A biome is a major geographical area of ecologically similar communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, often referred to as ecosystems. Biomes are defined based on factors such as plant structures (such as trees, shrubs, and grasses), leaf types (such as broadleaf and needleleaf), plant spacing (forest, woodland, savanna), and other factors like 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.

The biodiversity characteristic of each biome, especially the diversity of fauna and subdominant plant forms, is a function of abiotic factors and the biomass productivity of the dominant vegetation. Species diversity tends to be higher in terrestrial biomes with higher net primary productivity,eat out moisture availability, and temperature.[1]

Ecoregions are grouped into both biomes and ecozones.

A fundamental classification of biomes is into:
  1. Terrestrial (land) biomes and
  2. Aquatic (water) biomes.

Biomes are often given local names. For example, a Temperate grassland or shrubland biome is known commonly as steppe in central Asia, savanna or veldt in southern Africa, prairie in North America, pampa in South America and outback or scrub in Australia. Sometimes an entire biome may be targeted for protection, especially under an individual nation's Biodiversity Action Plan.

Climate is a major factor determining the distribution of terrestrial biomes. Among the important climatic factors are:
  • latitude: arctic, boreal, temperate, subtropical, tropical.
  • humidity: humid, semi-humid, semi-arid, and arid.
  • seasonal variation: rainfall may be distributed evenly throughout the year, or be marked by seasonal variations.
  • dry summer, wet winter: most regions of the earth receive most of their rainfall during the summer months; Mediterranean climate regions receive their rainfall during the winter months.
  • elevation: increasing elevation causes a distribution of habitat types similar to that of increasing latitude.
Biodiversity generally increases away from the poles towards the equator, and increases with humidity.

The most widely used systems of classifying biomes correspond to latitude (or temperature zoning) and humidity.

Udvardy system

In 1975, Miklos Udvardy published a system of biogeographic provinces that were divided into 12 terrestrial biomes:
  • Tropical humid forests
  • Subtropical and temperate rainforests or woodlands
  • Temperate broad-leaf forests or woodlands and subpolar deciduous thickets
  • Temperate needle-leaf forests or woodlands
  • Evergreen sclerophyllous forests, scrub, or woodlands
  • Tropical dry or deciduous forests (including Monsoon forests) or woodlands
  • Temperate grasslands
  • Warm deserts and semideserts
  • Cold-winter (continental) deserts and semideserts
  • Tundra communities and barren Arctic deserts
  • Mixed mountain and highland systems with complex zonation
  • Mixed island systems

Bailey system

Robert G. Bailey developed a biogeographical classification system for the United States in a map published in 1975. Bailey subsequently expanded the system to include the rest of North America in 1981, and the world in 1989. The Bailey system is based on climate, and is divided into four domains (Polar, Humid Temperate, Dry, and Humid Tropical), with further divisions based on other climate characteristics (subarctic, warm temperate, hot temperate, and subtropical, marine and continental, lowland and mountain).
  • 100 Polar Domain
  • 120 Tundra Division
  • M120 Tundra Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 130 Subarctic Division
  • M130 Subarctic Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 200 Humid Temperate Domain
  • 210 Warm Continental Division
  • M210 Warm Continental Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 220 Hot Continental Division
  • M220 Hot Continental Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 230 Subtropical Division
  • M230 Subtropical Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 240 Marine Division
  • M240 Marine Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 250 Prairie Division
  • 260 Mediterranean Division
  • M260 Mediterranean Division - Mountain Provinces
  • 300 Dry Domain
  • 310 Tropical/Subtropical Steppe Division
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WWF system

A team of biologists convened by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) developed an ecological land classification system that identified 14 biomes, called major habitat types, and further divided the world's land area into 825 terrestrial ecoregions. 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 as follows:

Freshwater biomes

WWF has several systems for classifying freshwater biomes, which vary somewhat:

Global 200 freshwater major habitat types

  • Large rivers
  • Large river headwaters
  • Large river deltas
  • Small rivers
  • Large lakes
  • Small lakes
  • Xeric basins

Freshwater major habitat types of Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Large Rivers
  • Large River Deltas
  • Montane Rivers and Streams
  • Wet-Region Rivers and Streams
  • Xeric-Region Rivers and Streams
  • Xeric-Region Endorheic (closed) Basins
  • Flooded Grasslands and Savannas
  • Cold Streams, Bogs, Swamps, and Mires
  • Large Lakes

Freshwater major habitat types of Africa and Madagascar

  • Closed basins and small lakes
  • Floodplains, swamps, and lakes
  • Moist forest rivers
  • Mediterranean systems
  • Highland and mountain systems
  • Island rivers and lakes
  • Large lakes
  • Large river deltas
  • Large river rapids
  • Savanna-dry forest rivers
  • Subterranean and spring systems
  • Xeric systems

Marine biomes

Global 200 marine major habitat types

  • Polar
  • Temperate shelves and seas
  • Temperate upwelling
  • Tropical upwelling
  • Tropical coral

Other marine habitat types

Other biomes

The Endolithic biome, consisting entirely of microscopic life in rock pores and cracks, kilometers beneath the surface, has only recently been discovered and does not fit well into most classification schemes.

See also

Terrestrial biomes
Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests  Tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests  Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests  Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests  Temperate coniferous forests  Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrub  Boreal forests/taiga  Mangrove  Tropical and subtropical grasslands, savannas, and shrublands  Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands  Flooded grasslands and savannas  Montane grasslands and shrublands  Deserts and xeric shrublands  Tundra
Afrotropic  Antarctic  Australasia  Indomalaya  Nearctic  Neotropic  Oceania  Palearctic


1. ^ Pidwirny, Michael (2006-10-16). "Biomes". Encyclopedia of Earth. Ed. Sidney Draggan. Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment. Retrieved on 2006-11-16. 

External links

In ecology, a community is an assemblage of populations of different species, interacting with one another.

The term is used in various ways with slight differences in meaning. Sometimes it is limited to specific places, times, or subsets of organisms.
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Haeckel, 1866[1]


Green algae
  • Chlorophyta
  • Charophyta
Land plants (embryophytes)
  • Non-vascular land plants (bryophytes)

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Soil biology is the study of microbial and faunal activity and ecology in soil. These organisms include earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, fungi and bacteria. Soil biology plays a vital role in determining many soil characteristics yet, being a relatively new science, much remains
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ecosystem is a natural unit consisting of all plants, animals and micro-organisms in an area functioning together with all the non-living physical factors of the environment.
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An ecozone or biogeographic realm is the largest scale biogeographic division of the earth's surface based on the historic and evolutionary distribution patterns of plants and animals.
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Ecological succession, a fundamental concept in ecology, refers to more-or-less predictable and orderly changes in the composition or structure of an ecological community. Succession may be initiated either by formation of new, unoccupied habitat (e.g.
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Climax vegetation is the vegetation which establishes itself on a given site for given climatic conditions in the absence of anthropic action after a long time (it is the asymptotic or quasi-equilibrium state of the local ecosystem).
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Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem, biome or for the entire Earth. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems.
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Haeckel, 1866[1]


Green algae
  • Chlorophyta
  • Charophyta
Land plants (embryophytes)
  • Non-vascular land plants (bryophytes)

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In biology, abiotic components are non-living chemical and physical factors in the environment. These may be classified as light, temperature, water, atmospheric gases, and wind as well as soil and animal (edaphic) and physiographic (nature of land surface) factors.
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biomass refers to the cumulation of life that is possibly living matter.[2] That is, it is the total living biologica (usually measured per square metre or square kilometre). This means that only 30% of the weight of any creature is counted, the rest being water.
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Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of a region; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants, and is, by far, the most abundant biotic element of the biosphere.
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Primary production is the production of organic compounds from atmospheric or aquatic carbon dioxide, principally through the process of photosynthesis, with chemosynthesis being much less important. All life on earth is directly or indirectly reliant on primary production.
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Ecohydrology is a new interdisciplinary area linking hydrology with ecological processes involved in the water cycle hydrological cycle. These processes generally occur within the water (rivers, lakes, groundwaters) or on land soil and plant foliage.
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trillion fold).]]

Temperature is a physical property of a system that underlies the common notions of hot and cold; something that is hotter generally has the greater temperature. Temperature is one of the principal parameters of thermodynamics.
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An ecoregion (ecological region), sometimes called a bioregion, is the next smallest ecologically and geographically defined area beneath "realm" or "ecozone". Ecoregions cover relatively large area of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct
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Temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands is a biome in which the climate is temperate and semi-arid to semi-humid.
  • temperature: warm to hot season (often with a cold to freezing season in winter)
  • soil: fertile with rich nutrients and minerals
  • plants: grass

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steppe (Russian: степь - [sʲtʲepʲ], Ukrainian: степ
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Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent. It covers 8.6% of the Earth's total surface area (or 29.4% of its land area) and, with almost 4 billion people, it contains more than 60% of the world's current human population.
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savanna or savannah is a tropical or subtropical woodland ecosystem. Savannas are characterised by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close.
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Veldt, refers primarily (but not exclusively) to the wide open rural spaces of South Africa or southern Africa and in particular to certain flatter areas or districts covered in grass or low scrub. The word comes from the Afrikaans (ultimately from Dutch), literally meaning 'field'.
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Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,545 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area, and 20.4% of the total land area.
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Prairie refers to an area of land of low topographic relief that historically supported grasses and herbs, with few trees, and having generally a mesic (moderate or temperate) climate.

In North America

Lands typically referred to as "prairie" tend to be in North America.
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North America is a continent [1] in the Earth's northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west
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Pampas (from Quechua, meaning "plain") are the fertile South American lowlands that include the Argentine provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa, Santa Fe, and Córdoba, most of Uruguay, and the southernmost end of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, covering more than 750,000 km² (290,000
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South America is a continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie
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Outback refers to remote and arid areas of Australia, although the term colloquially can refer to any lands outside of the main urban areas. The term "outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas deemed "the bush".
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Scrubland is plant community characterized by scrub vegetation. "Scrub" consists of low shrubs, mixed with grasses, herbs, and geophytes. Scrublands are sometimes known as heathlands. Scrublands may be either naturally occurring or the result of human activity.
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Advance Australia Fair [1]

Capital Canberra

Largest city Sydney
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