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What is Biome? Definition, Types, Characteristics, Examples

Last Updated : 04 Mar, 2024
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Biomes are the life zones in which various communities of living organisms showing common types of environmental adaptations survive together. There are 5 major biome types: aquatic, tundra, grassland, desert, and forest though some other biome exists as their sub-division. A biome includes multiple ecosystems that are present in a particular geographical area.

The naming of the biome depends on the dominant feature of the geographical area i.e. if the region is dominated by grass it is called grassland, if the region is dominated by sand then it is called a desert, etc. In this article, we will read about biomes meaning, types, and significance along with the difference between ecosystems and biomes.

Biomes Definition

A biome is a large geographic region characterized by a distinct climate, soil, and vegetation, which in turn determines the types of animal species that inhabit the area.

A biome refers to a large geographical area that is characterized by its distinct set of plants, animals, and environmental conditions. These conditions are influenced by factors like climate, soil type, and topography. Biomes can vary widely, from deserts to rainforests, and each supports a unique ecosystem with its own biodiversity. They play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of life on Earth and are essential for the survival of many species.

Factors that Make a Biome

Four main factors make a biome, these are;

  • Physical and chemical condition of the soil i.e. pH, texture, nutrients, etc.
  • Climatic conditions like temperature, precipitation, etc.
  • Vegetation i.e. availability of herbs, shrubs, trees, etc.
  • Wildlife i.e. availability of insects, birds, fishes, mammals, etc.

Biomes Classification

Biomes can be classified into two categories;

  • Terrestrial Biomes: The biomes which are present in the land and consist of terrestrial ecosystems, fall under the category of terrestrial biomes. These are tropical rainforest, temperate forest, desert, tundra, taiga, grasslands, and savannah.
  • Aquatic Biomes: The biomes which are present in the water and consist of aquatic ecosystems are called aquatic biomes. There are only two types of aquatic biomes; freshwater biome and marine water biome.

Types of Biomes

The biome are based on the climatic condition and availability of the type of vegetation.


Biomes of the World

There are nine types of biomes in the world. These are discussed in detail below.

Tropical rainforest

Some of the characteristics of biome tropical rainforest are:

  • Receives continuous rainfall of around 2000 to 2250 millimeters throughout the year
  • Temperature ranges from 17°C to 25°C
  • Located in tropical regions outside the equator
  • Majority of terrestrial species found here
  • Average climate remains warm and wet
  • Soils are rich in nutrients
  • Boasts tall trees of around 50 meters or above
  • Wide variety of animal species present
  • Maximum terrestrial biodiversity
  • Most significant living biomass

Temperate forest

Some of the characteristics of temperate forest are:

  • Abundance of deciduous trees.
  • Located in the mid-latitude regions, between the Arctic poles and the tropics.
  • They receive an average rainfall ranging from 762 to 1524 millimeters and experience temperatures between -30°C to 30°C.
  • Temperate deciduous forests undergo distinct seasonal changes, including spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
  • Vegetation in these forests includes a variety of trees such as birch and oak, as well as herbs like ferns and grasses.
  • The fauna of temperate deciduous forests is diverse, encompassing animals like bees, mosquitoes, frogs, snakes, hawks, owls, squirrels, and tigers.

Biome Desert

Some of the characteristics of biome desert are:

  • Dry and hot or cold, with very little precipitation, often receiving around 254 millimeters or no rainfall at all.
  • Hot deserts typically experience temperatures ranging from 45°C to 50°C, while cold deserts have temperatures that can drop to less than -30°C.
  • Found in both sub-tropical and polar regions around the globe.
  • Vegetation in deserts is sparse, consisting mainly of plants with thick or modified leaves that can store water and minimize water loss.
  • Animal biodiversity in deserts is limited, with species adapted to survive in extreme desert conditions.

Biome of Tundra

Some of the characteristics of biome of tundra are:

  • Snow-covered region devoid of trees, primarily found in Polar Regions.
  • Temperatures range from 3°C to less than -34°C, with minimal rainfall.
  • Vegetation mainly comprises low shrubs, herbs, and mosses due to the harsh climate.
  • Animal biodiversity is low in tundra biomes, with only species adapted to cold environments able to survive.

Biome Taiga

Some of the characteristics of biome tropical rainforest are:

  • Dense forest region located in the cold sub-arctic area.
  • Annual precipitation in the Taiga ranges from approximately 380 to 1000 millimeters, with temperatures typically between -5°C and 5°C.
  • Vegetation in the Taiga is specialized for cold climates and includes cone-bearing trees, needle-shaped leaves, and scaly-leaved trees.
  • The Taiga biome supports a variety of animals adapted to cold environments, such as rodents, owls, moose, bears, and others.

Biome Grassland

Some of the characteristics of biome grassland are:

  • Found in tropical and temperate regions and are dominated by grasses.
  • They typically receive an annual rainfall ranging from 150 to 750 millimeters, which is insufficient to support the growth of trees.
  • Vegetation in grasslands mainly includes grass, herbs, and shrubs.
  • These areas are rich in herbivores and their predators, including top carnivores and reptiles.

Biome Savannah

Some of the characteristics of biome savannah are:

  • A form of grassland biome that has sparse distribution of tall trees also
  • semi-arid climate with wet and dry seasons
  • Plant and animal biodiversity is similar to the grassland biome


Some of the characteristics of freshwater are:

  • Form of aquatic ecosystem
  • Includes freshwater bodies: lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.
  • Low or negligible salt content
  • Comprises only 2% of the aquatic biome
  • Abundant aquatic plants, animals, and organisms
  • Vital water source for terrestrial organisms

Marine water

Some of the characteristics of marine water are:

  • High salt concentrations
  • Accounts for 98% of the aquatic biome
  • Rich in biodiversity, with coastal regions harboring the majority of species

Biome vs ecosystem

The difference between Biomes and Ecosystem are given below:





covers large, distinct geographical region covering multiple ecosystems

localized, self-contained specific areas


large geographical areas

varies in size from micro to vast landscapes


tropical rainforests, tundras, deserts, grasslands

Forests, lakes, deserts, coral reefs.


characterized by climate and dominant vegetation

characterized by species interactions and habitat


supports variety of ecosystem and habitats within

unique composition of species

Species Distribution

influences species distribution

determine species distribution within localized habitats.


Shape biome’s structure: climate, vegetation, soil types

Drive ecosystem dynamics: energy flow, nutrient cycling, population dynamics.


species adapt to specific environmental conditions

Species adapt to local conditions within ecosystem

Also Read: Difference Between Ecosystem and Biome

Significance of Biomes

There are various importance of biomes which are stated below:

  • Biomes help us to understand how ecosystems differ from each other.
  • Monitor changes occurring in various ecosystems.
  • It helps to estimate the productivity of the ecosystems and the effect of climatic changes on them.
  • To understand the type and significance of interactions with various plants and animals.
  • The resources, habits, and habitats are dictated by the biome one lives on.
  • Various ecological services like carbon sinks, natural resource reserves, etc. are unique to each biome.

Conclusion: What is Biome? Definition, Types, Characteristics, Examples

Biomes is a large geographic region characterized by a distinct climate, soil, and vegetation, which in turn determines the types of animal species that inhabit the area. The 5 major biome types include – aquatic, tundra, grassland, desert, and forest. Each biome consists of multiple ecosystems within a geographic area.

Also Read:

FAQs on Biome – Definition, Types, Characteristics, Examples

What is Biome Definition Ecology?

Biome refers to a large geographical area characterized by distinct types of ecosystems, communities, and climates, encompassing diverse flora and fauna adapted to specific environmental conditions.

What is a Biome vs. Ecosystem?

A biome includes various ecosystems and climates across a large geographical area, whereas an ecosystem refers to a smaller, localized community of organisms and their environment.

What are Biome Animals?

Biome animals are species that have adapted to thrive in specific ecological regions, characterized by distinct climate, vegetation, and environmental conditions.

What are the 7 Major Types of Biomes?

The Earth’s major biomes include tundra, taiga, temperate deciduous forests, grasslands, deserts, tropical rainforests, and tropical seasonal forests.

What do you Mean by Biotic and Abiotic?

Biotic means the living component of an ecosystem i.e. plants, animals, and microorganisms. Whereas abiotic means the non-living component of an ecosystem i.e. soil, rock, water, air, etc.

How Many Biomes are There?

There are generally considered to be around six to eight major biomes, depending on the classification system used.

What are Biome Characteristics?

Biome characteristics include climate, soil type, vegetation, and biodiversity. These factors determine the type of biome and the species that inhabit it.

Name Three Plants and Animals Found in the Desert Biome.

Three plants are; Cactus, Ficus, and Mexican poppies. Three animals are; Geckos, Camels, and Meerkats.

On What Basis the Aquatic Biome is Divided?

The aquatic biome is divided based on the presence of salts in the water bodies. If little or no salt is dissolved in the water body then it is called freshwater biome whereas if the salt concentration is high then it is called aquatic biome.

What are Biome Examples?

Biome examples include tropical rainforests, temperate forests, deserts, tundras, grasslands, savannahs, freshwater ecosystems (like lakes and rivers), and marine ecosystems (such as oceans and coral reefs).

Name Some Ways by Which Humans are Harming the Biomes.

Human activities such as dam construction, deforestation, agriculture, urbanization, pollution, and overexploitation of natural resources are causing significant harm to biomes worldwide.

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