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02 A mérsékelt éghajlati övezet élővilága

2014.12.11

The Temperate Climate Zone

 

Temperate climate zone: between Tropics and arctic or antarctic circles

 

MEDITERRANEAN CLIMATE

Around the Mediterranean Sea

4 seasons:

  • Warm, dry summer
  • Mild, rainy winter
  • Long, pleasant spring and autumn
  •  

Plants

Forests:

  • Glossy, waxy leaves
  • Cork oak: thick bark - cork
  • Ancient forests were almost completely destroyed

Macchia: evergreen shrubs and small trees

  • Small leathery leaves
  • Plants are aromatic and contain oils

 

Animals

Chamaeleon

  • Grained skin, colour can be changed
  • Five toes are fused into a group of two and a group of three
  • Eyes can be moved and focused independently
  • Carnivores: feed insects, spiders, scorpions
  • Long, sticky tongue
  • Reproduction: lay eggs

 

 

TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FORESTS

Marine or continental climate, where rainfall is more than 500 mm/year

Winter: trees lose their leaves

 

Beech forests

  • Climate: cooler, wetter
  • Canopy layer: dense (forest is dark)

Beech tree:

  • 40 m high
  • Egg-shaped leaves, edges are smooth or toothed
  • Bark: smooth, light grey
  • Fruit: beechnut
  • Monoecious tree

 

Oak forests

  • Warmer climate
  • Trees 30-40 m high
  • Canopy is not so closed, forest is brighter
  • Undergrowth is rich

Oak tree:

  • Shiny dark green lobed leaves
  • Wide-spreading crown
  • Dark and deeply cracked bark
  • Fruit: acorn
  • Monoecious plant

 

ANIMALS OF BEECH FORESTS

Fat dormouse

  • Thick, soft, brownish grey (at the under parts creamy white) fur
  • Long, bushy tail, big eyes, small ears
  • Omnivores, rodents
  • They spend winter in hibernation

Tawny owl

  • Big, round head
  • Brown plumage
  • Hunts at night: good eyesight and hearing
  • Feeds rodents

European wildcat

  • Closely related to domestic cats, but stronger and larger
  • Greyish-brown fur with black stripes
  • Good eyesight and hearing
  • Carnivores, predators: they feed rodents and birds
  • They hunt on their own, attack with surprise

 

 

Temperate grasslands

  • Rainfall: low
  • High temperature range
  • Soil: rich, thick humus layer
  • Strong winds
  • Plants: grasses are dominant
  • Fires: grasses can tolerate, prevent trees from growing

 

Animals

Prairie dog

  • Reddish brown coat on the top, creamy-white on the under part
  • Round head, big eyes, tiny ears
  • Strong claws for digging, strong teeth for chewing
  • Rodents: feed bulbs, roots, leaves, insects
  • They live in systems of burrows
  • In winter: hibernation
  • 2-9 pups

Pronghorn

  • Fur: yellowish brown with white patches
  • Horns: male and female
  • Two hooves
  • They are ruminants
  • Live in North America

Coyote

  • Look like wolves, smaller body, narrower nose and longer ears
  • Elongated body with long bushy tail
  • Colour of the coat is a mix of yellow, brown and grey
  • Carnivore: feeds rabbits, insects, rodents
  • Reproduction: the females give birth to about six blind pups. Their mother provides them with milk for six weeks

 

 

THE TAIGA

Located in Canada, Alaska, northern Asia and northern Europe between 50 degrees latitude north and Arctic Circle

Climate:

  • Winter is very long and very cold
  • Summer is short and quite warm
  • Spring and autumn are very short
  • Precipitation: few and usually solid (snow, plants can not absorb it)

 

Coniferous Forests

  • Long, narrow leaves
  • Waxy coating reduces moisture loss
  • Resin: water does not freeze inside
  • Evergreens: can take advantage of the short growing season
  • Triangular shape: allows snow to fall from the branches
  • Soil: thin and lacking in nutrients (slow decomposition)

Levels

  • Canopy: dense
  • Undergrowth: shady, poor
  • Ground: thick layer of mosses

 

Plants

Norway spruce

  • Cone-shaped crown
  • Reddish-brown bark flakes off in thin plates
  • 2 cm long dark green needles are attached singly to the shoots
  • Cone: reddish brown, 10-15 cm long
  • Wood: soft, is used for making furniture

European Larch

  • Live in the coolest and driest places of the taiga

Needles:

  • Soft, 2-3 cm long
  • They are found in groups on the branches (30-40)
  • They turn yellow before shedding

Tiny, egg-shaped cones

Bark: deeply cracked, greyish-brown

Silver Birch

  • Medium-sized tree
  • White, later deeply cracked bark
  • Deltoid-shaped and toothed leaves
  • The flowers hang in catkins (wind pollinates)
  • Ripened wing seeds are carried by the wind

 

Acid rain

  • Nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides: come from industry, car traffic
  • Dissolved in rain: acid rain
  • Kills the pine trees, pollutes the soil

 

ANIMALS OF THE TAIGA ZONE

Red squirrel

  • Coat is brownish-red, white on the underside
  • Long bushy tail (helps them balance when jumping)
  • Ears end in fur tufts
  • Back legs are stronger than the front
  • Sharp curved claws (help in climbing)
  • Rodent, omnivore: feeds on seeds of conifer cones, fungi, berries, bird eggs and nestlings
  • Hibernates in winter, but wakes up occasionally to eat from stored seeds and nuts
  • Reproduction: two litters a year (3-6 naked, blind babies)

Wood grouse

  • Large dark grey birds
  • Short rounded wings
  • Curved beak
  • Scratching legs
  • Cock: bigger than the hen, red spot of naked skin over the eyes
  • Feathered legs (protects against snow and cold)
  • Herbivore: feeds on needles, seeds, berries, insects
  • Nest on the ground, 5-10 eggs

Lynx

  • Medium-sized cat
  • Brownish grey fur with black spots
  • Collar fur around the face
  • Short tail
  • Fur tuft on the tip of the ears
  • Fur covered pads on the feet
  • Live alone
  • Carnivore: preys on hares, rodents, birds
  • Reproduction: 2-3 helpless and blind kittens