World Biomes and Ecosystems
What is an ecosystem?
Each individual plant and animal could not exist by itself on planet Earth. All living organisms need millions of other living organisms to survive. How these organisms interact with the sun, soil, water, air and each other in a specific area is called an ecosystem.
An ecosystem describes a specific area where the organisms work together as a unit. It could be any size from a tiny pool of water to hundreds of square miles of desert. Each ecosystem is different and each has established a balance over time that is important to every form of life within the ecosystem.
What is a biome?
A biome is way to describe a large group of similar ecosystems. Biomes have similar weather, rainfall, animals, and plants. There are a number of biomes on planet Earth. See the map of the world biomes below.
Map of the world biomes - Click on the map to see a larger picture
Click on the biomes below to learn more about each one.
The Balance of the Ecosystem
Ecosystems maintain important balances in order that all the organisms within the ecosystem can survive. These balances involve food, water, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon.
The sun provides the energy needed by ecosystems. Plants take this energy and use photosynthesis to create sugar which they can use for energy. Nutrients in the soil, the air, and water also play a part in keeping an ecosystem thriving and in balance.
Some important cycles that occur in ecosystems to help maintain proper balance include:
Humans and the Ecosystem
Humans have adversely affected many ecosystems and biomes throughout the world. Cutting down trees, developing land, growing crops, burning fossil fuels, overfishing, and overhunting are just some of the ways that we have upset the balance of nature.
How can we help?
By learning about the world's biomes and how important they are to life, you can spread the word. It will take everyone working together to try and slow our impact down.
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