The biosphere is itself a vast ecosystem which incorporates all the small ecosystems. But, the biosphere may have different types of physical conditions, communities of plants and animals, and climatic conditions in its different zones.
In view of these facts ecosystems found in different zones of biosphere are talked about separately. Let’s discuss some major ecosystems found in different zones of the biosphere.
Naturally growing plant community which occupies an extensive area of land is called as a forest.
A Forest consists of dominant species of trees associated with herbs and shrubs.
A forest is a very complicated ecosystem. This is so because it contains varieties of producers, consumers, and decomposers. There is tough competition for light and space in a forest. The tall trees enjoy maximum sunlight and tend to block it against going to lower plants growing at the floor of the forest.
Lower plants on contrary affect the organic contents of the soil and help them in obtaining maximum amount of nutrients from the soil.
Composition of a Forest Ecosystem
Like all the ecosystems of the biosphere, a forest ecosystem comprises both the biotic and abiotic components. Among biotic components trees, shrubs and ground vegetation act as producers where as consumers may be primary, secondary and tertiary.
Leaf hoppers, bugs, spiders, beetles, ants and flies; and big animals like elephants, deer, neelgai, squirrels, moles, and rabbits are primary consumers in a forest ecosystem.
Vast varieties of birds, lizards, snakes, foxes etc. act as secondary consumers in this ecosystem. Carnivores like tigers, lions, panthers and others act as tertiary consumers.
Microorganisms like numerous species of soil fungi, parasitic fungi, bacteria, ants; earthworms etc. act as principal decomposers in a forest ecosystem.
Abiotic components in a forest include organic and inorganic substances found in the soil of the forest floor and climatic factors. All the components mentioned above remain interlinked to each other and the whole system is a dynamic one.
Grass- plants have better abilities of adaptation. This is the reason why grasses can grow everywhere and similarly grassland ecosystems too are found everywhere.
The composition of a Grassland Ecosystem largely depends upon the type of climate and soils of the area in which the ecosystem is located.
The grassland ecosystem has grasses as major producers. However, herbs, and shrubs are also found in this type of ecosystem.
Primary consumers in Grassland ecosystem include herbivores, like deer, mice, sheep, rabbit, buffaloes, cows and numerous species of insects. Snakes, lizards, foxes, jackals etc. are secondary consumers while hawks, owls etc are tertiary consumers of this ecosystem.
Various types of saprophytic fungi like Penicillium, Cladosporium, Dermatophyton, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Rhizopus, Mucor; and numerous varieties of bacteria and termites serve as important decomposers of this ecosystem.
Abiotic components of grassland ecosystem include various organic and inorganic substances that remain usually present in the soil; atmospheric gases, water and other whether factors. All these components of the Grassland Ecosystem are interlinked to each other and the whole Grassland Ecosystem like that of the Forest Ecosystem is a very dynamic one.
A land area which is characterized by less than 254mm of annual rainfall and a high average temperature is called as a desert.
In a desert ecosystem, the rate of evaporation exceeds the rate of rainfall and nights remain very cold contrary to days that are very hot.
Producers in a desert ecosystem comprise grasses, thorny bushes, some tree species like Acacia, Zizyphus etc. and many species of succulents like Aloe, Euphorbia, Asparagus, Agave, Tradescantia and cacti etc.
Consumers in this ecosystem comprise Primary Consumers like rats, rabbits, goats, sheep, camels, and many species of seed eating birds. Secondary consumers in this ecosystem include reptiles, insects, insectivorous birds, and owls.
Hawks and other predatory animals act as tertiary consumers in this ecosystem. Ants, termites, bacteria and some saprophytic fungi are found here as principal decomposers.
Abiotic components in this ecosystem include fertile soils because very little water moves through them to carry away the nutrients. The accumulation of salts in the desert soil is high due to excessive evaporation. Air, intense temperature, sunlight, organic and inorganic substances are principal abiotic components of desert ecosystem. Like other ecosystems, all the components of this ecosystem too remain interlinked to each other to make a desert ecosystem very dynamic.
Feature Image: theguardian
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