An ecosystem is a community of both living and non-living entities of a particular region, that is in constant interaction with each other, maintaining the ecological balance. The biotic or living entities are constituted by humans, plants, and animals while the abiotic or non-living entities are the rock, soil, water, air, and other such related components of that region.
Ecosystems are broadly classified into two types:
- Terrestrial Ecosystem: Land-based
- Aquatic Ecosystem: Water-based
All ecosystems fall into one of the above-mentioned categories. Listed below are the types of ecosystems:
The classification is as per the respective climate – boreal, temperate or tropical. Forest ecosystems in temperate zones may have a flora of coniferous type, deciduous type or a combination of both the types. Rainforest ecosystems in the tropics have the most diverse plant and animal ecosystem than any other region on the earth. Here, trees grow tall and foliage is dense and lush with a warm and humid environment, with species right from the root level up till the canopy. The Boreal forests are featured in the far north, with a rich population of the coniferous trees, known as the taiga.
The most defining feature of this ecosystem is the amount of precipitation it receives, which is the least as compared to any ecosystem. This ecosystem can exist from the Arctic to the tropics, not all deserts are hot, some are often windy. Some contain rocks while some have sand dunes. Flora is very rare but highly adaptive animal species and insects are found here.
These are found in savannas, steppes, and prairies, in the temperate and tropical regions. They can exist in colder regions as well(Siberian Steppe) and share a common characteristic: semi-aridity. Flowers may be scattered along with the grass but trees are almost non-existent. Grasslands are ideal for animal-grazing.
It contains saltwater and inhabits a variety of species. They are the most abundant ecosystems on the planet. Marine enclose not only the oceanic bed but also the tidal zones, salt marshes, estuaries, saltwater swamps, coral reef, mangroves etc.
Tundra denotes polar regions at lower altitudes. It is characterized by harsh environmental conditions similar to deserts and is usually windswept, snow-covered and treeless. The soil is frozen throughout the year and during the brief summers, snow melts to produce shallow ponds, thus giving rise to small flowers and lichens.
As opposed to marine ecosystems, they pertain to the ecosystem found in the rivers, ponds, lakes, freshwater swamps, springs which have freshwater. They embody planktons, algae, insects, amphibians and underwater plants.
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