What are the types of vegetation
As stated, vegetation zones and climatic zones on earth are largely congruent. Research into the vegetation of different continents has a long tradition. The first research phase was all about determining the distribution of plants depending on climatic, geological and geographical factors. Such studies can be considered largely completed. Today the following issues are the focus of interest:
We have repeatedly dealt with problems in the first set of questions. Regarding the problem of ecosystem services on a global level, reference is made to data not presented here (H. LIETH, 1974). The main biomass production of terrestrial ecosystems is in the tropics, it is lowest in desert regions and in most of the oceans.
In contrast to terrestrial ecosystems, the main productivity areas in the oceans are not in warm, but rather in cold zones. The most important groups of organisms that contribute to this are the dinoflagellates and the diatoms.
The species composition in the individual regions of the world does not only depend on the climate, but also largely on geological development, geological conditions and the resulting isolation barriers. It therefore makes sense to subdivide the vegetation into a number of flora kingdoms:
It is the largest, but least independent, flora area. It hardly contains any endemic families (only existing or originating here). Species-rich flora occur only in East Asia, in the southwest of North America and in the Mediterranean regions. That is, in those areas of Eurasia and North America that were spared from the Quaternary glaciation and that always had a relatively warm climate.
extremely low in species (lichens, algae)
This flora kingdom includes South and Central America, is characterized by an unrestricted flora development and is home to numerous endemic species (families). Characteristic families are Bromeliaceae and Cactaceae.
The tropics of the old world. There are also many independent families and genera here.
Includes a number of Pacific islands in addition to Australia and New Guinea. It is largely independent floristically. The genus Eucalyptus (600 species) only occurred here before the colonization of Australia by Europeans. Transplant experiments have shown that many of the species can also thrive in various other places on earth.
The smallest flora kingdom, closely connected to the Palaeotropis, on the southern tip of Africa. Numerous endemic species are typical.
The vegetation of the land areas can be roughly divided into forests and treeless regions. The forests take up about 30 percent of the area. The history of their origins and distribution depends on the major climate. The individual forest types are therefore eponymous for the majority of the vegetation zones. Forests can only emerge where there is abundant rainfall at least for one period that recurs annually or where there is a sufficiently high groundwater level. They cannot stay below certain annual average temperatures or below certain minimum temperatures. Different values play a role depending on the type of forest. The existence of forests creates an independent local climate; the humidity within the forests is higher, the temperature fluctuations are lower, and the wind effect is weakened. Mostly they are characterized by a more or less closed canopy. In many cases, a clear vertical stratification of vegetation can be seen. A distinction can be made between eight types of forest. Deails see also:
- Tropical rainforests, including montane rainforests.
- Tropical forests in zones with alternating dry and rainy seasons. Deciduous tropical forests.
- Forests in warm and temperate zones; temperate rainforests.
- Forests in foggy zones of subtropical mountains.
- Evergreen hardwood forests in arid areas with winter rains.
- Deciduous and mixed forests in the temperate zones.
- Coniferous forests of the boreal zone (taiga) and the high mountains.
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