Geography

Chapter 6: Natural Vegetation and Wildlife

Vegetation

  • Vegetation is an assemblage of plant species and the ground cover they provide.

  • Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region.

  • Vegetation has significant relationships with climate, water, soils, landforms, other plants, animals, and humans.

Vegetation region

  • Scientists divide the Earth’s land into what are called vegetation regions.

  • These areas have distinct types of plants, soil, and weather patterns.

  • Vegetation regions can be divided into five major types.

Forest, grassland, tundra, desert, and ice sheet

  • Climate, soil, the ability of soil to hold water, and the slope, or angle, of the land all determine what types of plants will grow in a particular region.

Forests

  • Forests are areas with trees grouped in a way so their leaves, or foliage, shade the ground.

  • Forests can be found just about anywhere trees can grow, from below sea level to high in the mountains.

  • From tropical rain forests near the Equator to boreal forests in cold climates close to the Arctic Circle, different types of forests can be found all over the world.

Tropical Evergreen Forests

  • These forests are also called tropical rainforests.

  • An evergreen forest is a forest made up of evergreen trees. 

  • These thick forests occur in the regions near the equator and close to the tropics.

  • These regions receive heavy rainfall throughout the year.

  • Tropical evergreen forests are dense and multi-layered.

  • The thick forest of the closely spaced trees do not allow the sunlight to penetrate inside the forest.

  • Therefore, these forests always appear green and are known as evergreen forests

Tropical deciduous forests

  • Tropical deciduous are the monsoon forests found in the large part of India, northern Australia and in central America.

  • These regions experience seasonal changes.

  • These forest formations are dense and lush during the wet summers, but become a dry landscape during the dry winters when most trees shed their leaves. 

  • Shedding their leaves allows trees to conserve water  during dry periods.

  • Trees use underground water during the dry seasons.

  • The hardwood trees found in these forests are neem, sal, teak, and shisham.

  • Tigers, lions, elephants, langoors and monkeys are the common animals of these regions.

Temperate  Evergreen  Forests

  • The temperate evergreen forests are located in the midlatitudinal coastal region.

  • They are found in areas with warm moist summers and cool winters.

  • They are commonly found along the eastern margin of the continents, e.g., south east USA, South China and in South East Brazil.

  • They hard and soft wood trees are found in these area like eucalyptus, oak, pine.

Temperate Deciduous Forests

  • Temperate deciduous forests are a variety of temperate forest dominated by trees that shed their leaves each year in dry season.

  • These are found in the north eastern part of USA, China, New Zealand, Chile and also found in the coastal regions of Western Europe.

  • The common trees are oak, ash, beech, etc.

  • Deer, foxes, wolves are the animals commonly found.

  • Birds like pheasants, monals are also found here.

Mediterranean vegetation

  • Mediterranean forests are generally composed of broadleaf trees.

  • Such as the oak and mixed sclerophyll forests of California and the Mediterranean region.

  • The Eucalyptus forests of Southwest Australia, and the Nothofagus forests of central Chile south west Africa.

  • These regions are characterized by  hot dry summers and mild wet winters.

  • Citrus fruits such as oranges, figs, olives and grapes are commonly cultivated here.

Coniferous Forests

  • Coniferous forest vegetation composed primarily of cone-bearing needle-leaved or scale-leaved evergreen trees.

  •  They are found in areas that have long winters and moderate to high annual precipitation.

Coniferous Forests

  • We can also know coniferous forests as taiga.

  • The woods of these trees are very useful for making pulp, which is used for manufacturing paper and newsprint.

  • Match boxes and packing boxes are also made from softwood.

  • Chir, pine, cedar are the important variety of trees in these forests.

  • Silver fox, mink, polar bear are the common animals found in this forest.

GrassLands

  • Grassland area in which the vegetation is dominated by a nearly continuous cover of grasses. 

  • Grasslands occur in environments conducive to the growth of this plant cover but not to that of taller plants, particularly trees and shrubs.

Tropical grassland

  • The grass in the tropical grassland can grow very tall, aboutm3 to 4 metres in height.

  • Tropical grasslands, or savannas, are also the homes of primates in Africa and Asia.

  • Elephants, zebras, giraffes, deer, leopards are common in tropical grasslands.

Temperate grassland

  • Temperate grasslands  are found in the midlatitudinal zones and in the interior part of the continents.

  • The grass of these grasslands are short and nutritious.

  • Wild buffaloes, bisons, antilopes are common in the temperate region.

Thorny bushes

  • Thorny bushes are found in dry and hot subtropical areas with seasonal rainfall.

  • The growth of natural vegetation is very limited here.

  • The bushes shed their leaves seasonally to avoid loss of water.

  • It grows during the very short summer.

  • This is called Tundra type of vegetation.
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