Vegetation Resources in Ecology: Definition, Types, Importance of Vegetation Resources

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Definition of Vegetation Resources

Vegetation resources in ecology are derived from the forest and Savannah, and are of immerse important to man, animals and plants. It is a key component of an ecosystem and as such, it is involved in the regulation of various biogeochemical cycles, e.g., water, carbon, nitrogen.

Vegetation provides habitat to wildlife and ecosystem services such as food and fuel, timber, cash crops, pulp, fruits, robes, clothes and many game reserves. Vegetation converts solar energy into biomass and forms the base of all food chains in ecology. Vegetation influences the energy balance at the earths surface and within the atmospheric boundary layer, often mitigating extremes of local climate.

Types of vegetation resources

  1. Tundra vegetation
  2. Forests vegetation
  3. Grasslands vegetation
  4. Deserts vegetation

Tundra vegetation: The tundra vegetation is a large flat region of North America, Europe and Asia, which the subsoil is covered with permafrost and it is about 1500 ft deep. The tundra has fewer trees with stunted shrubs, which include lichens, mosses and sedges. The soil is covered with permafrost, winters are dry and very long, and the growth of plants is restricted. Examples of plants in the tundra vegetation include birches, willow trees, junipers, mosses, lichens and arctic bluegrasses, catchfly and poppy. See more explanation on tundra.

Forest vegetation: Forest vegetation consists of mainly trees of numerous species which are more luxuriant than those of any climatic region. These trees form a layer of foliage that largely covers the ground and shows stratification with more than one layer. It is characterized with creepers, climbers, trees found have huge buttress roots, and there is present of under growth.

Example of trees found in the forest vegetation include mahogany, ashes, willows, maple, birches, mosses, lichens, rosewoods, mangroves and oaks. These trees are further characterized into evergreen, broadleaf and coniferous deciduous. Forest vegetation is divided into 3 types namely Tropical rainforests, temperate deciduous forests and coniferous forests. Read more here on forest vegetation.

Grassland vegetation: Grassland vegetation is a natural plant cover that is dominated by grass or grass-like vegetation; this grass-like vegetation has been formed by nature.

The grasslands are called by different name in different parts of the world- they are called\Steppes in Russia, Downs in Australia, Veld in South Africa, Savannahs in Central Africa, Prairies in North America, Pampas in South America. Most of the grasslands are located in the temperate zone (between latitude 23 0N and 66 0N in the Northern hemisphere and between latitude 23 0S and 66 0S in the southern hemisphere. See more on grassland vegetation.

Desert vegetation: The desert vegetation is a large dry area covered with sandy soil and rocky soil, the trees in this vegetation include short shrubs which occur in patches and are characterized with thorns, thick stems, long roots and wax coated leaves and stems.

Examples of plants in the desert vegetation are cactus, date palms, acacia, horny bushes and coarse grasses. The deserts vegetation are sometime made up of little or no plants and animals, it has high temperature and receives little amount of rainfall. Example of desert vegetation include South West Australia desert, Arabia, Indian desert, Sahara desert, Atacama Desert, Kalahari Desert. Also, read more on desert biomes.

Importance of Vegetation Resources

  1. Game reserve– All the for types of vegetation (tundra, forest, grassland and desert vegetation) provide a conducive home for wildlife for instance the Yankari game reserve in, Obudu cattle ranch Nigeria, and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.
  2. Timber– forest vegetation provides a lot of timber able trees which are cut down as timber for construction of houses, furniture and Roads.
  3. Tourism– the forest vegetation serves as tourist centers, which generate foreign exchange earning to the countries where they are located.
  4. Employment forest vegetation provides job opportunities for lumbermen, hunters and saw millers.
  5. Foreign exchange and earning– all the various types of vegetation provide revenue and foreign exchange to the countries where they are found.
  6. Wood– woods are also gotten from various types of vegetation and are used for different purposes such as electric pole, planks, scaffolding, firewood and constructions.
  7. Pulp– some forests produce pulp trees which are used for manufacturing papers and cartons.
  8. Food supply– A lot of cash crops, foods crops, fruits and seeds are derived from the vegetation which now serves as food for man. Similarly, animals are equally gotten from the wilds, which serve as sources of protein for man.
  9. Fibres- vegetation also provides fibres which are used for making mats, twines and ropes.
  10. Soil formation– vegetation determines nature of soil formation over time, generally contributing to a more productive soil.
  11. Modification of weather– vegetation releases oxygen and sequesters carbon and also helps in the modification of weather.