Climate and Vegetation Distribution

There is a close relationship between climate patterns and the distribution of various types of vegetation. Climate as an important factor that plays a major role in the distribution of flora and fauna. Different climatic factors in an area cause different types of plants and animals. Check out the more detailed explanation below:

Climate Definition

Climate is the long-term average of weather conditions for a location on Earth or other planets. Some of the meteorological variables that are usually measured are temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, and precipitation. A location’s climate is affected by its latitude, terrain, and altitude, as well as nearby bodies of water and currents. The study of climate is studied in climatology. More generally, the “climate” of an area is the general condition of the climate in that location at a certain time.

Climates can be classified according to the averages and ranges of various variables, usually temperature and precipitation. The most commonly used classification is the Köppen climate classification. The Thornthwaite system, used since 1948, combines evapotranspiration with temperature and precipitation information for use in studying biodiversity and how climate change affects it. The Bergeron Synoptic and Spatial Classification System focuses on the origin of air masses that determines the climate of a region. The climate in a place on earth is influenced by the geographic location and topography of that place.

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The influence of the relative position of the sun to a place on earth gives rise to seasons, which distinguish one climate from another. Climate differences result in several climate classification systems. Based on the relative position of a place on earth to the equator, it is known that areas with general climate similarity due to differences and patterns of changes in air temperature, namely the tropics (23.5°N-23.5°S), subtropics (23.5° N-40°N and 23°S-40°S), moderate (40°N-66.5°N and 40°S-66.5°S), and polar (66.5°N-90°N and 66.5°S-90°S). Seasons in Indonesia are divided into 2 types, namely the rainy season and the dry season. The division of 2 seasons in Indonesia is because Indonesia has a tropical climate.

Definition of Vegetation

Vegetation (from English: vegetation) in ecology is the term for the entire community of plants in a certain place, including both the communal mix of the constituent flora types and the land cover (ground cover) they form [1]. Vegetation is that part of life made up of plants that occupies an ecosystem, or, to a lesser extent, an ecological niche.

Different types of forests, gardens, grasslands and tundra are examples of vegetation. The term vegetation is distinct, and broader in scope, from flora. The definition of flora only refers to the richness of plant species that exist in a certain area or period of time; while vegetation is also characterized by a richness of life form (life form), structure, periodicity; as well as by special floristic features. The term vegetation or vegetation type has almost the same meaning, and is often used interchangeably, with a plant community; but the latter generally has a narrower coverage area.

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Vegetation types are distinguished based on certain floristic characters, for example the association of dominant species, or environmental characteristics such as soil type and climate. Vegetation analysis is usually carried out by ecologists to study the abundance of types and structures (biomass, growing density, canopy layers, etc.) of vegetation in an area. By analyzing the distribution of floristics, it will be easier for ecologists to study a plant community.

Climate and Vegetation Relations

Climate is an important factor that plays a major role in the distribution of flora and fauna. Different climatic factors in an area cause different types of plants and animals. Regions with extreme climate patterns such as the poles which have very low temperatures and deserts which have very high temperatures result in the distribution of flora and fauna not being optimal because it is very difficult for plant and animal life.

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Therefore, the distribution of flora and fauna in this area is very small, thus affecting the number and types of flora and fauna. Conversely, in areas with tropical climates, the distribution of flora and fauna varies, resulting in an increase in both number and species. The tropics are areas that are very rich in the diversity of flora and fauna, because in this area they get enough sunlight and rain, this situation is different from the polar regions and desert areas.

Variations in temperature in the region will affect how flora and fauna can respond to the influence of the surrounding environment so that they can maintain their lives. Climate has several forming elements that affect the distribution of living things, namely:

  • Temperature: As a quantitative measure of temperature; hot and cold, measured with a thermometer. Air temperature conditions certainly greatly affect the life of plants and animals. Plants and animals have different levels of response to environmental influences. Each species has different ideal environmental temperature requirements to survive, for example. Plants and animals that are in the tropics cannot survive if they occupy areas with desert or cold climates. Tropical climate plants and animals do not have a high level of resistance to extreme temperature differences between day and night.
  • Air humidity is the amount of water vapor contained in the air, which can be measured with a hygrometer. The level of air humidity directly affects the pattern of distribution of plants on earth. Some plant species are very suitable for living in dry areas, on the other hand there are plant species which only survive on land with high moisture content, for example mangroves planted in areas with high humidity, these mangroves will develop and have maximum productivity. conversely, if the mangroves are planted in areas that have low humidity, the mangroves will not be productive and develop optimally. Based on the level of humidity, plants can be divided into four main groups, namely:
    • Hydrophytes: Plant groups that require wet, watery soil conditions or settle in waters. Example: Lotus and Water hyacinth
    • Xerophytes: A group of plants that live in dry places or where the humidity is low. Example: Cactus and Ephorbia
    • Mesophytes: Group of plants that live in damp or semi-wet places Example: Orchids and Mushrooms
    • Tropophytes: A group of plants that are able to adapt to changes in dry and rainy seasons, usually in tropical monsoon climates. Example: Teak trees.
  • Wind: is the movement of air from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. In the process of dispersing living things, the wind functions as a means of transportation that moves the seeds of several plant species and helps the pollination process, both natural and cross-pollinated. In addition, the wind also distributes water vapor or rain from one place to another. That’s why the wind affects the climate.
  • Rainfall: The amount of rain that falls (falls) in an area in a certain period of time; abundant(an) rain. For living things, water is a primary need because water is the source of life. The importance of water for the life of biodiversity results in the distribution of living things between regions. The distribution of various living things usually depends on the intensity of rainfall. As a result of differences in rainfall in each region on the earth’s surface, it causes differences in the types of animals and variations in the characteristics of the vegetation that inhabit these areas. The importance of water for life has resulted in the pattern of distribution and density of living things between regions in general depending on the amount of rainfall.
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The various impacts of climate change are also discussed in the book Educomics Plants Vs Zombies: Weather and Climate which is packaged through illustrations so that it is easier to understand.

The character of the vegetation that covers the tropical rain forest is very much different from the vegetation that covers the monsoon, steppe or desert areas. The character of the vegetation in the monsoon region is dominated by deciduous plants to maintain moisture during the dry season. Desert areas are dominated by plant species that are highly resistant to drought. The specificity of the pattern and characteristics of this vegetation certainly results in the presence of animals that are unique to certain vegetation environments . There are many more compared to areas that are relatively drier.