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Mediterranean Vegetation

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  • Last Updated : 04 Aug, 2022
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A group of plants that grow naturally without human assistance is called natural vegetation. For a long time, they were also not exposed to human influence. This is what we call virgin plants. Cultivated fruits and crops and orchards are considered plants, but not natural plants. Plants from a particular region or period are called flora. The word “fauna” refers to an animal species.

Mediterranean vegetation refers to a biome of broad leaves evergreen scrubs, bushes and small trees, which height is mostly  2.5 meters tall and growing in the regions 30 degree and 40 degree north and south latitudes.

Mediterranean Vegetation

Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and shrubs are WWF-designated biomes. Biomes are generally characterized by dry summers and rainy winters, but rainfall may be uniform in some areas. Summers are generally hot in inland areas in the lowlands but can be cool near cooler waters. Winters are generally mild or cool in the lowlands but can be cold on land and in the highlands. All these ecoregions are very unique and together contain 10% of the Earth’s plant species.

Mediterranean vegetation shows some adaptability to frequent drought, grazing, and wildfire regimes. The small scaly leaves that characterize many of the perennials and shrubs in this biome help conserve water and prevent nutrient loss. Soils are generally fertile soils and many plant species have a symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Some trees have thick, hard bark that is resistant to fire, such as the Mediterranean cork  (Quercus suber) oak. Other plants, such as Australian grass (Xanthorrhoea) and South African aloes (Aloe), retain dense dead leaves around their stems to provide insulation against the heat of a bushfire. In addition, some plants have moist tissue that both insulates and protects against water loss in the event of a fire. This strategy is common in some Cape Floral Protea species, which have cork tissues to protect their shoots from drying out. Still, others are actually high in flammable essential oils and are easy to regrow after a fire. Herbivorous mammals are common among Mediterranean vegetation. These include deer, wild sheep and goats, small antelopes in southern Africa, and kangaroos in Australia.

The Mediterranean region lies between north and south latitudes about 30° to 40°  on the western side of the continent. Temperatures in these areas range from warm to hot during the high dry season with high evaporation rates and mild during the low dry season with reduced evaporation. These regions are therefore described as “rainy in winter and dry in summer” climates. The climate chart shows a range of Mediterranean climates differing only in the degree of summer drought.  The arid summer climate of the Mediterranean regions is the result of seasonal variations in the position of subtropical high-pressure systems semi-permanent centered on tropical deserts almost above the tropics of Capricorn and Evil. The westerly winds generated will provide a steady stream of dry and warm air to  Mediterranean regions, some areas like Santa Ana which can be quite strong with real fire. As the subtropical convection recedes toward the equator during winter, oceanic air masses and cyclonic storms develop along the poles into the Mediterranean region, bringing coolness and humidity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What types of plants are found in the Mediterranean region?   

Answer:

Mediterranean vegetation is dominated by evergreen shrubs and foliage adapted to a unique climate regime of cool, wet winters with summer drought and rare frosts.

Question 2: Why is there so little wildlife in the Mediterranean?  

Answer:

The Mediterranean region lacks adequate wildlife as much of the forest has been cleared to expand cultivation. This has resulted in a significant decline in wildlife in the area.

Question 3: What are the characteristics of Mediterranean plants?  

Answer:

Mediterranean Vegetation, is low, dense vegetation consisting of hardwood evergreen shrubs, shrubs, and small trees, typically less than 2.5 m (about 8 ft) tall and growing in areas located between 30° and 40° N and 30° S.

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