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MemberDecember 2, 2023 at 11:27 pm::
Vegetation refers to all plant life, including large organisms like trees and tiny mosses. Vegetation varies wildly across the globe’s surface, adapting to local conditions and climate. As a result, vegetation zones have been defined by scholars to describe the different ways that plants are distributed on the earth’s surface.
Vegetation zones are sometimes called “life zones,” which may capture meaning more intuitively. These zones host a certain variety of species, which carve out a niche in the climate, soil, and slope that is particular to a given zone. Vegetation zones are conducive in ecology, which studies the interaction between an organism and its environment.
Types of Vegetation Zones
let’s have a quick brief of all:
Forests are large areas covered by trees. Once, forests covered most of the continent of Europe, and much of the North American continent, as well. Two fundamental categories are used by the researchers: deciduous and evergreen forests.
Deciduous trees have leaves that change color with the seasons and shed their leaves in late fall and winter. As the name suggests, Evergreen trees do not have leaves that change color. Instead, they have needles that remain green throughout the year. That’s not to say that needles don’t shed or new needles don’t grow during springtime, however.
Many different forest designations go beyond the distinction between evergreen and deciduous. These include –
- Temperate Forests, found in North America and Eurasia, these forests have four seasons and widely fluctuating temperatures.
- Tropical Forests, found near the equator, these warm-weather forests are highly biodiverse. Many rain forests are tropical, although there are also rainforests at higher latitudes, such as in Alaska.
- Boreal Forests, also called Taiga, are located in northern North America, Europe, and Asia, covering regions such as Siberia. Their average temperature is below freezing.
What are some major vegetation types of local areas? Much of the world’s landmass is covered by some form of grassland. In the United States, the Great Plains of the Midwest region qualify as grassland. Meanwhile, large swathes of sub-Saharan Africa host savanna vegetation zones, which are home to grasses and drought-resistant trees.
Each grassland zone has major vegetation types, which sustain a unique mix of animal species or fauna depending on the local area. The grasses of the Great Plains once fed tens of millions of buffalo, while the savannas of eastern Africa are home to gazelle, lions, and hyenas.
The world’s tundra cover many northerly regions and land at such high altitudes that cold temperatures are endemic. Tundra are characterized by such low temperatures that trees cannot grow. In the northern reaches of Siberia, Scandinavia, and Canada, the sun does not rise for months at a time, meaning that vegetation has a short growing season. Usually, the only plants that grow in tundra life zones are grasses, mosses, lichens, and small shrubs.
A desert is a region with deficient rainfall, defined as less than 10 inches a year. As a result, desert soil can be sandy. As in the case of the Sahara, or rocky, as in the case of much of the Namib. Although the stereotypical desert is hot and may have cacti, cold climates can also house deserts. In fact, the world’s largest dessert is Siberian dessert.
Ice sheets cover a significant portion of the earth’s landmass. Notable examples include the ice sheets covering Antarctica and Greenland. The ice sheet covering Antarctica is the largest mass of ice in the world. Its average thickness is over a mile deep and extends over an area of 5.4 million square miles.