Friday, August 12, 2011


Natural vegetation of India

Amazon Rainforest

Temperate Deciduous Forest

Temperate Deciduous Forest
  • Changing seasons
  • 'Deciduous' means exactly what the trees on these leaves do: change colour in autumn, fall off in winter, grow back in spring/ lose their leaves every year and grow them back again
    (Helps trees to survive winter)
  • Winter: form of recipitation- sleet, snow, hail
  • Average rainfall is 30-60inches per year
  • Average temperature is about 50F
Surviving the changing season
  • Special adaptations
    - Summer: broad leaves to capture energy from sun and convert to food
    - Autumn: Green chlorophyll in leaves begin to decompose, revealing brillant shades of reds, oranges, yellows
    - Winter: trees and plants become dormant
    - Spring: grows new leaves and begin photosynthesis again
  • primarily in the eastern half of the United States, Canada, Europe, parts of Russia, China, and Japan

What causes season
  • the tilt of the Earth's axis at different times of the years
    (sun rays hit different parts of the globe more directly)

Temperate Deciduous Forest animals
  • must adjust to cold winters and hot summers by hibernating, migrating, keeping active all winter
  • Includes Black bear, grey squirrel, raccoon, white-tailed deer, cardinal, yellow-bellied sapsucker

Colours of leaves in the fall

Black walnut and butternut Drop leaves before they turn
Locust Stays green until leaves drop
Ash Plum purple
Red maple, dogwood, sassafras, and scarlet oak Dark red
Sugar maple and sumac Flame red and orange
Oak, beech, larch, elm, hickory, and sycamore Tan or brown
Poplar, birch, tulip tree, willow Yellow


  • a land of extreme heat and dryness; sudden flash floods and cold nights
  • a harsh environment, often named 'Death valley', 'the place of no return'
  • very, very dry
    (even wettest deserts get less than 10 inches of precipitation per year)
  • only a few periods of rains per year with lots of time between them
  • during the day, temperature are as high as 100F ; but during the night, tempereature can fall till 40s and 50s.
    (Because deserts have only 10% to 20%  humidity to trap temperatures and have so little trees and other vegetation to cool down heat, the cool down rapidly when sun sets and heat up quickly after sun rises)
  • Hot (main form of precipitation: rain)
    - includes: Thar, Sahara, Monte, Kalahari
  • Cold (main form of precipitation: snow or fog)
    - includes Namib, Iranian, Great Basin, Gobi
  • many are found in bends along 30degrees latitude north and 30degrees latitude south.
  • some located by mountains are are caused by the 'rainshadow' effect.
    - As air moves up over a mountain range, it gets cold and loses its ability to hold moisture - so its rains or snow. When ari moves over to the other side of the mountain, it gets warmer. Warm air can hold lots of moisture, so it doesn't rain as much and a desert is formed.

Deserts of the world

World's Largest Deserts
Desert Location Square
Sahara North Africa 3,500,000 9,065,000
Gobi Mongolia-China 500,000 1,295,000
Kalahari Southern Africa 225,000 582,000
Great Victoria Australia 150,000 338,500
Great Sandy Australia 150,000 338,50

Deserts of North America
Size Physical
Some Plants & Animals Special Facts
North Central Mexico and Southwestern United States (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas)
175,000 mi2
455,000 km2
High plateau covered by stony areas and sandy soil. Many mountains and mesas. cacti, chihuahuan flax, creosote bush, lechuguilla, mesquite, mexican gold poppy coyote, diamondback rattlesnake, javelina, kangaroo rat, roadrunner Largest North American desert. Big Bend National Park located here; more species of birds seen in Big Bend than in any other National Park in the U.S.
Great Basin
Western United States (Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Utah)
158,000 mi2
411,000 km2
Covered by sand, gravel, and clay. Many moutains ranges, basins, and large expanses of salt flats. greasewood, sagebrush, shadscale bighorn sheep, jackrabbit, pocket mouse, poor-will, pronghorn antelope, sage thrasher, side-blotched lizard Great Salt Lake located here.
Southwestern United States (Arizona, California, Nevada)
25,000 mi2
65,000 km2
Covered by sandy soil, gravelly pavement, and salt flats. creosote bush, desert sand verbena, joshua tree, mesquite bighorn sheep, chuckwalla, coyote, jackrabbit, sidewinder, zebra-tailed lizard Death Valley located in this desert.
Southwestern United States (Arizona, California) and parts of Mexico (Baja Peninsula, Sonora)
120,000 mi2
312,000 km2
Covered by sand, soil, and gravelly pavement. Gets more rain than any other North American desert. agave, coulter's globemallow, creosote bush, desert mariposa lily, mesquite, ocotillo, paloverde, saguaro coati, elf owl, gila monster, kangaroo rat, pack rat, roadrunner, sidewinder, tarantula Most complex animal-plant community of any desert.

Desert Plants
  • home to many living things
  • second only to tropical rainforests in the variety of plant and animal species that live there
  • main adaptions to survive in the harsh conditions are ability to collect and store water and features that reduce water loss
  • Includes old man cactus, prickly pear cactus, dragon tree,

Desert animals
  • must adapt to the harsh conditions to survive; some never drink but gets their water from seeds and plant,  some sleep during the hot day and only comes out at night to eat and hunt, some rarely spend time above ground
  • Includes addax, dingo, fat sand rat, fennec fox

Temperate Deciduous and Temperate Coniferous Forests

Tropical rainforests:
- high rainfall
- location: nearer to the equator (23.5 degrees North and South)

Temperate forests:
- not so hot all year round
- 4 seasons
- location: northern hemisphere, higher latitudes (60-70 degrees North and South)
- less rainfall

Temperate Deciduous Forests
- Distribution: found widely in Japan, China, Europe, North America, New Zealand
- Characteristics:
1. Deciduous leaves- very broad, has a larger surface are to get more sunlight in summer and spring, leaves fall off in autumn and winter to minimise water loss due to transpiration
2. Layers- canopy is thick in summer, shrubs and small trees, forest floor grows rapidly in spring and summer and disappears in autumn and winter
3. colour changes- chlorophyll production stops
4. not very dense
5. 3 or 4 varieties in an area

Temperate Coniferous forests
- Distribution: Similar to temperate deciduoud forests but in the northern parts and mountainous area
1. Coniferous= cone shaped
2. Supple/soft branches
3. Evergreen, do not drop their leaves
4. Small, needle-like leaves. Because there is a smaller surface area, less water is lost and therefore there is no need to drop leaves.
5. One layer, little undergrowth
6. Usually homogenous (1 type) in variety within an area

Cherie and Nicole :)


  • largest biome
  • primarily a coniferous forest (evergreen trees with needles)
  • located between 50degrees latitude north and the Arctic Circle
  • fewer animal species
  • very very cold in the winter ; but snow and ice melts in the warm summer
    (Insects breed in melting water)
  • sun shines for days in the summer- near the top of the world
  • In the spring, birds come to nest and lay eggs and eat the plentiful insects

  • Average temperature is below freezing point for 6 months each year
  • total yearly precipitation is 12-33 inches.
    (Most comes from the warm, humid summer months instead of snowfall in cold winter)

  • Taiga Temperatures
    Low High
    Winter -65 F (-54 C) 30 F (-1 C)
    Summer 20 F (-7 C) 70 F (21 C)

  •  Long nights in winter and long days in summer
    (Due to the tilt of Earth on its axis)
  • prone to wildfires
    (adapted by growing thick bark)
  • Decomposition is slow
    - Because of cool temperature
    - Undecayed vegetation builds up on forest floor
    (feel like sponge)
    - soil is thin and lacking in nutrients
    (trees grow taller when warmer temperature allow faster decompositon, or by streams and rivers which carry nutrients from higher ground.
Taiga Plants
  • large and seemingly homogeneous
  • acres and acres of exact same species

Taiga animals
  • life can be cold, dreary and diffcult due to snow, cold and a scarcity of food
  • taiga animals must adapt to survive ; some migrate, some hibernate, some simply cope with the environment
  • Includes hawl owl, pine grosbeak, ermine, lynx, wolverine


    • at the top of the world, near North pole
    • enormous biome, extremely uniform in appearance
    • covers a fitfth of Earth's surface

    Distinct characteristics
    • permafrost, a permanently frozen layer of ground
    • during brief summer, top section of soil may thaw out, allowing plants and microorganisms to grow and reprocuce
      (become dormant during cold, winter months)
    • Another region: alpine tundra- found on tops of tall, cold mountains
    • animals adapted to handle cold winters and to breed and raise young quickly during the short and cool summer
    • temperature during arctic winter can dip to -60F (-51C)
    • average temperature of warmest month is between 50F (10C) and 32F (0C)
    • Average annual temperature is only 10F to 20F (-12C to -6C)
    • soil is often frozen, permafrost usually exists withina metre of surface
    • water is unavailable during most of the year
    • annual precipitation is very low, usually less tha 10 inches

    Tundra animals
    • frigid cold and deep snow makes life difficult
    • animals must adapt to the cold to survie ; some grows thick fur which turns to white in winter , some hibernate during the winter months
    • Includes tundra swan, snowy owl, snow bunting, arctic fox, musk ox, Norway lemming


    • big open spaces, not many bushes
    • trees are only found near streams and rivers
    • seems like an endless ocean of grass
    • 10-30 inches of rain per year
    • often located between forests and deserts
    • soil tends to be deep and fertile (Crops grow well)
    • roots of perennial grasses usually penetrate far into the soil.
    • Tallgrass prairie
      - Lies mainly in the eastern portion of the Midwest
      - Grasses normally grow to 5 feet tall
      - Annual rain total approach 30 inches per year
    • Mixed grass prairie
      - Lies mainly in the middle portion of the Midwest
      - Grasses normally grow to 2-3 feet tall
      - Typically 15-25 inches of rain per year
      - where buffalo once roamed
    • Short grass prairie
      - Lies mainly in the western portion of the Midwest, hugging the coast of the deserts and the Rocky mountains into Canada
      - Grasses normally are no more than two feet tall
      - Usually a little more than 10 inches of rain per year
      - Prairie dogs are common.

    Grasslands of the World
    • found on either side of two desert belts that circle the Earth
    • about one-quarter of Earth are grasslands
    • Tropical grasslands: closer to Equator; hot all year round
    • Temperate grasslands: further from Equator; both hot summer and harsh winter
    • Once covered much of interior of North American, also common in Eurasia ans South American
    • highly productive when first converted to agriculture uses
      (Organic material in soil comes from hundreds and thousands of years of decomposition
    • Go by different names
      - South American: Pampas
      - Europe: Steppes
      - Africa: Savannas

      Grassland Animals
      • Grasslands lacks trees and heavy bushes to hide animals
      • home to large herds of grazing animals
        (Open landscape and widely spaced trees)
      • Active only during the rainy season
      • Includes animals like Warthog, Afican Elephant, Brown Hyena and Bison