Composting is the controlled biological decomposition and pasteurization of organic materials under aerobic conditions— it involves the action of mesophilic microorganisms...
Atacama DesertLast Updated on 2014-04-23 19:10:09
The Atacama Desert is an irregular elongated strip of desert along the northwest coast of Chile, essentially bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west. It extends nearly 1600 kilometres (km) and reaches a maximum width of 180 km. In many areas rainfall has never been recorded, and the Atacama is considered one of the driest deserts in the world. Consequently, an extremely arid, almost barren, landscape predominates. Despite the aridity of this desert, some cacti (Eulychnia), perennials (Nolana), and mesquite (Prosopis) occur in basins where occasional water accumulation occurs. Relatively few animal species have adapted to this arid environment and therefore, faunal diversity and density is extremely low. Even bacteria are scarce, and in many portions of the desert insects and fungi are absent. The intrinsic value of the Atacama Desert's plant and animal communities lies in the... More »
Araya and Paria xeric scrubLast Updated on 2014-04-23 19:03:32
Included in the large coastal area of the Caribbean, the Araya-Paria xeric scrub ecoregion occupies the arid zones of Araya-Paria peninsula, with the exception of the montane areas of the Paria side. The montane areas of Paria are included in the Cordillera de la Costa ecoregion. Aria-Paria also includes the island of Margarita (all except the mangroves), and extends south on to the mainland to Cumaná. The Araya-Paria xeric scrub ecoregion is characterized by very dry environments, and constitutes one of the last refuges for a number of rare and restricted-range animal species.
Oriented from east to west, the island of Margarita is located at 38 kilometers (km) north of Araya peninsula and has a total area of 934 square kilometers (km2). The island is made up of two regions joined by an isthmus. The eastern part is the larger, where there is a massive mountain center... More »
Orinoco wetlandsLast Updated on 2014-04-23 18:36:53
The Orinoco Delta (nationally recognized as Delta Amacuro State), has been formed by the sediment deposited by the Orinoco River through thousands of years. The Orinoco wetlands ecoregion consists of several large and small patches of flooded grasslands, which occur in a habitat mosaic with swamp forests and mangroves. This ecoregion is both a globally important wetland, and a critical habitat to a number of endangered species. Despite its importance, relatively little is know about the region. Threats to the area are increasing as water diversion and damming, oil drilling, and human populations increase.
The Orinoco wetlands are flooded grassland occurring in seven distinct patches, which are embedded in a mosaic of mangroves, swamp forest, moist forest, and llanos. The ecoregion is located in the north of the delta of the Orinoco River- the second largest river in the... More »
Central Mexican wetlandsLast Updated on 2014-04-23 18:20:54
This flooded grassland in central Mexico is characterized by aquatic vegetation such as Typha, and Cyperus. This ecoregion is an extremely important habitat for avifauna, more than two hundred species are found here. The entire area is considered an Endemic Bird Area; endemic species include the black-polled yellowthroat and yellow rail. The area also serves as a stopover for migrating birds. Much of the habitat remains intact although, deforestation of surrounding forest has lead to problems with erosion, which causes high sedimentation rates and an increase in salinity.
The Central Mexican wetlands are a small set of lakes, rivers, and associated marshes and wetlands located in the middle of the rugged mountain range known as the trans-volcanic belt. Intense volcanic activity in the tertiary fragmented the Lerma-Santiago basin creating several lakes. In spite of their... More »
Clipperton Island shrub and grasslandsLast Updated on 2014-04-23 18:04:44
Clipperton Island, which is at times referred to as Ile de la Passion, was named after a pirate and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Republic of French Polynesia. A circular atoll with a completely enclosed lagoon, Clipperton is one of the less disturbed islands in the Pacific. Its lagoon is one of the most outstanding models of biological, biochemical, and geological processes in existence. Clipperton also serves as the sole nesting site for seabirds within several thousand square kilometers. Phosphate was mined on the island until 1917, and a small settlement impacted the island's ecosystems to some extent. Now uninhabited, it is hoped that the small island and its coral reef will be designated for protection as a scientific research site.
Clipperton Island (10°17’ N 109°13’ W) is the only coral island, or atoll, in the eastern Pacific. It... More »
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