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.
The Iberian sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forests support a complex and diverse flora with a notable number of endemic species. This vegetation is very valuable in terms...
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 »
Costa Rican seasonal moist forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-05 17:53:35The Costa Rican seasonal moist forests ecoregion is quite different from the surrounding dry and moist forest habitat types. Deciduous trees that shed leaves during the distinct dry season make up the dominant vegetation in these forests. The ecoregion fauna have a moderate species richness, with the number of vertebrates occurring here amounting to 698 taxa; however, faunal endemism is rather low. The flora are more adapted and capable of surviving in such a seasonally based ecoregion. Animals also are adapted to this fluctuation between wet and dry climate changes, and the subsequent changes in the plantlife.
The natural environment of this ecoregion has been substantially destroyed, chiefly by deforestation by the Costa Rican and Nicaraguan people, to clear land for grazing of livestock and other agricultural uses. Disruption to the Nicaragua portion of the ecoregion has also... More »
Gulf of California xeric scrubLast Updated on 2013-12-04 16:26:07
The Gulf of California xeric scrub ecoregion is situated along the eastern coastal zone and Gulf of California versanta region of land sloping in one general direction of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico, and is delineated by the spine of the La Giganta Sierra Mountains. This ecoregion, located entirely within the nation of Mexico, is classified within the Deserts and Xeric Scrublands biome. Species richness of plants is high in the ecoregion, but modest for fauna; however, endemism is high in this arid habitat, which receives some of the lowest precipitation in all of Mexico.
There are a total of 341 vertebrate species present in the ecoregion. Twenty genera of plants, nine species of the herpetofauna, twelve species of mammal, and two species of avifauna are endemic to this region. Reptilian endemism is particularly notable, with some lizard taxa of highly restricted occurrence... More »
Sierra de la Laguna dry forestsLast Updated on 2013-12-03 15:31:09
Located at the southern end of the Baja California Peninsula in Mexico, the Sierra de la Laguna dry forests ecoregion was once an isolated island, containing a large number of endemic species. After sufficient mountain uplift and the joining the Baja Peninsula mainland, this ecoregion underwent significant speciation, and is thus today high in species diversity; this portion of the peninsula contains the majority of the species found in the southern part of the Baja Peninsula. The Sierra de la Laguna dry forest is a subtropical dry forest classified within the Tropical and Subtropical Broadleaf Forests biome; the ecoregion is threatened by overgrazing from domestic cattle and the hunting by humans. Designated as a Protected Natural Area (PNA), this important ecoregion is at risk from habitat fragmentation.
This ecoregion is contained in a larger geographic unit known as the Cape... More »
Baja California DesertLast Updated on 2013-11-29 12:57:36
The Baja California Desert ecoregion, located on most of the western side of the Baja Peninsula, contains varied habitats such as mountains, plains and coastal dunes. This desert is one of the largest and best preserved in Mexico, and due to its isolation, contains a high level of species richness and endemism. The largest protected area in Mexico is located within this ecoregion, providing habitat for a number of endemic species such as the San Quintín Kangaroo Rat, Baja California Rock Squirrel, as well as a plethora of spider, scorpion and bee species. Unfortunately, intensive cattle ranging and unregulated hunting have taken its toll on much of the original natural environment.
The Baja California Desert ecoregion occurs on the western portion of the Baja California peninsula, and occupies most of the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Baja California... More »
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