landforms - PNU

Our Biosphere
is the global
sum of all
It can also be
called the zone
of life on Earth.
An Ecozone, Ecorealm,
Biogeographic Realm or
simply Biorealm is the largest
scale biogeographic division of
the Earth's land surfaces,
based on the historic and
evolutionary distribution
patterns of terrestrial plants and
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
A Habitat refers to the
type of environment in
which organisms live.
Some organisms are
terrestrial; some aquatic;
some arboreal; some live
outside or inside the body
of a host (parasites).
An Ecoregion (ecological
region), sometimes called a
Bioregion, is an ecologically
and geographically defined
area that is smaller than an
ecozone and larger than an
An Ecosystem is a biological
environment consisting of all
the organisms living in a
particular area, as well as all
the nonliving, physical
components of the
environment with which the
organisms interact, such as
air, soil, water, and sunlight.
Biotope is an area of uniform
environmental conditions providing
a living place for a specific
assemblage of plants and animals.
Biotope is almost synonymous with
the term habitat, but while the
subject of a habitat is a species or
a population, the subject of a
biotope is a biological community.
•A population is all the
organisms that both belong to
the same species and live in
the same geographical area.
•A community is an
assemblage of two or more
populations of different species
occupying the same
geographical area.
Abiotic Components of an Ecosystem
Temperature Acidity
Angle of
Air, wind
of slope
A team of biologists convened by the World Wide Fund for Nature
(WWF) developed an ecological land classification system that
identified fourteen biomes,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:
01 Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests (tropical and subtropical, humid)
02 Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests (tropical and subtropical, semi-humid)
03 Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests (tropical and subtropical, semi-humid)
04 Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests (temperate, humid)
05 Temperate coniferous forests (temperate, humid to semi-humid)
06 Boreal forests/taiga (subarctic, humid)
07 Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (tropical and
subtropical, semi-arid)
08 Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands (temperate, semi-arid)
09 Flooded grasslands and savannas (temperate to tropical, fresh or brackish water
10 Montane grasslands and shrublands (alpine or montane climate)
11 Tundra (Arctic)
12 Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub or Sclerophyll forests (temperate warm,
semi-humid to semi-arid with winter rainfall)
13 Deserts and xeric shrublands (temperate to tropical, arid)
14 Mangrove (subtropical and tropical, salt water inundated)
Freshwater biomes
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the following are
classified as freshwater biomes:
•Large lakes
•Large river deltas
•Polar freshwaters
•Montane freshwaters
•Temperate coastal rivers
•Temperate floodplain rivers and
•Temperate upland rivers
•Tropical and subtropical coastal rivers
•Tropical and subtropical floodplain rivers
•and wetlands
•Tropical and subtropical upland rivers
•Xeric freshwaters and endorheic basins
•Oceanic islands
Realms or Ecozones
(terrestrial and freshwater, WWF)
•NA Nearctic
•PA Palearctic
•AT Afrotropic
•IM Indomalaya
•AA Australasia
•NT Neotropic
•OC Oceania
•AN Antarctic
Marine biomes (H) (major habitat types),
Global 200 (WWF)
Biomes of the coastal & continental shelf areas
(Neritic zone - List of ecoregions (WWF)):
•Temperate shelves and sea
•Temperate upwelling
•Tropical upwelling
•Tropical coral
Realms or Ecozones (marine, WWF)
•North Temperate Atlantic
•Eastern Tropical Atlantic
•Western Tropical Atlantic
•South Temperate Atlantic
•North Temperate IndoPacific
•Central Indo-Pacific
•Eastern Indo-Pacific
•Western Indo-Pacific
•South Temperate IndoPacific
•Southern Ocean
Other marine habitat types:
•Hydrothermal vents
•Cold seeps
•Benthic zone
•Pelagic zone (trades and westerlies)
•Hadal (ocean trench)
Major Habitats, Non Global 200 (WWF)
•Littoral/Intertidal zone
•Kelp forest
•Pack ice
Ecozone: Palearctic ecozone
Terrestrial Biome: Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed
Ecoregion: Dinaric Mountains mixed forests
Ecosystem: Orjen, vegetation belt
1,100- 1,450
Nemoral zone (temperate
Biotope: OreoherzogioAbietetum illyricae
Fuk. (Plant
Plant: Silver fir (Abies alba)
Terrestrial Biomes
Tundra is a biome where the tree growth is
hindered by low temperatures and short growing
seasons. The term tundra comes through Russian
word tūndâr "uplands," "treeless mountain tract."
There are three types of tundra: Arctic tundra,
Alpine tundra, and Antarctic tundra. In tundra,
the vegetation is composed of dwarf shrubs,
sedges and grasses, mosses, and lichens.
Scattered trees grow in some tundra.
The ecotone (or ecological boundary region)
between the tundra and the forest is known as the
tree line or timberline.
The tundra is located around the North Pole in the Arctic
Circle. The layer of earth beneath the tundra is frozen all
year long. This is called the permafrost. Industrial activity
in the tundra may add to the world's environmental
Precipitation: Expecting deep snow, many are surprised to
learn that the tundra may receive no more precipitation
than a desert. The
tundra receives less than 10 inches of precipitation yearly.
Sunlight- The Tundra only get about 6 months worth of
sunlight a year.
Temperature: The tundra is an extremely cold and dry
biome. The average yearly temperature is only 10°F to
Climate: The tundra is the coldest region in the world. Fierce
winds blow while snow and ice cover the ground. Even the
sea freezes as the temperature gets colder. Sometimes the
strong winds create "white outs" when the snow blows so
much. During the summers the top layer of soil thaws but the
underlying piece of soil remains frozen, rainwater can't soak
into the soil so the Tundra has shallow ponds and marshy
areas and near the Arctic Circle the sun doesn't set during
the midsummer.
Animal Species: A large variety of animals live in the tundra
for the whole year. They have special adaptations that allow
them to survive in the winter weather. Some of these include:
short legs; long hair; and a coat of thick fur. They have short
tails and large, furry feet. Many animals have white fur which
camouflages them against the snow. Some animals that live
in the tundra are polar bears, caribou, and penguins.
Plants: During the short-growing
season in the summer, the tundra
blooms with a variety of lowgrowing plants. For example, the
only tree that grows in the tundra
biome is the dwarf willow tree.
Also some of the other plants that
live are mosses, grasses, and
shrubs. The plant growth takes
place in the long days of the short
The land in the Tundra is open with very low vegetation. It has
high mountain tops which hardly have any vegetation at all. The
icy conditions of the land are to severe for the growth of tall trees.
None of the Tundra's vegetation is spread to the North pole nor
South pole.
Taiga also known as the boreal forest, is a biome
characterized by coniferous forests. Taiga is the world's
largest terrestrial biome.
The term boreal forest is sometimes, particularly in
Canada, used to refer to the more southerly part of the
biome, while the term taiga is then often used to describe
only the more barren areas of the northernmost part of the
taiga approaching the tree line.
Taiga makes up 27% of the world's forest cover; The
largest areas are located in Russia and Canada. The taiga
is the terrestrial biome with the lowest annual average
temperatures after the tundra and permanent ice caps.
However, extreme minimums in the taiga are typically
lower than those of the tundra.
Boreal Forests are also known as Taiga Named by the
Russians). They are in-between the Tundra biome to the north
and the Grassland/Deciduous Forest Biomes in the south.
Boreal forests are found in the Northern Hemisphere in places
such as, Canada, and Siberia in Russia. It is the largest biome
in the world!
Precipitation: Mostly snow falls, but there are times during the
summer where there are heavy amounts of rain.
Sunlight: There is sunlight in the Boreal biome, but when there
is trees hide its rays.
Temperatures: The temperature is a constant difference from
5 to -40°F, being the coldest. Also with temperatures of 5059°F being the warmest.
Climate: Boreal Forests has long, extremely cold winters.
With very mild, rainy, short summers.
Animal Species: Some of the animals that live in this forest,
include: Deer, Moose, Elk, Bears,Finches, Mice, Red
Squirrels, Foxes, Rabbits,beavers Chick-adees and many
more.Adding on, insects have a big amounts during the
season, when coniditions are moderate. Most of the animals
eat seends from the trees, but others such as moose and
beavers eat tree bark and new shoots(grass).
A few preditors are wolves bears great horned owls and
Lynxes (Boreal Forest Animals)
Plants: The most known plant to
this wild life, is the coniferous
trees, lichens, ferns and
berries.Other plants are ther
Fir,Spruce, and Hemlock
trees(These trees have waxy
needles that prevent water from
evaporating, giving them a food
source.) There aren't many kinds
of plants because of the poor soil.
Boreal forests are often damaged
by a moth called spruce budworm, which can eat other plants
and kill entire trees.
Grasslands (also called greenswards) are areas
where the vegetation is dominated by grasses
(Poaceae) and other herbaceous (non-woody) plants
(forbs). However, sedge (Cyperaceae) and rush
(Juncaceae) families can also be found. Grasslands
occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica.
In temperate latitudes, such as northwest Europe and
the Great Plains and California in North America, native
grasslands are dominated by perennial bunch grass
species, whereas in warmer climates annual species
form a greater component of the vegetation.
Grassland biomes are large, rolling areas of grasses, flowers
and herbs. Latitude, soil and local climates for the most part
determine what kinds of plants grow in a particular grasslands.
There are many types of grasslands around the world. Some of
the grasslands are tropical and some are dry. Grasslands in
North America are known as Prairies, and in South America
they are known as the Pampas. Eurasia has the Steppes, and
in South Africa they are called Savanna and Veldt. Savannas of
one sort or another cover almost half the surface of Africa, large
areas of Australia, South America, and India.
Temperate grasslands are characterized as having grasses as
the dominant vegetation. Grassland biomes can be found in the
middle latitudes, in the interiors of continents.
Precipitation: Grasslands receive about 10 to 30 inches of
rain per year. If they received more rain, the grasslands
would become a forest. If they received less, they would
become a desert. Grasslands are often located between
deserts and forests.
Grassland soil tends to be deep and fertile. The roots of
perennial grasses usually penetrate far into the soil. In North
America, the prairies were once inhabited by huge herds of
bison and pronghorns who fed on the prairie grasses. These
herds are almost gone now, and most of the prairies have
been converted into the richest agricultural region on earth.
Crops grow well in the rich soil.
• Climate in grasslands vary depending on its location.
• Summers are warm and humid.
• Winters are cold but not to the extreme.
• The farther west and in the interior of the country, the
temperatures becomes drier.
• Moisture from the Pacific Ocean is blocked by the
mountains. This is where the short-grass prairies are
• Summers are hot and winters very cold.
• The amount of sunlight depends on the location of the
• Deciduous means falling off at maturity or
tending to fall off and is typically used in
reference to trees or shrubs that lose their
leaves seasonally and to the shedding of other
plant structures such as petals after flowering or
fruit when ripe.
• In a more specific sense deciduous means the
dropping of a part that is no longer needed, or
falling away after its purpose is finished. In
plants it is the result of natural processes.
Deciduous forest can be found in the Eastern part of North
America and the middle of Europe. Some major deciduous
forest are found in Russia, Japan, Eastern China, as well as
South America in Chile and Paraguay, New Zeeland and
southern Australia.
Sunlight: Although the canopy is moderately dense, it does
allow sunlight to reach the forest floor. This sunlight allows
plants in the other layers to grow.
Precipitation: The deciduous forest receives at least 50 cm of
rain per year to support the growth of tress and plants.
Temperature: The temperature in the deciduous forest varies
through out the year, and has four seasons, summer, spring,
winter, and fall. The temperature varies greatly through out
each season. The winter can reach below freezing and the
summers can reach up to the high 80's.
A desert is a landscape or region that receives
an extremely low amount of precipitation, less
than enough to support growth of most plants.
Deserts are defined as areas with an average
annual precipitation of less than 250 millimeters
(10 in) per year, or as areas where more water is
lost by evapotranspiration than falls as
• The desert is a place where people usually
describe it as hot and sandy.
• Most deserts are hot and sandy but there are a
few that have snow. What really makes a desert
is that it is dry.
• Not many animals can survive the desert but
there is life there.
• There is not much precipitation, less than 25
centimeters per year, but plants and animals
manage to make there homes there.
Temperature: The Desert temperature can be above 100
degrees Fahrenheit in the day and can be lower than 32
degrees Fahrenheit in the night.
Desert climate: In the desert it can be 100 degrees
Fahrenheit during the day and 32 degrees at night
because it is bare. Only some plants can survive in the
desert. The Cacti may have to go a couple of months with
out water maybe a year. And some other plants have long
roots to reach underground water sources.
Precipitation: The desert is an area that receives less than
25 centimeters a year. And in some parts it may not get
any rain.
Some facts about deserts:
• The deserts cover approximately 1/5 of the land surface
on the planet
Why hot deserts are cold at night?
Soon after the sun rises the temperature starts to
climb. In the heart of the Sahara where the average
rainfall is 0.7 (17mm) a year the nights can be cold. The
Sahara's latitude is 27.2 degrees north close to the
tropics, between Dec and Feb the temperature
occasionally falls below freezing at night.
• Dust devils and whirlwinds
Sandstorms appear on the horizon as a dark wall
towering to a great height. Dust devils are much smaller.
They give little warning but the are harmless and shortlived. Whirlwinds are terrifying. They leap from the
ground unpredictably and have the power to demolish
tents, take off doors from their hinges and hurl debris
that may injure people nearby.
• A dust storm or sandstorm is a meteorological
phenomenon common in arid and semi-arid regions.
Dust storms arise when a gust front blows loose sand
and dust from a dry surface.
Area (km²)
Area (mi²)
Antarctic Desert (Antarctica)
Sahara (Africa)
Arabian Desert (Middle East)
Gobi Desert (Asia)
Kalahari Desert (Africa)
Patagonian Desert (South America)
Great Victoria Desert (Australia)
Syrian Desert (Middle East)
Great Basin Desert (North America)
Rainforests are forests characterized by high
rainfall, with definitions setting minimum normal
annual rainfall between 1750–2000 mm (6878 inches). The monsoon trough, alternately
known as the intertropical convergence zone,
plays a significant role in creating Earth's tropical
rain forests.
There are two types of rainforest biomes temperate
and tropical rainforests.
There are two types of rainforest biomes:
temperate and tropical rainforests
• Tropical rainforests are found close to the equator.
• Temperate rainforests are found along coasts in the
temperate zone.
Precipitation and Climate
Both tropical and temperate rainforests are very lush and
wet. Rainfall falls regularly throughout the year. The tropical
rainforest receives 80-400 inches of rainfall per year. It rains
a lot in the temperate rainforest too -- about 100 inches per
year. And even more moisture comes from the coastal fog
that hovers among the trees.
Tropical rainforests are warm and moist; while temperate
rainforests are cool.
• Tropical rainforests have been called the "Earth's lungs,"
although it is now known that rainforests contribute little
net oxygen additions to the atmosphere through
• Tropical rainforests have been called the “Jewels of the
Earth", and the “ World's Largest Pharmacy", because
over one quarter of natural medicines have been
discovered there
Jungle refers to the dense, more or less impenetrable
tropical rainforest biome with an abundance of animal
and plant life. The term jungle is technically a synonym
to Tropical Rainforest. The word jungle originates from
the Sanskrit word jangala (जंगल) which referred to
uncultivated land.
Temperate rainforests are coniferous or
broadleaf forests that occur in the temperate zone
and receive high rainfall.
Number of tree
Types of leaves
Age of trees
50-100 years
lots of
different kinds mostly
mosses and
orchids and
few (10-20)
The emergent layer contains a small number of
very large trees called emergents, which grow
above the general canopy, reaching heights of
45–55 m, although on occasion a few species
will grow to 70–80 m tall. They need to be able
to withstand the hot temperatures and strong
winds in some areas. Eagles, butterflies, bats,
and certain monkeys inhabit this layer.
The canopy layer contains the majority of the
largest trees, typically 30–45 m tall. The
densest areas of biodiversity are found in the
forest canopy, a more or less continuous cover
of foliage formed by adjacent treetops.
The understory layer lies between the canopy
and the forest floor. The understory is home to
a number of birds, snakes, and lizards, as well
as predators. The leaves are much larger at
this level. Insect life is also abundant. Many
seedlings that will grow to the canopy level are
present in it. Only about 5% of the sunlight
shining on the rainforest reaches the
The forest floor, the bottom-most layer,
receives only 2% of sunlight. Only plants
adapted to low light can grow in this region.
Shrubland, scrubland, scrub or brush is a plant
community characterized by vegetation dominated by
shrubs, often also including grasses, herbs, and
geophytes. Shrubland may either occur naturally or be
the result of human activity.
Aquatic biomes
A pond is a body of standing water, either
natural or man-made, that is usually
smaller than a lake. A wide variety of manmade bodies of water are classified as
ponds, including water gardens, water
features and Koi ponds, etc.
The littoral zone refers to that part of a
sea, lake or river that is close to the shore.
In coastal environments the littoral zone
extends from the high water mark, which is
rarely inundated, to shoreline areas that
are permanently submerged.
• Kelp forests are underwater areas with a high
density of kelp. They are recognized as one of
the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on
Earth. Smaller areas of anchored kelp are called
kelp beds.
• Kelp forests occur worldwide throughout
temperate and polar coastal oceans. In 2007,
kelp forests were also discovered in tropical
waters near Ecuador.
Coral reefs are underwater structures
made from calcium carbonate secreted by
corals. Corals are colonies of tiny living
animals found in marine waters containing
few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built
from stony corals, and are formed by
polyps that live together in groups.
A strait or straits is a narrow, navigable
channel of water that connects two larger
navigable bodies of water. It most
commonly refers to a channel of water that
lies between two land masses.
Any water in the sea
that is not close to
the bottom or near
to the shore is in the
pelagic zone.
A mountain is a large landform that
stretches above the surrounding land in a
limited area usually in the form of a peak.
A mountain is generally steeper than a
hill. The adjective montane is used to
describe mountainous areas and things
associated with them. The study of
mountains is called Orography.
A hill is a landform that extends above the
surrounding terrain. Hills often have a
distinct summit, although in areas with
scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a
particular section of flat terrain without a
massive summit.
A plateau, also called a high plain or
tableland, is an area of highland, usually
consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly
eroded plateau is called a dissected
plateau. A volcanic plateau is a plateau
produced by volcanic activity.
A volcano is an opening, or rupture, in a
planet's surface or crust, which allows hot
magma, volcanic ash and gases to escape
from below the surface.
A valley or dale is a depression with
predominant extent in one direction. A very
deep river valley may be called a canyon
or gorge.
A plain is land with relatively low relief,
that is flat or gently rolling. Prairies and
steppes are types of plains, and the
archetype for a plain is often thought of as
a grassland.
An island or isle is any piece of subcontinental land that is surrounded by
water. Very small islands such as
emergent land features on atolls can be
called islets, cays or keys. An island in a
river or lake may be called an eyot (also
ait), or holm. A grouping of geographically
or geologically related islands is called an
Water Forms
A sea generally refers to a large body of
salt water, but the term is used in other
contexts as well. Most commonly, the term
refers to a large expanse of saline water
connected with an ocean, and is
commonly used as a synonym for ocean.
It is also used sometimes to describe a
large saline lake that lacks a natural outlet,
such as the Caspian Sea.
An ocean (from Greek Ὠκεανὸς,
"okeanos" Oceanus) is a major body of
saline water, and a principal component of
the hydrosphere. Approximately 70.9% of
the Earth's surface (~3.61 x 10 8 km 2) is
covered by ocean, a continuous body of
water that is customarily divided into
several principal oceans and smaller seas.
A lake is a body of relatively still fresh or
salt water of considerable size, localized in
a basin that is surrounded by land. Lakes
are inland and not part of the ocean, and
are larger and deeper than ponds.
A river is a natural watercourse, usually
freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a
lake, a sea, or another river. In a few
cases, a river simply flows into the ground
or dries up completely before reaching
another body of water. Small rivers may
also be called by several other names,
including stream, creek, brook, rivulet,
tributary and rill.
A waterfall is a place where flowing water
rapidly drops in elevation as it flows over a
steep region or a cliff.
Bays generally have calmer waters than
the surrounding sea, due to the
surrounding land blocking some waves
and often reducing winds. Bays also exist
as an inlet in a lake or pond. A large bay
may be called a gulf, a sea, a sound, or a
bight. A cove is a circular or oval coastal
inlet with a narrow entrance; some coves
may be referred to as bays.