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Types of terrestrial ecosystems and examples

Our planet is a place full of life. However, each space has its own characteristics of flora and fauna. These spaces are what is called an ecosystem, and it is formed by the set of living beings that are related to the environment and to each other. On Earth there is a great diversity of natural ecosystems, both terrestrial and aquatic.

On this occasion, we are going to delve into natural terrestrial ecosystems, which can be very varied and which, broadly speaking, are mainly determined by the type of flora that we are going to find in each one of them. If you want to discover all the different types of terrestrial ecosystems that exist, as well as some of their most famous examples, continue reading AgroCorrn because in this article we will tell you about it and show you images of terrestrial ecosystems .

  1. What are ecosystems
  2. List of types of terrestrial ecosystems
  3. Forests and jungles
  4. Scrub
  5. Grasslands, another of the important types of terrestrial ecosystems
  6. Natural terrestrial ecosystems absent of vegetation

What are ecosystems

Ecosystems can be defined as biological systems made up of living beings and the environment they inhabit. In this delimited environment, living beings have interactions within the same species and between different species, as well as with abiotic factors or elements of the environment.

Ecosystems can be terrestrial, aquatic and mixed , depending on whether land or water predominates or if it is a place where both elements are very present or in a similar quantity. To expand on this topic, we advise you to read another article on What is an ecosystem .

Thus, terrestrial ecosystems are spaces in which there are living beings and non-living elements and in which the land predominates, although of course there is also the presence of water. Here we detail more about what is a terrestrial ecosystem and its characteristics .

List of types of terrestrial ecosystems

These are the main types of terrestrial ecosystems :

  • Forests and jungles: rainforest, dry forest, temperate hardwood forest, temperate coniferous forest, subtropical coniferous forest and taiga.
  • Shrublands: shrubland, xerophilous and moorland.
  • Grasslands: meadow, alpine meadow, steppe and savanna.
  • Terrestrial ecosystems without vegetation (or with very little): tundra, desert and Indlandsis.

Next, we will explain more about all these examples of terrestrial ecosystems .

Forests and jungles

¿ What are the types of terrestrial ecosystems ? We will begin by talking about forests , which are the terrestrial ecosystems that have the greatest richness in their biodiversity precisely due to the lush flora that characterizes them. They are divided into two types, the leafy forests, characterized by having broad-leaved trees, and the coniferous forests, characterized by having needle-like leaves. In addition, there are other classes of terrestrial ecosystems related to forests, such as jungles and taigas . We tell you about them below:


Within the terrestrial environment we find the jungles. It is a type of lush forest that stands out for being the ecosystem where the richness of biodiversity is most abundant. They are located in tropical and subtropical areas and are associated with very humid and very rainy areas. A good example of this type of terrestrial ecosystem is found in the Amazon jungle.

To learn more about these types of terrestrial ecosystems, we recommend you read these other posts about the Jungle Ecosystem and its characteristics and What animals live in the rainforest .

Dry forest or dry forest

It is also a lush forest and is located in tropical and subtropical areas. But, in this case, it is an ecosystem where the rains are less abundant. We can find them in some regions of India, Southeast Asia, some areas of Mexico or in the Caribbean among others. Learn more about this biome in this other article about the Dry Forest: characteristics, flora and fauna .

Temperate deciduous forest

As its name suggests, it is also a forest of leafy plants. They are forests that occur in even less humid areas but with marked rainy seasons. The best example is found in the Mediterranean forests. Here we discover what animals live in the temperate forest .

Temperate coniferous forest

Another type of coniferous forest. It is characterized by being made up of trees such as pine, cedar, fir or redwood. They are located in elevated areas and with a temperate climate. We can find them both in North America and in Europe and Asia, as well as in some regions of the Atlas Mountains, in Africa.

Subtropical coniferous forest

As its name indicates, it is a coniferous forest but it is located in the subtropical regions. Its main representative is found in pine, and some examples are found in Mexico and the Caribbean, northern India and the Philippines.

Find out more about Coniferous Forests: characteristics, flora and fauna here.


It is the first of the coniferous forests. They are usually located in cold areas, which implies a lower biodiversity. The soil has mosses of various types, as well as lichens. We find it mainly in countries like Canada and Russia, as well as in the Scandinavian peninsula. Learn more about What is taiga and its characteristics in this other post.

Learn more about these types of terrestrial ecosystems with this other AgroCorrn article on Types of forests: names, characteristics and photos .


Another of the terrestrial natural ecosystems that we find on our planet beyond the forests are the scrub ecosystems . In this case, they are characterized by the absence of trees and, instead, we find medium-sized vegetation, such as shrubs or bushes.


Depending on the type of flora, it receives one name or another: heath, jaral, Mediterranean scrub, etc. We find it scattered in many areas of the globe, although the Mediterranean scrub is a good example.


This type of ecosystem is typical of very dry areas and that could be called semi-desert. It is characterized by plants such as some types of cacti, thorns, and brambles. We find it especially in North Africa, the Arabian peninsula, the Gobi desert and Australia. Here you can know what are xerophytic plants, their characteristics and examples .


They are bushes associated with a humid and mountain climate, that is, of high altitude. They can be found in both America and Africa, as well as, especially, in New Guinea. Discover much more about these types of terrestrial ecosystems with this other article about the Páramo: characteristics, flora and fauna .

Learn more about scrublands with this other AgroCorrn post about scrublands: what they are, types and fauna .

Grasslands, another of the important types of terrestrial ecosystems

Continuing with the categories and examples of terrestrial ecosystems, we find grasslands that, as their name suggests, are characterized by a type of flora based on herbs rather than trees or shrubs. These are its different types:


A grassland typical of temperate climates and areas with a very defined rainy season. They are the lands that the human being prefers when turning them into agricultural areas. Prairies can be found in many areas of the planet, although the central United States should be highlighted as one of the largest of all. Discover the Prairie Animals in this other article .

Alpine meadow

It is characterized by being a meadow typical of the highest areas above sea level. Some examples can be found in the Alps, Tibet or the Andes.


Similar to the prairie but typical of the most arid climates. One of the best examples of steppe is found in some areas of Mongolia, Kazakhstan or Australia.


A grassland typical of tropical or subtropical areas and that is usually bordering on jungle areas. The center of the African continent is the quintessential example, although we can also find it in northern Australia and some areas of South America.

If you want to discover more about this terrestrial ecosystem, we recommend reading these other posts about the Savannah Ecosystem: characteristics, flora and fauna and Palm Savannah: characteristics, flora and fauna .

Natural terrestrial ecosystems absent of vegetation

Beyond the herbaceous ecosystems we find some terrestrial ecosystems that, being very scarce in their biodiversity and especially in terms of flora, are also natural terrestrial ecosystems. These are types and examples of terrestrial ecosystems with no or almost no vegetation :


It is an ecosystem that can present some types of grass although, in general, it stands out because the only thing it has are lichens and mosses. It occurs in very cold areas, so it has a frozen subsoil. The best example is found in the Arctic regions bordering Canada and Russia.

We show you more details about the Tundra: characteristics, flora and fauna in this other article .


It is an ecosystem that is characterized by great heat and a great absence of humidity. Deserts can be found in very varied areas and the most extreme and clear examples are found in the Sahara desert and the Middle East area.

Learn more about this ecosystem in these other posts about the Desert Ecosystem: characteristics, flora and fauna and What animals are in the desert .

Inland ice

It is a polar desert. In this case, the cold and humidity have created a constantly frozen surface, so that most of its biodiversity is concentrated on the fringes of the frozen zones. We find it mainly in the Arctic area and on the continent of Antarctica.

For more information, here below you can see a video about the different types of ecosystems, including terrestrial ones.

If you want to read more articles similar to Types of terrestrial ecosystems and examples , we recommend that you enter our Ecosystems category .

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Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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