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Encyclopedia > Ecozone
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An ecozone or biogeographic realm is the largest scale biogeographic division of the earth's surface based on the historic and evolutionary distribution patterns of plants and animals. Ecozones represent large areas of the earth's surface where plants and animals developed in relative isolation over long periods of time, and are separated from one another by geologic features, such as oceans, broad deserts, or high mountain ranges, that formed barriers to plant and animal migration. Ecozones correspond to the floristic kingdoms of botany or zoogeographic regions of mammal zoology. Image File history File links Portal. ... Biogeography is the science which deals with patterns of species distribution and the processes that result in such patterns. ... A floristic province is a geographic area with a relatively uniform composition of plant species. ...


Ecozones are characterized by the evolutionary history of the plants and animals they contain. As such, they are distinct from biomes, also known as major habitat types, which are divisions of the earth's surface based on life form, or the adaptation of plants and animals to climatic, soil, and other conditions. Biomes are characterized by similar climax vegetation, regardless of the evolutionary lineage of the specific plants and animals. Each ecozone may include a number of different biomes. A tropical moist broadleaf forest in Central America, for example, may be similar to one in New Guinea in its vegetation type and structure, climate, soils, etc., but these forests are inhabited by plants and animals with very different evolutionary histories. A biome is a major class of ecologically similar communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, often reffered to as ecosystems. ... Climax vegetation is the vegetation which establishes itself on a given site for given climatic conditions in the absence of anthropic action after a long time (it is the asymptotic or quasi equilibrium state of the local ecosystem). ... Tropic wet forests in the World Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests, also known as tropical wet forests, are a tropical and subtropical forest biome. ...


The patterns of plant and animal distribution in the world's ecozones was shaped by the process of plate tectonics, which has redistributed the world's land masses over geological history. The tectonic plates of the world were mapped in the second half of the 20th century. ...


The term ecozone, as used here, is a fairly recent development, and other terms, including kingdom, realm, and region, are used by other authorities to denote the same meaning. J. Schultz uses the term "ecozone" to refer his classification system of biomes.

Contents

History

Plant geography

The systems of biogeographical regions started with Augustin de Candolle in 1820. In his study Essai Elementaire de Geographie Botanique he was very interested in documenting the nature and floral composition, also known as biomes. He was the first author to define endemic areas. A. P. de Candolle Augustin Pyramus de Candolle also spelt Augustin Pyrame de Candolle (February 4, 1778 - September 9, 1841) was one of the great botanists of all time. ... A biome is a major class of ecologically similar communities of plants, animals, and soil organisms, often reffered to as ecosystems. ...


It was only after the acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution that Adolf Engler associated the development of different floras to different regions of the world. His studies on biogeographical regions were based on de Candolle's climatic and physiological studies. Engler's four regions included: the temperate and cold regions of the northern hemisphere; the old world tropics, extending from Africa to northern Australia; the new world tropics, including most of Central and South America; and an "Ancient Ocean" realm which included coastal Chile, Tierra del Fuego, the Cape region and south coast of South Africa, most of Australia, Tasmania, the South Island of New Zealand, and the Subantarctic islands of the southernmost Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans. For other people of the same surname, and places and things named after Charles Darwin, see Darwin. ... This article is about evolution in biology. ... Adolf Engler (1844 – 1930) was a German botanist, perhaps The German Botanist. He is very important, among other complishments, for his works on Plant Taxonomy and Phytogeography, like Die Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien (The natural plant families), edited with Karl A. E. von Prantl. ... The sub-antarctic islands are the islands in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. ...


In 1908, Ludwig Diels placed New Zealand in the Palaetropical Realm and subdivided the "Ancient Ocean" Realm into four realms.[citation needed] Dr. Friedrich Ludwig Emil Diels (born 24 September 1874 in Hamburg; died 30 November 1945 in Berlin) was a German botanist. ...


British botanist Ronald Good devised a system of six floristic kingdoms (Antarctic, Australian, Boreal, Cape, Neotropical, and Palaeotropical). Good's system, which was further developed by Armen Takhtajan, is widely used by botanists. A floristic province is a geographic area with a relatively uniform composition of plant species. ... Armen Takhtajan (born 1910), aka Armen Leonovich Takhtadjan or Takhtadzhian, is a Soviet-Armenian botanist, one of the most important figures in 20th Century plant evolution and systematics and biogeography. ...


Zoogeography

Nineteenth-century zoologists also contributed to the biogeographical schemes. Alfred Russel Wallace introduced biogeographical regions based on mammal distributions, and these remain in acceptance by the scientific community. Philip Sclater recognized six regions in 1858 based on passerine bird distributions. Mammalian zoogeographers also identified six kingdoms (African, Australian, Nearctic, Neotropical, Oriental, and Palaearctic), although with different boundaries than those of plant geographers. Zoology (from Greek: ζῴον, zoion, animal; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the biological discipline which involves the study of animals. ... Alfred Russel Wallace, OM, FRS (January 8, 1823 – November 7, 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, geographer, anthropologist and biologist. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Philip Lutley Sclater (November 4, 1829 - June 27, 1913) was an English lawyer and zoologist. ... Families Many, see text A passerine is a bird of the giant order Passeriformes. ...


Many zoogeographers combine the Nearctic and Palearctic into a Holarctic zone. These two zones have been connected by the Bering land bridge for long periods in their histories, and thus have very similar mammal and bird fauna. The Holarctic is a term used by zoologists to define the ecozone covering much of Eurasia and North America, which have often been connected by the Bering land bridge. ... Nautical chart of Bering Strait, site of former land bridge between Asia and North America The Bering land bridge, also known as Beringia, was a land bridge roughly 1600 km (1000 miles) north to south at its greatest extent, which joined present-day Alaska and eastern Siberia at various times...


Biogeographical realms

In 1975 Miklos Udvardy proposed a system of 203 biogeographical provinces, which were grouped into eight biogeographical realms (Afrotropical, Antarctic, Australian, Indomalayan, Nearctic, Neotropical, Oceanian, and Palaearctic). Udvardy's goal was to create an integrated ecological land classification system that could be used for conservation purposes. Miklos Udvardy proposed classification systems of the world for conservation purposes. ... An ecoregion (ecological region), sometimes called a bioregion, is the next smallest ecologically and geographically defined area beneath realm or ecozone. Ecoregions cover relatively large area of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblage of natural communities and species. ... Ecological land classification is defined as being a cartographical delineation of distinct ecological areas, identified by their geology, topography, soils, vegetation, climate conditions, living species, water resources, as well as anthropic factors. ... The conservation movement is a political and social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including plant and animal species as well as their habitat for the future. ...


WWF Ecozones

Map of six of the world's eight ecozones      Nearctic      Palearctic      Afrotropic      Indomalaya      Australasia      Neotropic      Oceania and Antarctic ecozones not shown

The WWF ecozones are based largely on the biogeographic realms of Pielou (1979) and Udvardy (1975). A team of biologists convened by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) developed a system of eight biogeographic realms (ecozones) as part of their delineation of the world's over 800 terrestrial ecoregions. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1096x744, 33 KB)Ecozones converted from jpg to png (previously Image:Ecozones. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1096x744, 33 KB)Ecozones converted from jpg to png (previously Image:Ecozones. ... The Nearctic is one of the eight terrestrial ecozones dividing the Earths land surface. ... The Palearctic or Palaearctic is one of the eight ecozones dividing the Earth surface (see map). ... The Afrotropic Ecozone is Africa south of the Sahara Desert. ... The Indomalaya Ecozone was previously called the Oriental region. ... The Australasia Ecozone The Australasian ecozone – is an ecological region that is coincident, but not synonymous (by some definitions), with the geographic region of Australasia. ... The Neotropic ecozone is a terrestrial ecoregion which includes South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. ... Oceania is the smallest of the worlds terrestrial ecozones, and unique in not including any continental land mass. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ... Note: After losing a court case in 2002 on the use of the initials WWF, the organization previously known as the World Wrestling Federation has rebranded itself as World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE. WWF - The Conservation Organization was formerly known as World Wildlife Fund and Worldwide Fund for Nature. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...

The WWF scheme is broadly similar to Udvardy's system, the chief difference being the delineation of the Australasian ecozone relative to the Antarctic, Oceanic, and Indomalayan ecozones. In the WWF system, The Australasia ecozone includes Australia, Tasmania, the islands of Wallacea, New Guinea, the East Melanesian islands, New Caledonia, and New Zealand. Udvardy's Australian realm includes only Australia and Tasmania; he places Wallacea in the Indomalayan Realm, New Guinea, New Caledonia, and East Melanesia in the Oceanian Realm, and New Zealand in the Antarctic Realm. The Nearctic is one of the eight terrestrial ecozones dividing the Earths land surface. ... North America North America is a continent[1] in the Earths northern hemisphere and (chiefly) western hemisphere. ... The Palearctic or Palaearctic is one of the eight ecozones dividing the Earth surface (see map). ... Eurasia Eurasia African-Eurasian aspect of Earth Eurasia is an immense landmass covering about 54,000,000 km² (or about 10. ... North Africa is the Mediterranean, northernmost region of the African continent, separated by the Sahara from Sub-Saharan Africa. ... The Afrotropic Ecozone is Africa south of the Sahara Desert. ... A political map showing national divisions in relation to deonte Shepard Club Of America Free burgers for new members the ecological break (Sub-Saharan Africa in green) A geographical map of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to... The Indomalaya Ecozone was previously called the Oriental region. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... The Australasia Ecozone The Australasian ecozone – is an ecological region that is coincident, but not synonymous (by some definitions), with the geographic region of Australasia. ... Wallaces line between Australasian and Southeast Asian fauna. ... The Neotropic ecozone is a terrestrial ecoregion which includes South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ... “West Indian” redirects here. ... Oceania is the smallest of the worlds terrestrial ecozones, and unique in not including any continental land mass. ... Carving from the ridgepole of a Māori house, ca 1840 Polynesia (from Greek: πολύς many, νῆσος island) is a large grouping of over 1,000 islands scattered over the central and southern Pacific Ocean. ... Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposite the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earths South Pole. ... Capital Hobart Government Constitutional monarchy Governor William Cox Premier Paul Lennon (ALP) Federal representation  - House seats 5  - Senate seats 12 Gross State Product (2004-05)  - Product ($m)  $16,114 (7th)  - Product per capita  $33,243/person (8th) Population (End of September 2006)  - Population  489,600 (6th)  - Density  7. ... . ... The East Melanesian Islands, also known as the Solomons-Vanuatu-Bismarck moist forests, is a biogeographic region notable for its unique flora and fauna and species richness. ... . ...


Bioregions

The WWF scheme further subdivides the ecozones into bioregions, defined as "geographic clusters of ecoregions that may span several habitat types, but have strong biogeographic affinities, particularly at taxonomic levels higher than the species level (genus, family)." The WWF bioregions are as follows:

  • Afrotropic
  • Antarctic
  • Australasia
  • Indomalaya
  • Nearctic
    • Canadian Shield
    • Eastern North America
    • Northern Mexico
    • Western North America
  • Neotropical
  • Oceania
  • Palearctic

. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ... Indochina 1886 Indochina, or the Indochinese Peninsula, is a region in Southeast Asia. ... A river in the Amazon rainforest The Amazon is a rainforest in South America. ... South America South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. ...

References

  • Cox, C. Barry; Peter D. Moore (1985). Biogeography: An Ecological and Evolutionary Approach (Fourth Edition). Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford.
  • Dinerstein, Eric; David Olson; Douglas J. Graham; et al. (1995). A Conservation Assessment of the Terrestrial Ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington DC.
  • Ricketts, Taylor H., Eric Dinerstein, David M. Olson, Colby J. Loucks, et al. (1999). Terrestrial Ecoregions of North America: a Conservation Assessment. Island Press, Washington DC.
  • Schultz, J.: Die Ökozonen der Erde, Ulmer Stuttgart, 3rd ed. 2002 (1st ed. 1988). ISBN 3-8252-1514-8
  • Schultz, J.: Handbuch der Ökozonen, Ulmer Stuttgart 2000. ISBN 3-8252-8200-7
  • Schultz, J.: The Ecozones of the World, Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York, 2n ed. 2005. ISBN 3540200142
  • Udvardy, M. D. F. (1975). A classification of the biogeographical provinces of the world. IUCN Occasional Paper no. 18. Morges, Switzerland: IUCN.
  • Wikramanayake, Eric; Eric Dinerstein; Colby J. Loucks; et al. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment. Island Press; Washington, DC.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Introduction and Summary: Assessment of species diversity in the Montane Cordillera Ecozone (4095 words)
The Montane Cordillera Ecozone extends from the eastern Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the western slope of the Cascades in British Columbia, and from the latitude of the Skeena Mountains in northern British Columbia to the United States border.
Invasion of the Ecozone by plants and animals from peripheral refugia was episodal and correlated with climatic fluctuations throughout the Holocene.
This is a subalpine zone occurring in the severe climate in the north of the Ecozone.
Arctic Cordillera Ecozone: Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage (470 words)
The Arctic Cordillera Ecozone occupies the northernmost section of Labrador.
The climate is extremely cold and dry in the north, while it is somewhat milder and more humid in the southernmost portions of the ecozone.
This ecozone is the most sparsely populated in Canada.
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