Plants and Animals, The Biomes
The plant and animal communities of the biosphere living in a particular territory is called the 'biomes'. These biomes adapt themselves to the prevailing environmental conditions of the surroundings. The biomes help us with a clear understanding that we require of the relationships among the ecosystems. Let us now see the interactions and relationships among the climate, soil, vegetation, animals and humankind. Based on their structural characteristics, the biomes can be classified, as follows: -
1. FOREST BIOMES
a. Coniferous forests
c. Tropical forests
2. GRASSLAND BIOMES
a. Temperate grasslands
3. DESERT BIOMES
a. Cold deserts
4. MOUNTAIN BIOMES
Temperate Grassland Biomes: In mid latitudes, these biomes are in the continental interiors. These biomes include the plains of North America, Steppes of Eurasia, Manchuria plains, Argentina Pampas, African Velds and Australian Downs. In certain places in these areas, the temperature is below the dew point. It is extremely cold during the winter and high temperatures during the summer. In the southern hemisphere, there is mild cold. In Argentina, with the exception of the Pampas, in other areas the rainfall is light.
The soils and the grasslands have intimate relationships. There is a black soil with rich plant nutrients. There are numerous grazing animals. Squirrel and dog, wolves and foxes, and the forest animals like the leopard and very many insects are found here. The animals that require special mention are the kangaroos of Australia, zebras of South Africa, wild horses of Eurasia, bisons of North America and so on.
These grasslands are of economic importance. The natural biomes of the area have been changed and new ones have been developed by the humans. The tribes of the grasslands were engaged in a life of nomads. Later, the Europeans have changed these grasslands into cattle farms and grazing lands in a big way. They have followed crop cultivation in the fertile Chernozem. In course of time, the industrialisation of the cropped lands occurred.
Tropical Grassland Biome: This is also known as the Savannah. The African Savannahs, Australian Savannahs and the South American Campas are included in these grassland biomes. The climate is characterised by high temperatures throughout the year and summer rains. There are three seasons, namely, cold dry season, hot dry season and temperate rainy season. The sandy dry gravel soil is found here. In the African Savannah, there is a wide variety of wild animals. Particularly, African elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and lions are the common elements.
The impact of human activities is high in this biome. The bushmen and the Kirkiz are big time hunters. As the hunting was followed by even the modern people, the big animals like the elephants have become nearly extinct. In these grasslands, shifting cultivation is still largely followed to grow millets, groundnut and pepper. In East Africa, the plantation crops were introduced by the Europeans. Examples: coffee, cotton, and tobacco.