It is important to know the inter-relationship between each of these elements in a biome. A change in one affects the other directly or indirectly. Scientists argue on the exact number, or different types of biomes in existence but they are commonly classified as grasslands, forests, deserts, aquatic and tundra.
Major biome types
is about the world's major biomes. See the featured websites, the essential reading. There is a map of the world's major biomes. This site explains in simple terms what distinguishes one biome from the other. For example a desert may have an unusual amount of vegetation and wildlife but not enough to be classified as grassland.
Why organize natural world into biomes?
To understand why biomes are classified the way they are, you should know what characterizes a biome. Biomes (bioclimatic zones) are appropriate divisions by which to organize the natural world, because the organisms that live in each of them possess common constellations of adaptations to them, in particular to the climate of each of the zones and to the characteristic vegetation types that develop in them.
All the elements of a biome exist in some meaningful relationship with each other, and change in one say the habitat, leads to a change in the biome.
The original hunter/gatherer populations had relatively little effect on the environment, but with population increase, they have hunted out substantial proportion of large animals, and caused habitat destruction by small-scale slash-and-burn agriculture and large-scale land clearing for ranching and farming.
Explore different biomes
Visit the NASA site
to explore different biomes. Different scientists classify biomes in different ways. This site, for example lists Tundra, Coniferous Forests, Grasslands, Shrublands, Rainforests, Temperate Deciduous Forests and Deserts as biomes. What it highlights is the distinguishing feature of each of these biomes.
For example, it says that the desert only gets 10 percent of the rain that a rainforest gets! The site has links to other educational sites that show examples of different biomes, such as the Desert Life in the American Northwest. It also has interesting activities like matching precipitation graphs with locations and matching different plant life with the right biome.
A closer look at Desert biome
Deserts seem to be the most inhospitable biome for humans but humans have been able to adapt to desert life for hundreds of years. As long as traditional lifestyles remained in effect, the human impact on the desert was not severe. Desert dwellers understood the need to maintain balance between themselves and their environment.
With rapid population growth and firearms, animals were hunted down. Several popular desert plants such as cacti, and animals such as lizards, are sold at high prices to collectors. Many of these species are threatened as a result. Desertification continues at a fast rate. Visit this page
to know how humans adapt to desert life and how human life and activity affects the desert. Read how oil drilling, hunting, irrigation changed the face of the desert in different areas of the planet.
Conservation and preservation of biomes
Biomes have changed many times during the history of life on Earth. Different biomes have different effect on the planet. The world's oceans have an even greater effect on global climate than forests do. More recently, human activities have drastically altered these communities.
Thus, conservation and preservation of biomes should be a major concern to all. We must understand how human activity affects these biomes. Aquatic biomes are the most valuable and they are also more threatened by pollution.
Visit this website
for information on all these aspects.