasons or a sepia sea in periods of drought. It is also composed of a variety of scattered shrubs and trees.
The mangrove swamp is made up of trees that grow in coastal areas of salt water, near the mouths of rivers, obviously fresh water. From its branches grow long extensions that descend to the ground and the water.
The prairie and the steppe are distinguished by their grasslands and scrublands, made up of ecosystems in which temperate grasslands predominate. They are found primarily in the great plains of North America, the pampas of South America, the grasslands of South Africa, the steppes of Asia, and the southern savannas of Oceania.
Temperate deciduous forest is mainly made up of trees such as oak, maples, beech, and elm. It is located in temperate zones in the east and west of the United States, in Canada, Chile, Europe, China, Japan, Korea, Argentine Patagonia and European Russia.
The desert is a biome with an arid climate with little rainfall. Deserts occupy almost a third of the earth’s surface. About half of the deserts are hot and the other half cold. These sandy areas have little vegetation, and some are scarce of life, although in others there are many plant and animal species. The vegetation adapts to the low humidity and the fauna hides during the day to avoid dehydration.
The tundra is characterized by a frozen subsoil and a lack of vegetation. Moss and lichen covered soils are swampy, with peat bogs in many places. The tundra is mainly located in the boreal hemisphere, in northern Russia, Alaska, northern Canada, southern Greenland, and on the Arctic coast of Europe.
The taiga is characterized by coniferous forest formations, being the largest forest mass on the planet. The taiga is located in northern Russia, including Siberia, northern Europe, in the Hudson Bay, northern Canada, and Alaska. The southern hemisphere lacks taiga but has Magellanic subpolar forests.