What is Natural vegetation?<br />Natural Vegetation refers to plants that grow and develop by themselves without human help .<br />
Why do we have to learn about Natural vegetation?<br />The study of natural vegetation is important to geographers for two reasons.<br />Vegetation is an integral part of the physical environment<br />Humans depend on vegetation for food, fuel, shelter, medicine etc.<br />
Natural vegetation occurs<br />Is Natural Vegetation part of something?<br />Animals eat the plants<br />The blood helps the grass & plants to grow<br />Natural Vegetation is part of the ecosystem, which is a living, biological community where the plants, animals and humans interact with one another and with their physical environment.<br />For example: <br /> the grasses provide food for the animals, which are hunted by the humans living there.<br />Humans hunt down the animals<br />Animals eat the meat<br />The blood and unwanted meat is left behind<br />
Can Natural vegetation be classified into other forms of vegetation?<br />Natural Vegetation can be classified into:<br />Forest vegetation<br />Grass land vegetation<br />Desert vegetation<br />
Forest vegetation…<br />Forest vegetation is mainly made up of one species of trees.<br />
Grass-land Vegetation…<br />Grass-land vegetation is chiefly made up of grasses, scattered trees and small woody plants (shrubs)<br />
Desert vegetation…<br />Desert vegetation consists mainly of thorny shrubs and other drought-resistant plants such as the cactus.<br />
These three main types of natural vegetation can be further classified into different sub-types. The existence and global distribution of the different types of natural vegetation are influenced mainly by climatic conditions particularly precipitation and temperatures<br />
Does temperature effect Natural Vegetation? <br /> Natural vegetation tends to be most diverse and abundant in areas near the equator where the average annual rainfall and temperature are high. Between the tropic of cancer (latitude 23.5N) and the tropic of Capricorn (latitude23.5S), the dominant type of natural vegetation is the evergreen tropical rainforests and mangroves that spread along the equator. As one approaches latitudes 10 north & 10 south of the equator, the tropical monsoon forests become more widespread.<br />Travelling from the equator towards the poles, one will encounter changes in the types of natural vegetation. As temperatures drop and precipitation decreases and becomes more variable, one dominant type of forest found in the cool temperature areas is the evergreen temperature coniferous forests <br />
Where are they found…<br />The tropical rainforest spreads like a green belt around the earth.<br />The most extensive areas with this type of forests are:<br /><ul><li> The Amazon Basin in south America.
East Malaysia </li></li></ul><li>Difference in plant species…<br />There is great variety of plant species in tropical rainforests. One hectare of land in a tropical rain forest may contain as many as 400 species of trees.<br />The trees in tropical rainforests are largely broadleaved evergreens. Many of the trees are hardwoods.<br />Lianas and epiphytes (air plants) such as Bird’s nest Fern are also common in tropical rainforests.<br />
Special characteristics of trees<br /><ul><li>Leaves:</li></ul>Tropical rain forests trees have waxy, hairy or leathery leaves that allow rain water to run off easily. The shape of the leaves are usually broad with narrow, downward pointing tips.<br /><ul><li>Roots:</li></ul> Some trees have buttress roots that can grow up to more than 5m high. The roots are rather shallow as they do not need to grow deep down into the soil to extract nutrition's.<br /><ul><li>Fruit and Flowers:</li></ul>The fruit and flowers of tropical rainforests tend to be colorful and sweet smelling in order to attract agents of pollination.<br />
Structure…<br />The rainforest is divided into:<br /><ul><li> Ground layer
Emergent layer </li></li></ul><li>Ground layer<br /><ul><li>Moist and dark with little undergrowth, consisting of small fungi, mosses and ferns.
The leaf litter is considerably thin as the rate of decomposition is fast because of the high temperature and rainfall. </li></li></ul><li>Shrub layer<br /><ul><li>Isolated shrubs, ferns and young trees have to adapt to the lack of sunlight.
These include wild ginger, pandan and tapioca</li></li></ul><li>Under canopy layer<br /><ul><li>Shorter trees with discontinuous canopy.
Shade-tolerant trees like palms and tree ferns are common
Leaves are much larger at this layer compared to other layers</li></li></ul><li>Canopy layer<br /><ul><li>Trees grow so close together that their crowns interlock to form a continuous canopy
Parasitic plants such as mosses and lichens are also found on this layer</li></li></ul><li>Emergent layer<br /><ul><li>The tallest trees are found in this layer.
Trees can grow to more than 40m to capture direct sunlight
They also have thick and straight trunks.</li></li></ul><li>Mangrove Forest<br />
Where are they found?<br />Mangrove forests can be found along tropical and subtropical coastal areas. They are usually found along low-lying, sheltered coasts with muddy and waterlogged land.<br />
Difference in plant species…<br />The dominant plants in this type of forests are generally those species that have special breathing roots that would enable them to take in oxygen under waterlogged conditions.<br />These trees also have prop roots to anchor them firmly in the soft, muddy ground.<br />
Special Characteristics of trees<br /><ul><li>Leaves:</li></ul>Mangrove trees have broad leaves, which also have drip tips to enable rainwater to flow off quickly and easily. Some trees have leaves that contain special salt glands to prevent the building up of excess salt.<br /><ul><li>Roots:</li></ul>Mangrove trees have prop roots & some have aerial roots.<br /><ul><li>Fruit:</li></ul>Some mangrove trees have tube-like fruit that start to germinate while they are still on the trees. When the fruit ripen, they fall into the mud & start to grow. <br />
Structure …<br />Unlike tropical rainforest, mangrove rainforests are classified into 3 parts horizontally.<br /><ul><li>Frequent flooding of salt water.
Where are they found?<br />The Tropical Monsoon forests are mostly found in areas from latitude 15 to just beyond the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn.<br />They are mostly found in:<br /><ul><li> Thailand
The south part of china.</li></li></ul><li>Difference in plant species…<br />Due to dry season, tropical monsoon forests have fewer of plants compared to those in tropical rain forests. The plants are also spaced farther apart from each other. Most of the trees in tropical monsoon forest are hardwoods. Teakand rosewood are two well known tropical hardwoods.<br />
Special characteristics of Trees…<br /><ul><li>Leaves:</li></ul>Leaves are broad and have drip tips. Unlike trees in tropical rainforests, trees in tropical monsoon forests are deciduous. Deciduous trees shed their leaves to adapt to the dry season.<br /><ul><li>Roots:</li></ul>Trees in tropical rainforests have deep roots.<br />
Structure<br />Monsoon forests are divided into three parts:<br />Ground layer<br />Under canopy layer<br />Canopy layer<br />
Ground layer<br /><ul><li>Mosses, lichens </li></ul> and orchids are common.<br /><ul><li>Dense undergrowth.</li></li></ul><li>Under Canopy layer<br /><ul><li>Trees are shorter
Plants grow quickly in areas where sunlight can penetrate through the canopy.</li></li></ul><li>Canopy layer<br /><ul><li>Trees are generally between 20m & 30m tall.
Fir</li></li></ul><li>Special characteristics of trees… <br /><ul><li>Leaves:</li></ul>The trees are evergreen and the leaves are needle-like.<br /><ul><li>Bark:</li></ul>The bark of coniferous trees is thick & is able to protect the trees from the severe winter winds.<br /><ul><li>Fruit & flowers:</li></ul>Coniferous trees bear cones, which are the fruit & flowers.<br /><ul><li>Roots:</li></ul>Trees in coniferous forests have shallow roots that spread out widely.<br />
Structure…<br />Temperate Coniferous Forests are divided into 2 parts:<br /><ul><li>Ground layer
Tree layer</li></li></ul><li>Ground layer…<br /><ul><li> Little sunlight reaches the layer
Very sparse undergrowth with exception of few shrubs.</li></li></ul><li>Tree layer…<br /><ul><li>Trees are usually uniform in height
Trees grow close together in competition for sunlight.</li></li></ul><li>
Importance 0f Forests…<br />Forests are intimately linked to the physical, economic and spiritual well-being of people. They provided the basic essential environment & resources for some ancient civilizations to develop & flourish. They are also the sources of our spiritual & artistic inspirations & the storehouses of natural beauty & riches.<br />
Green Lungs of the earth…<br />Trees produce it’s own food through photosynthesis.<br />Caron dioxide is absorbed in the process & oxygen is produced.<br />
Habitats<br />All forests provide three essential life-giving elements:<br /><ul><li>Water
Shelter.</li></ul>Forests are natural home for many plants & animals.<br />Forests have long been the source of food for humans since their early days as hunters and gathers. Forests are important for humans as they provide with suitable land to carry out traditional shifting cultivation.<br />
Raw Materials<br />There are two types of timber:<br />Hardwood<br />Softwood.<br />
Recreational Areas<br />Forests are popular for out door activities such as camping, fishing, sight-seeing and hiking.<br />
Water Catchment Basins<br />Forests are important water catchment basins. The quantity as well as the quality of water in the rivers & lakes depend on size.<br />Forests are also important for controlling flooding in the lowlands.<br />