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Biomes

Biomes are the composite of all species within a large scale ecological community. In the natural environment, these assemblies have typically co-evolved, so that they have a natural arrangement in terms of their positioning to compete for sunlight, water and nutrient resources; in some cases these associations are symbiotic, but in most cases they are simply optimal spatial arrangements to take advantage of all the resources available in a given habitat. For example, there is typically a vertical tiering, where plants of differing light requirements can occupy canopy, mid-level or forest floor niches; the same theory applies even in a grassland, where the canopy is simply the tallest of the grasses or herbs.

In the case of water competition, depth of rooting and tolerance to arid soils are chief determinants for spatial arrangement; as far as nutrient competition, plants will compete to determine the most robust competitor for a given edaphic niche. While the outcome geometry for the plant palette usually appears random, there is a complex network of ecological theory at work that determines the layout of the assembled community. The same concept applies to aquatic communities as to terrestrial systems, with some plants having immersed roots and others, either macrophytes or phytoplankton, floating or immersed at varying levels suitable for their sunlight needs.

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Recently Updated
Sumatran peat swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-17 18:22:46 The Sumatran peat swamp forests are a distinctive forest type, and their biodiversity is characteristic of the associated habitat. The peat swamp forests in Indonesia are less threatened than the freshwater swamp forests. This is partly because of their low nutrient levels, which limit the productivity of their vegetation, including agricultural crops. However, despite their poor productivity in the past five years, significant areas of peat swamp forests have been burned in Indonesia, and less than one-half of these forests remain. This ecoregion represents the peat swamp forests along the eastern coast of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, as well as the Riau archipelago. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet climate zone. The peat swamp forests of Sumatra have similar characteristics to those in Borneo and Peninsular Malaysia.... More »
Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-17 14:55:54 The Southwest Borneo freshwater swamp forests can range in species diversity from numbers rivaling those of neighboring lowland rainforests to single-species forest stands of the Mallotus tree. Many of the animals that use lowland rain forest also use freshwater swamp forest, including all monkey and ape species. Like all other freshwater swamps found in the Indo-Pacific region, this ecoregion has been intensively converted to agricultural and plantation lands. Further protection is urgently needed to stem the loss of this ecoregion's native vegetation. This ecoregion is made up of the freshwater swamp forests in Kalimantan. These forests are located just inland from the southwestern coast, with a few small areas towards the center of the island. They are associated with coastal swamps, inland lakes, and low-lying river basins. Based on the Köppen climate zone system,... More »
Peninsular Malaysian peat swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-17 14:18:52 The Peninsular Malaysian peat swamp forests, though not as diverse in species as the surrounding lowland rainforests, are home to many of Malaysia's endangered species. Asian elephants, Sumatran rhinoceros, tigers, clouded leopards, and Malayan tapir are examples of threatened species that inhabit these rapidly shrinking forests. This ecoregion represents the disjunct peat swamp forests in Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet climate zone. The peat swamp forests of peninsular Malaysia have edaphic and vegetative characteristics similar to those in Sumatra and Borneo. The soil is infertile and primarily organic matter. Peat deposits found behind mangroves are recent in origin. They are formed when rivers drain into the inland edge of a mangrove and trap the sediments within their... More »
Peninsular Malaysian montane rainforests Last Updated on 2014-04-17 14:10:17 The Peninsular Malaysian montane rainforests are one of the last refuges for several of Asia's large characteristic species. These forests still support tigers, Asian elephants, gaur, tapirs, Sumatran rhinoceros, and the spectacular and endemic crested argus. Taman Negara Nature Reserve in central Peninsular Malaysia is one of the largest reserves within the Indo-Pacific region and provides a critical montane refuge and linkage area to the lowland forests. This ecoregion is made up of the montane moist forests in Peninsular Malaysia and southernmost Thailand. There are no clear seasons in Peninsular Malaysia, and rainfall is plentiful year-around. Two monsoons inundate the region. From October to March a northeastern monsoon brings extra rain to the eastern side of Peninsular Malaysia. The southwest monsoon, which is more powerful, bathes the western side of peninsular... More »
Borneo peat swamp forests Last Updated on 2014-04-15 17:45:53 Although the Borneo peat swamp forests are not as biodiverse as neighbouring lowland rainforests, the Borneo Peat Swamp Forests are some of the most speciose peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia. Peat swamp forests are a key habitat for the unique endangered Borneo endemic proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus). They are also home to the world's most desirable aquarium fish, the arowana (Scleropages formosus). This ecoregion is made up of the peat swamp forests along the western coasts of the island of Borneo, within the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Indonesian Kalimantan. Most of the peat swamp forests are associated with coastal areas, but two large areas of peat swamp forests occur around Lake Mahakam and Lake Kapuas. Based on the Köppen climate zone system, this ecoregion falls in the tropical wet climate zone. The peat swamp forests of Borneo have vegetative and... More »