7 Land Biomes You Instantly Need to Know

Tundra, Taiga, Grassland, Savana, and more are all different types of land biomes on our planet Earth.

Our world is full of different diverse biomes that you can see around you wherever you go. Some of these biomes exist on land and others in the water. In this article, we are only going to talk about land biomes. But before we get into the discrete details of each type of the seven types of land biomes, we need to know first the definition of a biome and the main factor that affects its existence.

A biome is defined as a group of ecosystems that have similar climate patterns and living organisms.

Think of these biomes as life zones to make it easier for you.

The classification of biomes:

You can classify biomes depending on several factors. That is why there are different classifications out there for biomes. But we are going to stick to the easiest one. 

Scientists have classified biomes into two main categories:

Aquatic (water) biomes: which can be further subdivided into: 

  1. Freshwater biomes.
  2. Marine biomes.

Terrestrial (land) biomes: also can be subdivided into seven biomes as follows:

  1. Tundra.
  2. Taiga (boreal forest).
  3. Temperate forest.
  4. Grassland.
  5. Desert.
  6. Savanna.
  7. Tropical rainforest.

A land biome is a vast area of land that has the same climatic conditions, plants, and animals.

The main factor affecting the existence of land biomes:

The main factor that affects the development of a land biome is its climate (represented by the amount of rainfall and temperature). The location of that land biome on Earth determines the climate. That is why we have different land biomes depending on their location on earth (how close it is to the equator or the poles and how close it is to the ocean).

The average annual temperature and rainfall determine what kind of plants can grow in that area and what kind of animals can live there. 

Since climate is the main factor determining a land biome, we can find the same land biome across different continents. 

Also, keep in mind that no sharp demarcating line divides these land biomes as you transition from one biome to the other. It is more of a gradual transition and not a sharp one.

Now we have all the basic information about land biomes and the main factor affecting them. We are ready to dive deep into the seven land biomes types and discuss each type in detail.

Let’s start our journey at the north pole and move down all the way to the south pole.

Land biome
Land biomes map

1. Tundra

This is the coldest land biome. It lies in the earth’s polar regions. The temperature in this land biome can reach up to -50 degrees Fahrenheit (-45.5 °C). That is why we can’t find many plants and animals in this area. It is covered with snow throughout the whole year. Summer is so short, while winter is so long and cold in this land biome. Rainfall is very rare here.

A massive layer of ice lies below the shallow soil of Tundra all year round, which is known as permafrost (frozen ground). This permafrost prevents trees from growing in this area as they can’t penetrate the frozen ground with their roots.

land biome
Tundra land biome featuring two polar bears and no trees

Dominant wildlife

Polar bears, walruses, musk oxen, reindeer, and lemmings. Mice and other small rodents dig deep tunnels under the ground to stay in during the harsh winter season. You can also see many birds in the short summer, but they migrate south to a warmer place in the winter.

Dominant plants

You can only see those plants in the summer when the frozen ground starts to thaw. These plants include low grasses, lichens, short herbs, and green moss.

Did you know that the word Tundra comes from the Russian word “Tundra”, which comes from the Finnish word “Tunturi”, which means barren land or treeless plain?

Where to find it?

You can find Tundra in northern Asia, Europe, and North America. You can see it in any of the following places:

  • Russia.
  • Alaska.
  • Iceland.
  • Greenland.
  • Canada.

See the map above to get a clear picture of the exact location of this land biome.

2. Taiga (Boreal/ Coniferous Forest)

Moving south a little bit, we will find Taiga. The temperature there is still cold but a little bit less than Tundra. Taiga is the largest of the seven land biomes found on earth. The forests there are full of conical-shaped evergreen trees which have needle-like leaves. Animals that live in this land biome have adapted to the cold weather by developing thick fur that keeps them warm.

Did you know that the name Boreal comes from the Greek word “Boreas”, which means the god of the north wind? It means north or of northern regions.

land biome
Taiga (boreal/ coniferous forest) with many coniferous trees

Dominant wildlife

We can see weasels, grouse, rabbits, wolves, moose, beavers, lynxes, elks, and bears.

Dominant plants

Coniferous trees (with needle-like leaves and their seeds produced in cones) are the predominant type of plants seen in Taiga. They include pine, fir, spruce, and cedar.

Where to find it?

Taiga is found in northern Europe, North America, and Asia. Boreal forests are seen in the following countries:

  • Canada.
  • The United States.
  • Russia.
  • Sweden.
  • Norway.

3. Temperate Forest (Deciduous Forest)

Let’s move down further; there, we have the temperate forest. It is a bit warmer here than in the above-mentioned land biomes. In fact, the temperate forests were named temperate because they have mild temperatures in the year’s four seasons. In this area, we can see the four distinct seasons.

land biome
Temperate (deciduous) forest

Dominant wildlife

You can see many animals there due to the mild temperature that makes it easy for many animals to adapt and live there. These animals include foxes, wolves, elks, coyotes, rabbits, deer, squirrels, birds like woodpeckers, and black bears (which hibernate in winter).

Dominant plants

This area is rich in evergreen trees and deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are characterized by shedding their leaves in the fall and winter. That is why some people call this land biome deciduous forest.

Deciduous trees include alder, oak, birch, and willow.

Where to find it?

Temperate forests are mainly seen in southeastern Canada, eastern united states, Australia, parts of Asia, and most of Europe. You can see them in the following countries:

  • The United Kingdom.
  • The United States.
  • Germany.
  • Portugal.
  • China.
  • Japan.

4. Grassland

Next, we have grassland, also sometimes called prairie or plains. The climate here is dry and warm. In this land biome, one can experience only two seasons rainy season and the dry one.

The rainfall isn’t too much. It is only enough to keep grass and herbs growing. You can’t see any trees in this land biome because of the scanty rainfall and the fires that occur occasionally in the dry season.

land biome
Grassland biome with predominant grass and no trees

Dominant wildlife

Large mammals are seen in this land biome, like elephants, zebras, bison, and antelope. You can also see massive herds of grazing animals, like buffalos and deer. Birds such as hawks and owls are found there.

Dominant plants

As its name implies, grass is the main plant found in the grassland. You can also see lots of treeless plains.

Where to find it?

Grassland is mainly found in North America, Central Asia, Australia, central Europe, parts of South America and Africa. It is seen in the following countries:

  • Mozambique.
  • Kenya.
  • Venezuela.
  • Brazil.
  • Chile.
  • Argentina.
  • Uraguay.
  • Hungary.
  • Russia.
  • The United States.

5. Desert

The desert is well-known for its extreme weather that swings from season to season and even during the course of the same day (having hot days and cold nights). It is the hottest biome on Earth.

It is very hot and dry in the summer and cold in the winter. Rainfall is scanty in the desert. Plants and animals which live in the desert have adapted to these harsh conditions.

For example, the cacti (a plant frequently seen in the desert) have managed to find a way to retain and store water for arid months to thrive. They have developed a waxy coating to prevent water escape and spines that protect their inner water-storing parts from hungry animals. Also, camels have a unique mechanism by which they can withstand long periods without water.

land biome
The desert land biome

Dominant wildlife

Camels, snakes, rodents, lizards, and other reptiles. 

Dominant plants

Cactus plants and shrubs. 

Where to find it?

Hot deserts are most commonly seen in Africa, Asia, South America, Australia, the middle east, and other places. It is found in the following countries:

  • Tunisia.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Egypt.
  • Iran.
  • Australia.
  • United States.
  • Mexico.

6. Savanna

Moving closer to the equator, we will find the Savanna (sometimes called tropical grassland). It covers almost half of the land of Africa. It is also seen in Australia, India, and South America. It has much more rainfall than the grassland, which means more chance to grow trees. However, the trees are scattered in a spotted pattern, not covering vast areas.

Animals in this area live in herds and have long legs that allow them to escape from their predators. This land biome has the fastest animals on earth.

land biome
Savanna (tropical grassland) land biome

Dominant wildlife

Lions, leopards, cheetahs, zebras, antelope, giraffes, baboons, and hyenas. Birds such as eagles and ostriches are also seen there.

Dominant plants

Tall grass and some scattered short trees are commonly seen in the savannas.

Where to find it?

Savannas cover large areas of eastern Africa, northern Australia, southern India, and South America. It is seen in the following countries:

  • Kenya.
  • Zimbabwe.
  • Australia.
  • India.
  • Venezuela.
  • Columbia.

7. Tropical Rainforest

Now we are the closest to the equator, where dense rainfall all year long is the main feature. It is even difficult to find a dry season here. Trees also keep their leaves all year round. The weather here is always hot and wet.

When we think of tropical rainforests, we see pictures of jungles in our minds. It is always warm in this area. The tropical rainforest is a habitat for more plant and animal species than all the other land biomes combined.

land biome
Tropical rainforest land biome. Note the dense population of plants and trees.

Dominant wildlife

There are countless species of animals that live in the rainforest. You can see sloths, crocodiles, monkeys, jaguars, bats, frogs, anacondas, turtles, tortoises, lizards, and birds like toucans and parrots, insects like ants, butterflies, and beetles.

Dominant plants

Tropical plants, huge evergreen trees, ferns, large woody vines, climbing plants, orchids, and bromeliads.

Where to find it?

Rainforests are seen in central and south America, parts of Africa, Southeast Asia, southern India, and northeastern Australia. You can see them in the following places:

  • Nicaragua.
  • Australia.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Columbia.
  • Cambodia.
  • Indonesia.

Did you know that land biomes are named according to the predominant plant type, as in coniferous forests, grassland, and deciduous forests? They could also be named according to the dominant climatic conditions, as in temperate forests and tropical rainforests.

Conclusion

By the end of this article, we hope you have a clear picture of the major land biomes on our planet. Next time when you travel to a different country, try to discover the characteristics of its land biome that you have learned in this article.

In the end, we want to point out that these land biomes can be classified in other ways and subdivided into even more than seven. So to get an in-depth understanding of these land biomes, check out this article. 

And to see a real-life video featuring all these land biomes, you can check out this video down below.

Hey, Wait a second.

Before you go, try to test yourself out on this topic by solving the small quiz down below.

Q (1). Permafrost is seen in which one of these land biomes:

  1. Taiga (boreal forest).
  2. Tropical rainforests.
  3. Tundra.
  4. Desert.

Q (2). Coniferous trees are most commonly seen in which of the following land biomes:

  1. Tundra.
  2. Taiga (boreal forest).
  3. Temperate forests.
  4. Tropical rainforests.

Q (3). Deciduous trees are most commonly seen in which of the following land biomes:

  1. Tropical rainforests.
  2. Grassland.
  3. Taiga (boreal forest).
  4. Temperate (deciduous) forests.

Q (4). One of the following is considered the largest of all the seven land biomes:

  1. Tundra.
  2. Taiga (boreal/ coniferous forest).
  3. Grassland.
  4. Temperate (Deciduous) forests.

Q (5). Which one of the following is the coldest land biome found on Earth:

  1. Tundra.
  2. Temperate (Deciduous) forests.
  3. Tropical rainforests.
  4. Boreal forest (Taiga).

Q (6). Which of the following statement is true regarding the temperate (Deciduous) forest:

  1. It is the coldest biome on our planet.
  2. It hosts the greatest number of plant and animal species on Earth.
  3. It is famous for its deciduous trees and is sometimes called a deciduous forest.
  4. It is found in the polar regions of our planet.

Q (7). Which of the following statements is false regarding Tropical rainforests:

  1. It hosts the greatest number of plant and animal species on Earth.
  2. It has a huge amount of rainfall throughout the year.
  3. It is situated near the equator.
  4. It has very dry and hot weather all year round.

Q (8). One of the following statements is true regarding the Tundra land biome:

  1. It is considered the coldest land biome on our planet.
  2. It hosts the greatest number of plants and animal species on Earth.
  3. It is characterized by having short winters and long, hot summers.
  4. It is characterized by having tall trees and herding animals.

Q (9). One of the following statements is false regarding Taiga (Boreal/ Coniferous forest):

  1. It is considered the largest land biome on our planet.
  2. It is characterized by having coniferous trees and is often called a coniferous forest.
  3. It is located south of the Tundra land biome.
  4. It is characterized by having deciduous trees and is often called a deciduous forest.

Q (10). All of the following statements about grassland biome are true except:

  1. The main predominant plant type here is grass.
  2. Grassland does not have many trees due to the limited rainfall it receives.
  3. It is characterized by having huge herds of grazing animals that travel the grassland together.
  4. It is considered to be the coldest of all land biomes on Earth.

The correct answers.

Q (1) – 3

Q (2) – 2

Q (3) – 4

Q (4) – 2

Q (5) – 1

Q (6) – 3

Q (7) – 4

Q (8) – 1

Q (9) – 4

Q (10) – 4

Some relevant articles that might interest you:

  • Want to know more about how plants grow and their life cycle? Check out this article.
  • To learn more about tectonic plates, check out this webpage.
  • Check out this one to know more about the biggest animals on Earth.
  • Want to know more about the weather? Take a look at this article.
  • Check out this article to learn more about some remarkable seas and lakes on Earth.
  • To know more about the world’s 10 most amazing deserts, check out this one.
  • Check out this article to discover more about land animals from Africa and South America.

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