Revision World – global distribution of biomes
Global ecosystems are known as biomes. The dominant type of vegetation cover usually defines a biome. On a global scale, climate is the main factor which influences the distribution and characteristics of natural vegetation cover. This is because climate affects the growth conditions for vegetation:
- temperature – especially the seasonal pattern and length of the growing season.
- precipitation – particularly the total amount and how it’s distributed throughout the year.
- hours of sunshine – which determines the amount of light available for photosynthesis.
- rates of evaporation, transpiration and humidity.
- Tropical rainforests are found close to the Equator within the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (23.5° north and south of the Equator).
- Hot desert ecosystems are found between 5° and 30° north and south of the Equator near the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
- Tropical grasslands (savannah) are located between the latitudes of 5° and 30° north and south of the Equator, within central parts of continents.
- Temperate grasslands lie in the centre of continents, between the latitudes of around 40° – 60° north of the Equator .
- Deciduous forests are in temperate latitudes; they are located further north. They form the natural vegetation cover not only for the UK, but also over much of western and central Europe.
- Polar regions are found towards the north and south pole above the Arctic and Antarctic cirlces (66° north and south).
- Coral reefs are found within 30 north and south of the Equator in tropical and sub-tropical oceans close to the coast.