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Habitats & physical characteristics

The existence of flora and fauna in a habitat depends on a variety of factors such as availability of food and water, adaptability to the extremities of temperature and weather in the habitat, the physical characteristics of the habitat, etc. Some of the major habitat types include Forests, Grasslands, Wetlands, Deserts, Arctic Tundra, etc. In addition to the above stated factors, there are external factors like human activity that influence the presence of wildlife in these habitats. Forests Forests are characterized by the dense growth of trees.

There are numerous factors that influence the growth of forests. These include temperature, soil nutrients, water availability, adequate growing season and altitude (“Different Types of Habitat”, n. d. ). There are three basic types of forests viz. Tropical, Temperate and Boreal (“Types of Forests”, n. d. ). Tropical forests have the largest diversity of species with lots of birds, small mammals, and insects whereas nutrient rich temperate forests have small and large mammals such as squirrels, rabbits, skunks, birds, deer, mountain lion, bobcat, timber wolf, fox, and black bear (“Types of Forests”, n.d. ).

Boreal forests, characterized by short, moist summers and long, cold and dry winters, are home to large and small wildlife such as hawks, moose, bear, weasel, lynx, fox, wolf, deer, hares, chipmunks, shrews, and bats. Habitats 2 Deserts Deserts are basically classified into two broad categories – hot and cold. Deserts are typically dry with sparse vegetation. A desert can be composed of sand dunes, soil or stones. Despite these adverse conditions, a myriad of species live in these areas and thrive on whatever food is available around these regions.

In hot deserts you can find wildlife ranging from Gazelles, Lizards, Jackals, Oryx, Blue-tongued Lizards, Dingos, Hyenas, Springboks and Coyotes to Kangaroos, Rabbit-eared Bandicoots, Roadrunners, Armadillos and Pumas (“Hot Deserts of the World”, n. d. ). Cold deserts, where precipitation is in the form of snow or fog, are home to species like Lizard, Llama, Peruvian fox, Gerbil, Jerboa, Wolf, jackrabbit, Gazelle, Saiga Antelope, Onager, Pronghorn Antelope, etc. (“Cold Deserts of the World”, n. d. ).

The Sahara Desert, Australian Desert, Arabian Desert and the Gobi Desert are some of the largest deserts in the world. The Arctic Tundra “Climate and rugged topography are the overwhelming factors influencing the assemblage of wildlife species in the Alpine Tundra zone” (J. Pojar and A. C. Stewart, 1997, p. 9). The Arctic Tundra is characterized by its freezing cold temperatures. Cold, harsh winds and the adverse weather make survival difficult in this habitat. As a result, wildlife species diversity and density are low in the Arctic Tundra (J. Pojar and A.

C. Stewart, 1997, p. 9). Although the conditions are severe, this isolated habitat is home to a number of species like the Polar Bear, Arctic Fox, Arctic Wolf, Hare, Lemming, the Habitats 3 Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, Gyrfalcon, Mountain Goat, Rosy Finch, Willow Ptarmigan, Caribou, Mountain Elk, Hoary Marmot, Wolverine Marten, etc. Global Warming is one of the biggest threats to the Arctic Tundra. Most of the wildlife found here has adapted to the cold temperatures and these species would find it difficult to cope with higher temperatures.

References

Different types of Habitat, Retrieved July 28, 2007 from http://happeninhabitats. pwnet. org/what_is_habitat/habitat_types. php Types of Forests, Retrieved July 28, 2007 from http://www. echofund. org/PolliwogPuddles/forest_types. htm Hot Deserts of the World, Retrieved July 28, 2007 from http://www. mbgnet. net/sets/desert/hot. htm Cold Deserts of the World, Retrieved July 28, 2007 from http://www. mbgnet. net/sets/desert/cold. htm J. Pojar and A. C. Stewart, Ch-18: Alpine Tundra Zone, 1997

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