An ecoregion is a contiguous area characterized by well defined similarity in flora and fauna as well as geomorphology, climate and soils; ecoregions are generally relatively large geographic units on the order of 50,000 square kilometers or more. Ecoregions may be terrestrial or marine, and do not recognize any political boundaries or landscape alterations by humans. Generally an ecoregion is depicted by a geographic descriptor coupled with a biome identity, further articulating one or more specific climatic or dominant plant community appellations: for example, Chilean Mattoral or Madagascar Dry Deciduous Forests.
There are several alternative formal naming schemes for the Earth's ecoregions; one of the most widely used, developed by the World Wildlife Foundation, recognizes 867 separate ecoregions. Because of the very large scale of an ecoregion, the landscape is not monolithic, but may have pockets of ecological diversity; however, the ecoregion is defined by its preponderant vegetative, geological and meteorological composition. Correspondingly boundaries between regions are sometimes diffuse, resulting in a broad ecotone.
The Patagonian steppe ecoregion extends approximately from the mid-Andean Precordillera southward, terminating immediately north of the Strait of Magellan near the Rio Gallegos....
Arizona Mountains forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-10 10:46:49
The Arizona Mountain Forests extend from the Kaibab Plateau in northern Arizona to south of the Mogollon Plateau into portions of southwestern Mexico and eastern Arizona. This ecoregion is an element of the Temperate Coniferous Forests biome. The species richness in this ecoregion is moderate, with vertebrate taxa numbering 375 species. The topography consists chiefly of steep foothills and mountains, but includes some deeply dissected high plateaus. Elevations range from 1370 to 3000 meters (m) with some peaks as high as 3840 m. Soil types have not been well defined; however, most soils are entisols, with alfisols and inceptisols in upland areas. Stony terrain and rock outcrops occupy large areas on the mountains and foothills.
Vegetation zones in this ecoregion resemble the Rocky Mountain Life Zones but at higher elevations. Although forests in this ecoregion are too far south to... More »
Chihuahuan DesertLast Updated on 2013-12-06 23:07:07The Chihuahuan Desert encompasses one of the most biologically diverse arid regions on Earth. This ecoregion extends from within the United States south into Mexico. This desert is unique, as it has been sheltered from the influence of other arid regions such as the Sonoran Desert by the large mountain ranges of the Sierra Madres. This isolation has allowed the evolution of many endemic species; most notable is the high number of endemic plants; in fact, there are a total of 653 vertebrate taxa recorded in the Chihuahuan Desert. Moreover, this ecoregion also sustains some of the last extant populations of Mexican Prairie Dog, wild American Bison and Pronghorn Antelope.
Severe conservation pressures are on the Chihuahuan Desert. On the Mexico side, there are destructive activities from illegal poaching, habitat destruction from illegal drug trafficking and large scale movements of... More »
Sonoran DesertLast Updated on 2013-12-06 15:53:38The Sonoran Desert covers approximately 200,000 square miles (520,000 square kilometers), including about 100,000 square miles of land, and often defined to also cover around 100,000 square miles of sea; moreover, the Sonoran comprises much of the state of Sonora, Mexico, most of the southern half of the USA states of Arizona, southeastern California, most of the Baja California peninsula, and the numerous islands of the Gulf of California. Its southern third straddles 30° north latitude and is a horse latitudeA horse latitude is a subtropical latitude between 30 and 35 degrees both north and south. desert; the rest is rainshadow desert. It is lush in comparison to most other deserts. There is a moderate diversity of faunal organisms present, with 550 distinct vertebrate species having been recorded here.
The Sonoran Desert can be divided into seven subdivisions based on... More »
California coastal sage and chaparralLast Updated on 2013-12-05 20:18:34
The California coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion, located along the southern and central coast of California, has extremely high levels of species diversity and endemism. The coastal sage scrub is an endangered ecosystem that contains a number of endangered species. The California Gnatcatcher is currently being used as an umbrella species to protect the endemic flora and fauna of this region from urban development. The region is listed as an Endemic Bird Area with a large number of endemic scrub species. Generally located on high value coastal zone real estate and threatened by land development, the ecoregion represents the struggle between ecological preservation and human development.
The California coastal sage and chaparral encompasses coastal terraces, plains, and foothills along the Pacific coast of northwestern Mexico and southern California, USA. The Santa Rosa Mountains... More »
Cuban moist forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-05 19:18:08The Cuban moist forests originally held exceptionally distinctive insular flora and fauna, with many species, genera and families unique to its forests in the form of relict taxons. The island’s long-standing isolation has made it possible for these relict taxons to speciate, and many unique groups have also diversified. Many of the old lines that survive in these forests are extinct on the nearby continents. The rich flora and diverse fauna should be pointed out, particularly land snails. At present, these forests are mostly destroyed and fragmented. Expansion in the production of cacao, coffee and tobacco as well as mining and other human activities represent a serious threat in some areas.
Originally, this ecoregion was distributed in multiple patches of different sizes along the ranges and highlands of the island of Cuba (located between 19º50’N to... More »
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