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In biogeography, the Neotropic or Neotropical zone is one of the world's eight terrestrial ecozones. This ecozone includes South and Central America, the Mexican lowlands, the Caribbean islands, and southern Florida, because these regions share a large number of plant and animal groups.
It is sometimes used as a synonym for the tropical area of South America, although the ecozone also includes temperate southern South America. The NeotropicalFloristic Kingdomexcludes southernmostSouth America, which instead is placed in the Antarctic Kingdom.
The Neotropic is delimited by similarities in fauna or flora. Its fauna and flora are distinct from the Nearctic (which includes most of North America) because of the long separation of the two continents. The formation of the Isthmus of Panama joined the two continents two to three million years ago, precipitating the Great American Interchange, an important biogeographical event.
The Neotropic includes more tropical rainforest (tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests) than any other ecozone, extending from southern Mexico through Central America and northern South America to southern Brazil, including the vast Amazon Rainforest. These rainforest ecoregions are one of the most important reserves of biodiversity on Earth. These rainforests are also home to a diverse array of indigenous peoples, who to varying degrees persist in their autonomous and traditional cultures and subsistence within this environment. The number of these peoples who are as yet relatively untouched by external influences continues to decline significantly, however, along with the near-exponential expansion of urbanization, roads, pastoralism and forest industries which encroach on their customary lands and environment. Nevertheless amidst these declining circumstances this vast "reservoir" of human diversity continues to survive, albeit much depleted. In South America alone, some 350-400 indigenous languages and dialects are still living (down from an estimated 1,500 at the time of first European contact), in about 37 distinct language families and a further number of unclassified and isolate languages. Many of these languages and their cultures are also endangered. Accordingly, conservation in the Neotropic zone is a hot political concern, and raises many arguments about development versus indigenous versus ecological rights and access to or ownership of natural resources.
Major ecological regions
The WWF subdivides the ecozone 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 Amazonia bioregion is mostly covered by tropical moist broadleaf forest, including the vast Amazon rainforest, which stretches from the Andes Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, and the lowland forests of the Guianas. The bioregion also includes tropical savanna and tropical dry forest ecoregions.
Eastern South America
Eastern South America includes the Caatingaxeric shrublands of northeastern Brazil, the broad Cerrado grasslands and savannas of the Brazilian Plateau, and the Pantanal and Chaco grasslands. The diverse Atlantic forests of eastern Brazil are separated from the forests of Amazonia by the Caatinga and Cerrado, and are home to a distinct flora and fauna.
Southern South America
The temperate forest ecoregions of southwestern South America, including the temperate rain forests of the Valdivian temperate rain forests and charcoal are used as, or sold, for fuel or as lumber, while cleared land is used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities, and settlements. The removal of trees without sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforested regions typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland.
Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. In many countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced, is an ongoing issue. Deforestation causes extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and displacement of populations as observed by current conditions and in the past through the fossil record.
Among countries with a per capita GDP of at least US$4,600, net deforestation rates have ceased to increase.
There are many causes of contemporary deforestation, including corruption of government institutions, the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, population growth and overpopulation, and urbanization. Globalization is often viewed as another root cause of deforestation, though there are cases in which the impacts of globalization (new ï¬‚ows of labor, capital, commodities, and ideas) have promoted localized forest recovery.
In 2000 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found that "the role of population dynamics in a local setting may vary from decisive to negligible," and that deforestation can result from "a combination of population pressure and stagnating economic, social and technological conditions."
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32% of deforestation; logging is responsible for 14% of deforestation and fuel wood removals make up 5% of deforestation.
The degradation of forest ecosystems has also been traced to economic incentives that make forest conversion appear more profitable than forest conservation. Many important forest functions have no markets, and hence, no economic value that is readily apparent to the forests' owners or the communities that rely on forests for their well-being. From the perspective of the developing world, the benefits of forest as carbon sinks or biodiversity reserves go primarily to richer developed nations and there is insufficient compensation for these services. Developing countries feel that some countries in the developed world, such as the United States of America, cut down their forests centuries ago and benefited greatly from this deforestation, and that it is hypocritical to deny developing countries the same opportunities: that the poor shouldn't have to bear the cost of preservation when the rich created the problem.
Experts do not agree on whether industrial logging is an important contributor to global deforestation. Some argue that poor people are more likely to clear forest because they have no alternatives, others that the poor lack the ability to pay for the materials and labour needed to clear forest. One study found that population increases due to high fertility rates were a primary driver of tropical deforestation in only 8% of cases.
Some commentators have noted a shift in the drivers of deforestation over the past 30 years. Whereas deforestation was primarily driven by subsistence activities and government-sponsored development projects like transmigration in countries like Indonesia and colonization in Latin America, India, Java etc. during late 19th century and the earlier half of the 20th century. By the 1990s the majority of deforestation was caused by industrial factors, including extractive industries, large-scale cattle ranching, and extensive agriculture.
Deforestation is a contributor to global warming, and is often cited as one of the major causes of the enhanced greenhouse effect. Tropical deforestation is responsible for approximately 20% of world greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change deforestation, mainly in tropical areas, could account for up to one-third of total anthropogenic
Austria (en-us-Austria.ogg|Ëˆ|É’|s|t|r|i|É™ or Ëˆ|É”Ë�|s|t|r|i|É™; Ã–sterreich ËˆÃ¸Ë�stÉ™ËŒÊ�aÉªÃ§||Ã–sterreich.ogg), officially the Republic of Austria (German: ; Austro-Bavarian: Republik Esterraich; Republika Avstrija; Republika Austrija; OsztrÃ¡k KÃ¶ztÃ¡rsasÃ¡g), is a landlocked country of roughly 8.3 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by Germany and the Czech Republic to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The territory of Austria covers 83872|km2|sqmi|0 and has a temperate and alpine climate. Austria's terrain is highly mountainous due to the presence of the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500|m|ft|0, and its highest point is 3797|m|ft|0|abbr=off. The majority of the population speaks German, which is also the country's official language. Other local official languages are Croatian, Hungarian and Slovene.
The origins of Austria date back to the time of the Roman Empire when a Celtic kingdom was conquered by the Romans in approximately 15 BC and later became Noricum, a Roman province, in the mid 1st century ADâ€”an area which mostly encloses today's Austria. In 788 AD, the Frankish king Charlemagne conquered the area and introduced Christianity. Under the native Habsburg dynasty, Austria became one of the great powers of Europe. In 1867, the Austrian Empire was reformed into Austria-Hungary.
The Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed in 1918 with the end of World War I. The First Austrian Republic was established in 1919. In the 1938 Anschluss, Austria was occupied and annexed by Nazi Germany. This lasted until the end of World War II in 1945, after which Austria was occupied by the Allies and its former democratic constitution was restored. In 1955, the Austrian State Treaty re-established Austria as a sovereign state, ending the occupation. In the same year, the Austrian Parliament created the Declaration of Neutrality which declared that the country would become permanently neutral.
Today, Austria is a parliamentaryrepresentative democracy comprising nine federal states. The capital and largest city, with a population exceeding 1.6 million, is Vienna. Austria is one of the richest countries in the world, with a nominal per capita GDP of $43,723 (2010 est.). The country has developed a high standard of living and in 2010 was ranked 25th in the world for its Human Development Index. Austria has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, joined the European Union in 1995, and is a founder of the OECD. Austria also signed the Schengen Agreement in 1995, and adopted the European currency, the euro, in 1999.
The German name for Austria, , derives from the word OstarrÃ®chi, which first appears in the "OstarrÃ®chi document" of 996. This word is probably a translation of Medieval Latin into a local (Bavarian) dialect. The name means "Eastern borderlands." It was a prefecture of Bavaria created in 976. The word "Austria" is a latinization of the German name and was first recorded in the 12th century.
Friedrich Heer, one of the most important Austrian historians in the 20th century, stated in his book Der Kampf um die Ã¶sterreichische IdentitÃ¤t (The Struggle Over Austrian Identity), that the Germanic form OstarrÃ®chi was not a translation of the Latin word, but both resulted from a much older term originating in the
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Answers:Here is some info on temperate grasslands . The abiotic factors are non-biological - climate etc. The biotic factors are biological - the interactions betwen species etc. You can select what you need from the info. Temperate grasslands are characterized as having grasses as the dominant vegetation. Trees and large shrubs are absent. Temperatures vary more from summer to winter, and the amount of rainfall is less in temperate grasslands than in savannas. The major manifestations are the veldts of South Africa, the puszta of Hungary, the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay, the steppes of the former Soviet Union, and the plains and prairies of central North America. Temperate grasslands have hot summers and cold winters. Rainfall is moderate. The amount of annual rainfall influences the height of grassland vegetation, with taller grasses in wetter regions. As in the savanna, seasonal drought and occasional fires are very important to biodiversity. However, their effects aren't as dramatic in temperate grasslands as they are in savannas. The soil of the temperate grasslands is deep and dark, with fertile upper layers. It is nutrient-rich from the growth and decay of deep, many-branched grass roots. The rotted roots hold the soil together and provide a food source for living plants. Each different species of grass grows best in a particular grassland environment (determined by temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions). The seasonal drought, occasional fires, and grazing by large mammals all prevent woody shrubs and trees from invading and becoming established. However, a few trees, such as cottonwoods, oaks, and willows grow in river valleys, and some nonwoody plants, specifically a few hundred species of flowers, grow among the grasses. The various species of grasses include purple needlegrass, blue grama, buffalo grass, and galleta. Flowers include asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, psoraleas, and wild indigos. Precipitation in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The annual average is about 50.8 to 88.9 cm (20-35 inches). The temperature range is very large over the course of the year. Summer temperatures can be well over 38 C (100 degrees Fahrenheit), while winter temperatures can be as low as -40 C (-40 degrees Fahrenheit). The fauna (which do not all occur in the same temperate grassland) include gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, wild horses, lions, wolves, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, foxes, skunks, badgers, blackbirds, grouses, meadowlarks, quails, sparrows, hawks, owls, snakes, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and spiders.
Answers:Temperate grasslands are characterized as having grasses as the dominant vegetation. Trees and large shrubs are absent. Temperatures vary more from summer to winter, and the amount of rainfall is less in temperate grasslands than in savannas. The major manifestations are the veldts of South Africa, the puszta of Hungary, the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay, the steppes of the former Soviet Union, and the plains and prairies of central North America. Temperate grasslands have hot summers and cold winters. Rainfall is moderate. The amount of annual rainfall influences the height of grassland vegetation, with taller grasses in wetter regions. As in the savanna, seasonal drought and occasional fires are very important to biodiversity. However, their effects aren't as dramatic in temperate grasslands as they are in savannas. The soil of the temperate grasslands is deep and dark, with fertile upper layers. It is nutrient-rich from the growth and decay of deep, many-branched grass roots. The rotted roots hold the soil together and provide a food source for living plants. Each different species of grass grows best in a particular grassland environment (determined by temperature, rainfall, and soil conditions). The seasonal drought, occasional fires, and grazing by large mammals all prevent woody shrubs and trees from invading and becoming established. However, a few trees, such as cottonwoods, oaks, and willows grow in river valleys, and some nonwoody plants, specifically a few hundred species of flowers, grow among the grasses. The various species of grasses include purple needlegrass, blue grama, buffalo grass, and galleta. Flowers include asters, blazing stars, coneflowers, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, psoraleas, and wild indigos. Precipitation in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The annual average is about 50.8 to 88.9 cm (20-35 inches). The temperature range is very large over the course of the year. Summer temperatures can be well over 38 C (100 degrees Fahrenheit), while winter temperatures can be as low as -40 C (-40 degrees Fahrenheit). The fauna (which do not all occur in the same temperate grassland) include gazelles, zebras, rhinoceroses, wild horses, lions, wolves, prairie dogs, jack rabbits, deer, mice, coyotes, foxes, skunks, badgers, blackbirds, grouses, meadowlarks, quails, sparrows, hawks, owls, snakes, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, and spiders. There are also environmental concerns regarding the temperate grasslands. Few natural prairie regions remain because most have been turned into farms or grazing land. This is because they are flat, treeless, covered with grass, and have rich soil. Temperate grasslands can be further subdivided. Prairies are grasslands with tall grasses while steppes are grasslands with short grasses. Prairie and steppes are somewhat similar but the information given above pertains specifically to prairies the following is a specific description of steppes. Steppes are dry areas of grassland with hot summers and cold winters. They receive 25.4-50.8 cm (10-20 inches) of rainfall a year. Steppes occur in the interiors of North America and Europe. Plants growing in steppes are usually greater than 1 foot tall. They include blue grama and buffalo grass, cacti, sagebrush, speargrass, and small relatives of the sunflower. Steppe fauna includes badgers, hawks, owls, and snakes. Today, people use steppes to graze livestock and to grow wheat and other crops. Overgrazing, plowing, and excess salts left behind by irrigation waters have harmed some steppes. Strong winds blow loose soil from the ground after plowing, especially during droughts. This causes the dust storms of the Great Plains of the U.S. Savanna is grassland with scattered individual trees. Savannas of one sort or another cover almost half the surface of Africa (about five million square miles, generally central Africa) and large areas of Australia, South America, and India. Climate is the most important factor in creating a savanna. Savannas are always found in warm or hot climates where the annual rainfall is from about 50.8 to 127 cm (20-50 inches) per year. It is crucial that the rainfall is concentrated in six or eight months of the year, followed by a long period of drought when fires can occur. If the rain were well distributed throughout the year, many such areas would become tropical forest. Savannas which result from climatic conditions are called climatic savannas. Savannas that are caused by soil conditions and that are not entirely maintained by fire are called edaphic savannas. These can occur on hills or ridges where the soil is shallow, or in valleys where clay soils become waterlogged in wet weather. A third type of savanna, known as derived savanna, is the result of people clearing forest land for cultivation. Farmers fell a tract of forest, burn the dead trees, and plant crops in the ashes for as long as the soil remains fertile. Then, the field is abandoned and, although forest trees may recolonize, grass takes over on the bare ground (succession), becoming luxuriant enough to burn within a year or so. In Africa, a heavy concentration of elephants in protected parkland have created a savanna by eating leaves and twigs and breaking off the branches, smashing the trunks and stripping the bark of trees. Elephants can convert a dense woodland into an open grassland in a short period of time. Annual fires then maintain the area as a savanna. Shrublands include regions such as chaparral, woodland and savanna. Shrublands are the areas that are located in west coastal regions between 30 and 40 North and South latitude. Some of the places would include southern California, Chile, Mexico, areas surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, and southwest parts of Africa and Australia. These regions are usually found surrounding deserts and grasslands. Shrublands usually get more rain than deserts and grasslands but less than forested areas. Shrublands typically receive between 200 to 1,000 millimeters of rain a year. This rain is unpredictable, varying from month to month. There is a noticeable dry season and wet season. The shrublands Temperature: Hot and dry in the summer, cool and moist in the winter Precipitation: 200 to 1,000 mm of rain per year Vegetation: Aromatic herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano), shrubs, acacia, chamise, grasses Location: West coastal regions between 30 and 40 North and South latitude Other: Plants have adapted to fire caused by the frequent lightning that occurs in the hot, dry summers. are made up of shrubs or short trees. Many shrubs thrive on steep, rocky slopes. There is usually not enough rain to support tall trees. Shrublands are usually fairly open so grasses and other short plants grow between the shrubs. In the areas with little rainfall, plants have adapted to drought-like conditions. Many plants have small, needle-like leaves that help to conserve water. Some have leaves with waxy coatings and leaves that reflect the sunlight. Several plants have developed fire-resistant adaptations to survive the frequent fires that occur during the dry season.
Answers:The name for this biome, temperate grasslands, is a great description for what it is like here. The most important plants in this biome are grasses! Trees and large shrubs are almost completely absent. Temperate grasslands have some of the darkest, richest soils in the world (not in wealth, but in nutrients). People who live in grassland regions often use these soils for farming. In North America we call temperate grasslands prairies. Major grasslands in North America are the Great Plains of the Midwest, The Palouse Prairie of eastern Washington State, and other grasslands in the southwest. In Eurasia temperate grasslands are known as steppes, they are found between the Ukraine and Russia. In South America they are called pampas, and are located in Argentina and Uruguay. In South Africa, temperate grasslands are known as veldts. WEATHER: Temperatures in this biome vary greatly between summer and winter. The summers are hot and the winters are cold - much colder than Santa Barbara! With cold winters, it s surprising how hot the grassland summers can get! Sometimes the temperature is more than 100 F. Rain in the temperate grasslands usually occurs in the late spring and early summer. The yearly average is about 20-35 inches, but much of this falls as snow in the winter. Fire is not foreign in temperate grasslands. They are often set by lightning or human activity. Fire regularly swept the plains in earlier times, and to some extent still does today. PLANTS: Grasses dominate temperate grasslands. Trees and large shrubs are rarely found in grassland areas. There are many species of grasses that live in this biome, including, purple needlegrass, wild oats, foxtail, ryegrass, and buffalo grass. Many animals munch on these grasses, but they survive because the growth point on the grasses is very close to the ground. Also, with underground stems and buds, grasses are not easily destroyed by fire. Shrubs and trees that live in temperate grasslands are not as good as grasses at coping with the flames, and often are destroyed by fire. Wildflowers also grow well in temperate grasslands. Popular flowers that you might find growing on grasslands are asters, blazing stars, goldenrods, sunflowers, clovers, and wild indigos. ANIMALS: All grasslands share a lack in shelter from predators and lots of grass for food; therefore, grassland animal populations are similar throughout the world. The dominant vertebrates in grasslands are herbivorous or plant-eating grazers called ungulates. Ungulates are mammals with hoofs, like horses and deer; their long legs help them run fast to escape grassland predators. The temperate grassland does not have much animal diversity, especially compared to the Savannah. Some animals that inhabit temperate grasslands in North America are bison, antelope, birds, gophers, prairie dogs, coyotes, and insects. On the Steppe you ll find similar animals to the Great Plains, some examples are lynx, antelopes, falcons, and fox. PEOPLE AND THE TEMPERATE GRASSLAND: One of the main environmental concerns regarding temperate grasslands is the conversion of grassland to farmland. The rich soil is ideal for farming and grazing. With continual agricultural development and progress, we have lost many of our natural grasslands. Instead of native grasses, now grasslands supply corn, wheat, and other grains, as well as grazing areas for domestic ungulates, like sheep and cattle. The food supplied by these farmlands is important, but so is this unique biome, and the plants and animals that live in the temperate grassland.
Answers:Temperate grasslands include veldt, tallgrass prairie, & pampas with more than 20 rain/year. Shortgrass prairie & steppes receive less rain. This means grasslands vary but in general there will be a plant community dominated by grass and forbs. The North American tall-grass prairie include grasses like: bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) http://ed.fnal.gov/entry_exhibits/grass/bigb.html) switch grass ( Panicum virgatum) http://ed.fnal.gov/entry_exhibits/grass/switch.html interspersed with wildflowers like: coneflowers (Echinacia spp) http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/prairieplants.E.html and black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta). http://www.inhs.uiuc.edu/~kenr/prairieplants.R.html http://www.shootingstarbyway.org/wrtgp/wrtgpindex.htm Insects like skipper butterflies live on the grass as do many sparrows. Prairie Turnip (Pediomelum esculenta) http://www.manataka.org/page827.html also known as Indian breadroot was probably the most important wild food gathered by Native Americans who lived on the prairies. The small animals would be pocket gophers, voles, and prairie dogs. Their predators would include black-footed ferrets, burrowing owls, hawks, falcons and coyotes. Larger prairie animals might be elk, plains grizzly, and bison. Migrating or seasonal inhabitants included pronghorn antelope and waterfowl like the sandhill crane, snow goose, American coot, and teal.