Shrublands are a distinct biome called for the numerous fragrant, semi-woody plants that flourish there. They have hot, dry summers and chilly, damp winters, making them one of the wet and dry biomes. Shrublands are found in temperate regions around the world, but they are most common in North America and Europe.
A shrubland is a plant community dominated by shrubs. Other species may be present, such as trees, herbs, or lianas, but if these other species do not produce large seeds or spread by underground rhizomes, they are considered part of the shrub layer rather than the forest layer. The word "shrub" comes from the Latin shrubia, meaning herbaceous plants with small woody stems. Thus, a shrub is any herbaceous plant with small woody stems. In general, these are plants that can be cut back to promote new growth or can be burned during high-intensity fire management practices. Trees, conifers, and angiosperms are all included in this definition.
In addition to being dominated by shrubs, shrublands are also characterized by their structure. Most commonly, they are thought of as flat or gently rolling vegetation patterns with some degree of exposure.
Shrublands are often found between 30 and 40 degrees North and South latitude in locations such as southern California, Chile, Mexico, southwest Africa, and Australia. For example, in California, where winter temperatures can drop to near 0 degrees F, many species of heath have evolved that can withstand such cold by having their leaves reduce water loss through transpiration and by forming small bulbs that allow them to store food during cold periods.
In addition to heaths, other common shrubland species include brambles, blackberries, rhododendrons, and mountain laurels. The most extensive region of shrubland is found on oceanic islands where trees are unable to grow because of limited soil nutrients and extreme weather conditions. On these islands you will find hundreds of species of flowering plants, many of which are unique to each island group.
On land, shrubs compete with trees for sunlight and nutrients. However, on islands where trees are unable to grow, shrubs take over because they can reach maturity faster than trees. This allows new shoots to develop and replace older ones lost to disease or damage from humans. In this way, islands provide fertile ground for the evolution of new plant species.
Shrublands play a significant role in the intermediate successional community. The canopy is dominated by shrubs, as the name implies, but small trees, snags, grasses, and herbaceous vegetation also contribute to the dynamic structural composition. The dominant bushes present are determined by soil moisture....
Shrublands store carbon dioxide that would otherwise enter Earth's atmosphere due to their ability to grow back after they have been cut down for fuel or other uses. This process of regrowth helps reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere that could cause climate change.
Additionally, shrublands provide food and shelter for many species of animals, including birds. They can also influence climate through their effect on water storage and distribution. For example, areas with large numbers of shrubs tend to be more humid than others with less vegetative cover.
Shrublands occur in different types of ecosystems across the world. In tropical climates, these communities are often called savannas because they have many similarities with the wooded grasslands found in tropical Africa. In temperate regions, they are known as dry forests because they typically receive only slightly more rainfall than deserts do. In both cases, the predominant plant species are usually shrubby trees or small trees that grow in clusters called stands.
Chaparral, woods, and savanna are examples of shrublands. Shrubs and small trees make up the shrublands. Many bushes flourish on rocky, steep hillsides. Tall trees are frequently unable to survive due to a lack of moisture. Because shrublands are often open, grasses and other short plants grow in between the bushes. Animals that live in shrublands include kangaroos, raccoons, mice, squirrels, and birds.
Woods are areas where many large trees grow close together. This article will not go into detail about different types of forests because there are so many varieties it would be impossible to cover them all here. However, some of the most common types of forests found in North America include pine forests, hardwood forests, oak forests, redwood forests, and deciduous forests. Woods can be further divided into two groups: closed-canopy forests, where only a few tall trees can be found, and open-canopy forests, where many trees grow large enough for their seeds to fall to the ground instead of reaching the sky. Closed-canopy forests tend to have less light and heat than open-canopy forests since more sunlight is blocked by the high canopy of trees.
Savannas are areas where several species of plants that like full sun grow together. Some common savanna plants include gingko, banyan, baobab, and acacia. Savannas are found in parts of Africa, South Asia, and Latin America.
Shrublands are defined by a plant community dominated by woody shrubs with a height of less than 3-5 m and a thin herbaceous understory composed primarily of grass, herbs, and geophytes. Other species present include small trees, large trees, or flowering plants.
The majority of shrublands are found in temperate regions around the world where there is a dry season and a wet season. During the dry season, the soil becomes too dry for most plants to grow, so only those species that can go without water for several months compete for space. In the spring when rain falls, the woody plants spread their roots over a wide area to reach as much water as possible, while the grasses and herbs in the understory grow taller because they don't need as much water. By late summer or early fall, when drought again sets in, many of the woody plants die back down to earthbound stems called stolons, which send out new shoots the next year from where they left off last year. This is why some shrublands look different each time you visit them: new plants have grown where those killed by drought once stood.
In more humid regions such as the southeastern United States, woody plants do not require dry soil to survive, so they can thrive even during the dry season.