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Ecological Zones

  • By: Andrés D. Izeta
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

An ecological zone is a landscape unit that unites certain interrelated animal and plant communities (biocenosis) with a particular social formation and environmental conditions as part of an integrated system. The definition of an ecological zone relies on flexible criteria. However, humidity and altitude are key factors in terrestrial systems, while salinity and depth are key factors for maritime and continental water environments. Temperature is one of the common elements that affect these environments. All these factors, together with territorial configuration, hydrologic regime, organic matter, mineral content, and isotopic composition of soil or water, define ecological zones and their buffer areas.

The notion of ecological zones can be associated with other landscape ecology concepts, such as ecotope, biome, and niche. An ecotope is a pure ...

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