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Chapter: Introduction to Botany: Plants and Earth

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Geography of Vegetation

Plants are main components of terrestrial ecosystems, they are primary pro-ducers, and almost all terrestrial life if based on plants.

Geography of Vegetation

 

 

Plants are main components of terrestrial ecosystems, they are primary pro-ducers, and almost all terrestrial life if based on plants. Consequently, plants will determine how a particular territory might look, which could be, for exam-ple, grassland, tundra, or forest. These types of vegetation (i.e., visually different plant communities) will have different occurrence on Earth. Below is the list of the most important types (they also called biomes):

 

Tundra 

Small-sized plants adapted to the short season, wet soils and some-times also permafrost

 

Taiga 

Conifer forests

 

Deciduous forest 

Broadleaved temperate forests. The other type of deciduousforests are dry forests of tropical climates.

 

Grassland 

Prairie (North America), steppe (Eurasia), savanna (Africa and Aus-tralia), llanos (north South America), pampas (south South America)

 

Shrubland 

Chaparral (North America), maquis (Mediterranean), fynbos (SouthAfrica), bush (Australia)

 

Desert 

Different from shrubland by plants staying apart and soil surface visible

 

Tropical forest 

Selva, tropical rain forest: humid and warm environment, thepeak of Earth biodiversity

 

Naturally, these biomes are directly related with the climate, mostly with the coldest temperatures and amount of precipitation. If the Earth would be one continent, then these vegetation types will be arranged from a pole to equator exactly in the order from the list above. However, the real picture is more com-plicated (Fig. 9.1.) 

 

Some smaller biomes, especially different kinds of wetlands (like sphagnum bogs or mangroves) are significantly dispersed, sometimes even intra-zonal (occur in different climatic zones).

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