10 Facts About Land Biomes

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10 Facts About Land Biomes

Rain forest
Most plant and animal species live in the rain forest biome. John Lund/Stephanie Roeser/Blend Images/Getty Images

10 Facts About Land Biomes

Land biomes are the world's major land habitats. These biomes support life on the planet, influence weather patterns, and help to regulate temperature. Some biomes are characterized by extremely cold temperatures and treeless, frozen landscapes. Others are characterized by dense vegetation, seasonally warm temperatures, and abundant rainfall. The animals and plants in a biome have adaptations that are suited for their environment. Destructive changes that occur in an ecosystem disrupt food chains and could lead to the endangerment or extinction of an organism. As such, biome conservation is vital to the preservation of plant and animal species. Did you know that it actually snows in some deserts? Discover 10 interesting facts about land biomes.

1. Most plant and animal species live in the rain forest biome.

Rain forests are home to the majority of plant and animal species in the world. Rain forest biomes, which include temperate and tropical rain forests, can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

2. Rain forest plants help in the fight against cancer.

Rain forests supply 70% of the plants identified by the US National Cancer Institute as having properties that are effective against cancer cells.

3. Not all deserts are hot.

One of the biggest misconceptions about deserts is that they are all hot. The ratio of moisture gained to moisture lost, not temperature, determines whether or not an area is a desert. Some cold deserts even experience occasional snowfall. Antarctica is home to the largest desert in the world.

4. One-third of the Earth's stored carbon is found in arctic tundra soil.

The arctic tundra is characterized by extremely cold temperatures and land that remains frozen year-round. Permafrost plays an important role in the cycle of nutrients such as carbon. As temperatures rise globally, this frozen ground melts and releases stored carbon from the soil into the atmosphere. This could impact global climate change by increasing temperatures.

5. Taigas are the largest land biome.

Located in the northern hemisphere and just south of the tundra, the taiga is the largest land biome. The taiga extends across North America, Europe, and Asia. Also known as the boreal forests, taigas play a significant role in the nutrient cycle of carbon by removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and using it to generate organic molecules through photosynthesis.

6. Many plants in chaparral biomes are fire resistant.

Plants in the chaparral biome have many adaptations for life in this hot, dry region. A number of plants are fire resistant and can survive fires, which occur frequently in chaparrals. Some plants such as the chamise even promote fires with their flammable oils. They then grow in the ashes after the area has been burned.

7. Desert storms can carry dust for thousands of miles.

Desert storms can carry mile high dust clouds over thousands of miles. In 2013, a sandstorm originating in the Gobi Desert in China traveled over 6,000 miles across the Pacific to California.

8. Grassland biomes are home to the largest land animals.

Grassland biomes include temperate grasslands and savannas. The fertile soil supports crops and grasses that provide food for humans and animals alike. Large grazing mammals such as elephants, bison, and rhinoceroses make their home in this biome.

9. Less than 2% of sunlight reaches the ground in tropical rain forests.

The vegetation in tropical rain forests is so thick that less than 2% of sunlight reaches the ground. Although rain forests typically receive 12 hours of sunlight per day, enormous trees as tall as 150 feet tall form an umbrella canopy over the forest. These trees block out the sunlight for plants in the lower canopy and forest floor.

10. Temperate forest regions experience all four seasons.

Temperate forests, also known as deciduous forests, experiences four distinct seasons. Other biomes don't experience distinct periods of winter, spring, summer, and fall. Plants in the temperate forest region change color and lose their leaves in fall and winter.

Sources:

  • "Facts About Rainforest's." The Nature Conservancy. Accessed 24 July 2015. (http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/urgentissues/rainforests/rainforests-facts.xml).
  • "Desert." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. 2015. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Jul. 2015 (http://www.encyclopedia.com).
  • "Permafrost and Frozen Ground". National Snow and Ice Data Center. Updated 31 October 2008 (https://nsidc.org/cryosphere/sotc/permafrost.html).
  • "Dust from Chinese storm reaches central California." US News. NBC News. 31 March 2013. (http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17541864-dust-from-chinese-storm-reaches-central-california).
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Bailey, Regina. "10 Facts About Land Biomes." ThoughtCo, Jul. 29, 2015, thoughtco.com/facts-about-land-biomes-373408. Bailey, Regina. (2015, July 29). 10 Facts About Land Biomes. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-land-biomes-373408 Bailey, Regina. "10 Facts About Land Biomes." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/facts-about-land-biomes-373408 (accessed October 19, 2017).