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Biome or ecosystem type is according to Wikipedia:

Biomes are climatically and geographically defined as similar climatic conditions on the Earth, such as communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, and are often referred to as ecosystems. Some parts of the earth have more or less the same kind of abiotic and biotic factors spread over a large area creating a typical ecosystem over that area.

Such major ecosystems are termed as biomes. Biomes are defined by factors such as plant structures (such as trees, shrubs, and grasses), leaf types (such as broadleaf and needleleaf), plant spacing (forest, woodland, savanna), and climate. Unlike ecozones, biomes are not defined by genetic, taxonomic, or historical similarities. Biomes are often identified with particular patterns of ecological succession and climax vegetation (quasi-equilibrium state of the local ecosystem). An ecosystem has many biotopes and a biome is a major habitat type. A major habitat type, however, is a compromise, as it has an intrinsic inhomogeneity.



Biome classification schemes seek to define biomes using climatic measurements. Particularly in the 1970s and 1980s there was a significant push to understand the relationships between these measurements and properties of ecosystem energetics because such discoveries would enable the prediction of rates of energy capture and transfer among components within ecosystems.

Here is a picture explaining how:

A team of biologists convened by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) developed an ecological land classification system that identified fourteen biomes,[8] called major habitat types, and further divided the world’s land area into 867 terrestrial ecoregions. Each terrestrial Ecoregion has a specific EcoID, fomat XXnnNN (XX is the Ecozone, nn is the Biome number, NN is the individual number). This classification is used to define the Global 200 list of ecoregions identified by the WWF as priorities for conservation. The WWF major habitat types are:

  1. Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests (tropical and subtropical, humid)
  2. Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests (tropical and subtropical, semi-humid)
  3. Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests (tropical and subtropical, semi-humid)
  4. Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests (temperate, humid)
  5. Temperate coniferous forests (temperate, humid to semi-humid)
  6. Boreal forests/taiga (subarctic, humid)
  7. Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (tropical and subtropical, semi-arid)
  8. Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (temperate, semi-arid)
  9. Flooded grasslands and savannas (temperate to tropical, fresh or brackish water inundated) Montane grasslands and shrublands (alpine or montane climate)
  10. Tundra (Arctic)
  11. Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub or Sclerophyll forests (temperate warm, semi-humid to semi-arid with winter rainfall)
  12. Deserts and xeric shrublands (temperate to tropical, arid)
  13. Mangrove (subtropical and tropical, salt water inundated)

Then there are the aquatic biomes both fresh water: oceans, shallow and deep lakes, rivers, and Wetlands. The salt water biomes include marine coastal and continental shelves, and estuaries.

Predicted future changes

Mapped Atmosphere-Plant-Soil System study (MAPSS) has been used to do this. And we willl see how this could potentially effect future biome distrubution.


category: ecology