Ecosystem Geography by Robert G. Bailey (auth.)

By Robert G. Bailey (auth.)

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The system consists of a method for defining successively smaller ecoclimatic regions within larger regions. At each successive level, a different aspect of the climate and vegetation is assigned prime importance in placing map boundaries. We describe in the following chapters the factors that are thought to differentiate ecoclimatic units and the scale at which they operate. CHAPTER 5 Macroscale: Macroclimatic Differentiation W e describe climate primarily in terms of temperature, movement, and water content of (and precipitation from) air masses.

When subdividing them into ever smaller units, we must prioritize each component to reflect its level of control on the location, size, productivity, structure, and function of the system. Thus, components that exert the most control are highest in the classification. The differentiating criteria at the upper levels are broad and general in importance with the greatest control, whereas those at lower levels are narrow and more specific in importance. Climate zones, for example, determine the global patterns of ecosystems.

In Russia, Berg (Isachenko 1973) detailed landscape zones based on climate, whereas similar work was developed by Passage (Troll 1971) in Germany and Galoux (Delvaux and Galoux 1962) in Belgium. Some systems for the classification of climates (Koppen 1931; Thornthwaite 1931, 1948) seek to define climatic units that will correspond to major vegetation units. , Merriam 1898; Hopkins 1938) have sought to define life zones primarily on the basis of climate. The system of Holdridge (1947; Tosi 1964) uses a complex classification of zones by both temperature and moisture conditions.

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