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A Montage of Biome Types
Life on the Earth's surface is widely distributed and proliferates in many climatic conditions; it lives in the dense, warm jungles of Africa, the flat, balmy plains of Argentina, and the cold, mountainous regions of northwestern Canada. Each of these places have their own distinct variations of climate, terrain and soils. It is these major factors that dictate what kinds of plants grow, in what quantites, and for how long out of the year. Since plants are so important in the food chain for all higher life forms, it is not surprising to learn that the types and amounts of fauna present in a particular place are largely determined by the distribution, variety, characteristics and health of the resident flora. Since plants are such an easily identifiable feature on any landscape, biogeographers categorize regions of the land surface of the Earth into general regions defined by dominant plant families. These biomes are grouped into forests, grasslands, shrublands, tundras, savannas, and deserts. Scientists study biomes to better understand their biodiversity and the impacts that affect their stability, as well as observing the role (or niche) an organism has in its community.
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A Map of Earth's Prominent Biomes
Earth's biomes are closely correlated to the type of climate experienced there. Areas that receive on average large amounts of rainfall (such as the Indonesian islands or central Africa) and warm climates tend to have lush, green forests and wide biodiversity; these biomes are outlined in green on the above map. In contrast, hot, sub-tropical areas with little rainfall (such as northern Africa, central Asia, and west-central Australia) containing sparse vegetation, appear as yellow on the map. Notice the similar arrangements of the biomes for the east coasts of Asia and North America, the symmetry of biome types centered on the Equator through the African continent, and the band of boreal forests that only exist as large areas in the Northern Hemisphere.

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