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Types Of Ecosystem

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An ecosystem is a term that is commonly used in biology and environmental studies. In general, it is defined as a system or community that includes all living organisms and their non-living components in nature. All of these components work together, either directly or indirectly, to maintain ecological balance. As a result, it is essential to understand the various types of ecosystems and what they contain. 

Types of Ecosystem


1. Aquatic Ecosystem:

This Ecosystem consists of water as the main habitat.

Aquatic Ecosystem classification- 

These are not biomes but categorized on basis of salinity, nutrients, and temperature. There are two main types of aquatic ecosystems.

Freshwater ecosystem: 

  • lotic (moving like the river) ecosystem includes freshwater streams, springs etc.
  • lentic (stagnant like a pond) ecosystem includes pools etc. In this ecosystem, salinity is less than 5 ppt.
  • Wetlands ecosystems are intermediate ecosystems between terrestrial & water habitats (floodplains, littoral, etc). It is a land area that is saturated with water, either permanently or seasonally. 
  • They vary considerably in physical, chemical, and biological characteristics.

There are four types of wetlands: slow-moving

Roots                 Properties Example
  • Herbaceous plants, not woody ones, predominate there. 
  • Grass, rushes, or reeds are predominant. It typically grows along lakes and streams’ edges.
  • Mangroves are plants that grow in marshes. Because roots do not get enough air to breathe, they grow out of soil and water.
  • Semiaquatic plants thrive in marshy environments. Cattails, sedge, grasses, and sphagnum are among the monocot plants grown here. There are also red maple trees and pink oak trees.
  • These are wetlands in a forest. The water is either slow-moving or still. Fresh, brackish, or ocean are all possible candidates.
  • In this, wet soils impede the decomposition of woody waste.
  • Wetland forests include littoral and swamp forests. It is mostly made up of whistling pines, mangrove dates, palms, and other plants.
  • Littoral and swamp forests can be found along the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, as well as in the Ganga and Brahmaputra deltas.
  • It is a type of landform where peat (vegetation that has partially decomposed) accumulates along with acidic, nutrient-poor surface water.
  • Its landform is formed like a dome. It rises above the topography in the area.
  • It serves as a carbon sink and gets the majority of its water from rain.
  • It exhibits characteristics of a cold, moderate boreal climate in the northern hemisphere.
  • Mire (wetland without forest cover, dominated by peat-forming plants).
  • They are of two types- Fern and Bog.
  • It is acidic, neutral, or alkaline since it is nourished by both groundwater and rainfall.
  • It is situated on a slope, a flat area, or a dip and is generally mineral-rich.
  • It possesses traits found in chilly areas like those in western Europe.

Some famous examples of fern forests are-

  • Southern Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum capillus-veneris)
  • Giant Fern (Angiopteris evecta)
  • Bird’s-nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)
  • Basket Fern (Drynaria rigidula)
  • Hart’s-tongue Fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)
  • Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina)
  • Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum pictum)

2. Marine Ecosystem:

  • Oceans cover almost 3/4 of the surface of the Earth. Both the ocean and the coastal ecosystems are included in this ecosystem. Salinity in this habitat is more than 35 ppt (90 percent Sodium chloride).
  • Estuaries are part of it (Coastal bays, river mouths, and tidal marshes forms estuaries).
  • In estuaries, saltwater from the ocean and freshwater from rivers mix together due to the action of the tides. When compared to the nearby river or sea, estuaries are much more productive. Mangroves and coral reefs are also part of it.

3. Terrestrial Ecosystem:

  • An estimated 148 million km2 (29%) of the earth’s surface is taken up by terrestrial ecosystems. They cover a wide range of habitats, including icy polar regions, scorching tropical deserts, and lush temperate and tropical rainforests. 
  • Ecosystems are divided into terrestrial (land ecosystem) and non-terrestrial(non-land ecosystem) categories by their geographical location. The three non-terrestrial habitats are aquatic, marine, and wetlands, whereas the five main terrestrial ecosystems are desert, forest, grassland, taiga, and tundra.

a. Forest Ecosystem:

Type of vegetationFlora and FaunaDistribution
  • Flora- Willows, birches and lichens
  • Fauna- Reindeer, Musk, Ox, Lemmings, Squirrel
  • Two types of Tundra are there- Arctic and Alpine
  • Arctic tundra- Polar ice cap and above tree line in the northern hemisphere and on the south pole, cover small area because most of it is covered by ocean.
  • Alpine tundra- It occurs at the high mountain and are found at all latitudes.  


Coniferous (Boreal or temperate Deciduous forest)

  • Flora- Evergreen plants like spruce, fir, pine etc.
  • Fauna- Lynx, wolf, bear, Redfox.
  • Taiga- In this, tree shed their leaves in the cold season.
  • It is found in areas with warm moist summers and cool winters.
Tropical evergreen forest
  • Flora- Rosewood, Mahoganyincludes, Aini. Ebony
  • It includes the western slope of western ghat hill of Northeast, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Semi-evergreen forest
  • Flora- White-cedar, Hollocks, Kail
  • It includes the western slope of western ghat hill of Northeast, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Deciduous forest 


  • 100 – 200cm- Teak, sal, shisham, hurry, Mahua, Amla, Semul, Kusum, Sandalwood.
  • 70 -100cm- Tendu, palas, amaltas, bel, khair, axlewood.
  • 100 – 200 cm- Include foothills of Himalaya in Northeast India, eastern slopes of western ghats, Orissa.
  • 70 – 100cm- Include rainy areas of the peninsula and plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and some parts of Rajasthan.
Thorn forest
  • Flora- Babool, ber, wild date palm, khair, neem, khejri, palas
  • Punjab, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh
littoral and swamp forest
  • Flora- Mangroves
  • Fauna- the variety of birds
  • It includes reservoirs of the Deccan Plateau, lagoons of the Southwest coast, Saline expanses of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kutch, Freshwater lakes and reservoirs of Gujarat etc.

b. Grassland Ecosystem: types

  • About 10 to 25 percent of the Earth’s surface is made up of the grassland ecosystem. It can be found in areas with annual precipitation of 15 to 75 cm, which is more than a pure desert but not enough to support a forest. Typical grasslands are vegetation types that are typically found in climates with high temperatures.
  • In various parts of the world, these are known by many names, including steppes in Europe and Asia, pampas in South America, Veldt in South Africa, and Downs in Australia.
  • They are primarily located in the high Himalayas of India. Steppes and savanna make up the majority of the remaining grasslands in India. Sand and salty soils are extensively covered by steppe formations.
  • In western Rajasthan, India, where the climate is semi-arid with a dry season lasting 10 to 11 months and an average annual rainfall of less than 20 cm, steppe formations are reported to exist. They take up a lot of space on saline and sandy soil. The soil is always exposed, occasionally rocky, but typically sandy with stationary or moving sand dunes. Only during the brief wet season is forage available. The grass layer is thin and primarily made up of annual grass species.
  • Savannas and steppes differ significantly in that fodder. The former is primarily made up of grasses that grow both during the wet and dry seasons, while in the latter, forage is only present during the brief wet season.
  • Steppes, in contrast, are located in protected places and are farther from the equator. This indicates that their annual precipitation is distributed uniformly. In such arid conditions, fewer big plants can establish themselves. More extreme cold results from distance from the equator, and in certain northern steppes, snowfall rather than rain is typical and slow-moving.

C. Desert Ecosystem:

  • When we hear the word “desert,” the first thing that comes to mind is a largely barren, abandoned, and dry land covered in sand. A desert can be both hot and cold. The desert is one of the world’s driest land areas, receiving very little precipitation each year. It is a land with very little rainfall throughout the year (less than 50 cm per year). The desert ecosystem is the world’s driest ecosystem, which explains why it has less vegetation and less diversity of life. It is a component of the terrestrial ecosystem.
  • In this Ecosystem. the plants and animals can be survived in harsh conditions. A desert ecosystem is essentially devoid of any rainfall or precipitation. In short, a desert ecosystem is a community of living and non-living organisms that coexist and interact in an environment that appears to be abandoned. A desert ecosystem is the result of the interaction of the environment’s biotic and abiotic components.
  • Desert ecosystems do not only exist in hot, dry places on the planet. A desert ecosystem can be found in tropical, arid, and even extremely cold climates. The different types of Desert Ecosystems that exist on the planet are Semi-arid, coastal, cold, hot and dry. 

D.  Mountain Ecosystem:

  • Mountain ecosystem, is a community of living organisms found in mountainous areas. Mountain lands support a diverse range of habitats for a wide variety of plants and animals. Higher altitudes have harsher environmental conditions, and the present account is supported by treeless alpine vegetation. Montane forests are common on lower slopes. At lower elevations, mountain lands transition into other types of landforms and vegetation, such as tropical or temperate forests, savanna, scrubland, desert, or tundra.
  • The Himalaya-Tibet region has the largest and highest area of mountain lands; the longest nearly continuous mountain range in the Americas runs from Alaska in the north to Chile in the south. Other mountainous regions of note include those in Europe (Alps, Pyrenees), Asia (Caucasus, Urals), New Guinea, New Zealand, and East Africa.


Last Updated : 20 Aug, 2023
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