Meaning of Natural Vegetation: Natural vegetation refers to a plant community which has grown naturally without human aid and has been left undisturbed by humans for a long time.

Thus, cultivated crops and fruits, orchards form part of vegetation but not natural vegetation.

The type and thickness of natural vegetation varies from place to place because of the variation in these factors. Natural vegetation is generally classified in to three broad categories as follows:

(a) Forests: Which grow where temperature and rainfall are plentiful to support a tree cover. Depending upon these factors, dense and open forests are grown.
(b) Grasslands: Which grow in the region of moderate rain.
(c) Desert Shrubs: Thorny shrubs and scrubs grow in the dry

 

Factors affecting the natural vegetation and wildlife:

1. Rainfall & Temperature
2. Relief
3. Soil & its fertility
4. Slope of land
5. Sunshine
6. Drainage

 

Types of Natural Vegetations:

 

FORESTS

Tropical Rainforests:
These forests are also called Tropical Evergreen.

Location:

  • Forests found near the Equator (10° North to 10° South) in Amazon & Zaire Basin and Southeast Asia.

Climate:

  • These regions are hot and receive heavy rainfall throughout the year.

Characteristics:

  • As there is no particular dry season, the trees do not shed their leaves altogether. This is the reason they are called evergreen.
  • Maximum varieties of trees are found. Trees are tall with large trunks.
  • The thick canopies of the closely spaced trees do not allow the sunlight to penetrate inside the forest even in the day time. Thus, grass is not found in these forests.
  • Hardwood trees like rosewood, teak, sal, ebony, and mahogany are the common trees found here.
  • Here the population found is very less. Due to dense forests commercial exploitation of these forests has not be possible, making them economically backward.

Wildlife:

  • Large variety and most colourful animals are found here.
  • Monkey, Ape, Birds, Hippopotamus, snake, python, Frog, Crocodile, etc. Anaconda, world's largest snake is also found in these areas.

 

Tropical Deciduous Forests:
These forests are also called Monsoon Forests.

Location:

  • Forests found in large part of India, Northern Australia and in Central America.

Climate:

  • These regions are warm and receive rainfall less than 200 cms.

Characteristics:

  • These regions experience seasonal changes. Trees shed their leaves in the dry season to conserve water.
  • Trees like sandalwood, teak, sal, ebony, bamboo, etc. are the common trees found here.
  • Forests are not very dense thus; commercial exploitation of these forests is possible.

Wildlife:

  • Tigers, lions, elephants, langoors and monkeys are the common animals of these regions.

 

Temperate Evergreen Forests:

  • These forests are also called Mixed Forests.

Location:

  • Forests found in South-eastern parts of USA, Australia, Brazil and China.

Climate:

  • These regions have cool winters and receive rainfall throughout the year.

Characteristics:

  • They comprise both hard and soft wood trees like oak, pine, eucalyptus, etc.
  • They look like Tropical Forest in thickness and variety.
  • Timber (wood) from these forests is used for commercial purpose.

Wildlife:

  • Deer, Wolves, Bears, Wild Boar, Foxes, Squirrels, Badgers, Skunks, Owls, Finches, etc. are the common animals of these regions.

 

Temperate Deciduous Forests:
Location:

  • As we go towards higher latitudes, there are more temperate deciduous forests. These are found in the north eastern part of USA, China, Japan, New Zealand, etc.

Climate:

  • These regions have cool winters and receive moderate rainfall.

Characteristics:

  • Trees shed their leaves in autumn season and remain leafless through winters.
  • The common trees are oak, ash, beech, etc.
  • Forests are not very dense thus; commercial exploitation of these forests is possible.

Wildlife:

  • Deer, foxes, wolves are the animals commonly found. Birds like pheasants, monals are also found here.

 

Mediterranean Forests:

 Location:

  • Found in areas around Mediterranean Sea, Central Chile, South-West USA, Australia, Africa.

Climate:

  • These regions have hot & dry summers and mild & wet winters.

Characteristics:

  • Mediterranean trees adapt themselves to dry summers with the help of their thick barks and wax coated leaves which help them reduce transpiration. Also, here the plants have long tap roots to reach underground water, called "Xerophytic Plants".
  • Mediterranean regions are known as 'Orchards of the world' for their fruit cultivation.
    Citrus fruits such as oranges, figs, olives and grapes are commonly cultivated here because people have removed the natural vegetation in order to cultivate what they want to.

Wildlife:

  • There isn't much wildlife here.

 

Coniferous Forests:
These forests are also called "Taiga Forest".

Location:

  • Found in the higher latitudes (50° – 70°) of Northern hemisphere.

Climate:

  • These regions have cool & short summers and cold & long winters. These forests are also seen in the higher altitudes. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia and Canada.

Characteristics:

  • Forests consist of tall, softwood evergreen trees.
  • Limited species of trees are found. These trees are evergreen and grow apart from each other.
  • Trees are conical shaped with needle shaped leaves and trees are found in large groups.
  • Chir, pine, cedar are the important variety of trees in these forests. Lumbering is the common activity. Soft wood is used for manufacturing paper.

Wildlife:

  • Fur-bearing animals like Silver fox, mink, and polar bear are the common animals found here.

 

GRASSLANDS

Tropical Grasslands:

 These grasslands are also known as "Savannas in Africa" and "Campos in Brazil".

Location:

  • Found within Tropical zone (i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn).

Climate:

  • These regions have hot & long summers and mild & short winters. Receives light rainfall in summers.

Characteristics:

  • The grass can grow very tall, about 3 to 4 metres in height, which is also known as "Elephant Grass".
  • Near river banks and water holes trees are found, which are deciduous in nature, e.g. Acacia, baobab, etc.
  • Climatic conditions in these grasslands do not support rich agriculture and animal rearing. Economically, these grasslands are backward.

Wildlife:

  • Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras, etc. are the species of animals found here. Birds like Ostrich, Emu, Cassowary, etc. can also be seen.

 

Temperate Grasslands:

These grasslands are also known as "Prairies in North America", "Pampas in South America", "Downs in Australia", "Velds in South Africa" and "Steppes in Europe".

Location:

  • These are found in the mid- latitudinal zones and in the interior part of the continents. Central Asia from Black Sea to Central Russia, North Central USA and Southern Canada, South-East Australia and Southern Africa, Argentina.

Climate:

  • These regions have warm & moist summers and cold & snowy winters.

Characteristics:

  • The grass found here is short and juicy, which is suitable for cattle feed.
  • Maize and wheat are grown in large amount, that's why this area is also known as "Bread Basket" of world.

Wildlife:

  • Herbivores like Wild Ass, Antelopes, and Horses. Kangaroos in Australia. Carnivores like Rodents and Reptiles are also found.

 

DESERTIC SCRUBS

Tropical Deserts:

Location:

  • Located on the western margins of the continents between 15° – 30° North & South of Equator. Biggest desert, Sahara in North Africa is hot desert while Ladakh in India is cold desert.

Climate:

  • These regions have hot & dry summers and receive very less rainfall.

Characteristics:

  • Plants found are very less with succulent stems, long roots and leaves are reduced to spines.
  • Nature has been very kind, at some places "Oasis" is found in deserts with palm trees surrounding them.

Wildlife:

  • Camel is the most common animal found in these deserts. Wild Yak, Hyena, Scorpion, fox, jackal, etc. are also found.

 

Tundra Regions:

Location:

  • Tundra means barren land. Located in North Canada, North Russia, North Sweden and Finland islands in Arctic Ocean.

Climate:

  • These regions have long & very cold winters and very short and cold summers.
  • Land is always frozen

Characteristics:

  • Trees are not found; as trees don't grow below 10° C. Very less vegetation is found.
  • Mosses, Lichens and some shrubs grow here.
  • Economically underdeveloped.

Wildlife:

  • Most common animal found in these area are Penguins, Polar Bears, Musk, Ox, Wolf, etc.

 

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