Nature
Nature




Introduction
The Environment around us is amazing. There are non-living things and living things. Plants are living things too. They breathe, they grow and they move. There are known to be about 1 400 000 species of plants and animals are living in our planet. But many biologists believe there are about 10 000 000 species were living in our planet.
Many animals depend on plants. Only plants can produce food and oxygen. Plants produce food during the day. They use carbon dioxide, sunlight and water to produce food. This process is called photosynthesis.
In each habitat forest, desert, sea or any other-the smallest organisms are eaten by larger ones, and they in turn are eaten by still larger creatures. Every species have its place and depends in some way on the others. So, if a single species becomes extinct, the whole balance of the habitat may be threatened.


Many Living
things are divided into
various kingdoms.
Some living things in
the planet are
in a risk now. In Asia
most countries are
trying to rescue those
animals and plants.
Elephants, Pandas and
Rhinoceros are some
animals in a risk.
In this chart
Shows that China
Is Treating the most
Number of species
From those countries
India, China, Brazil
And Sri Lanka.


Monerans

The moneran kingdom contain about 4000 simple organisms, such as bacteria, that are neither plants or animals.


Protista

There are about 50 000 species of protists. They are simple organisms that have some characteristics of both plants and animals. They can only seen by a microscope. They use their own power to move. They produce their food using photosynthesis.

Plants

There are more than 400 000 species of plants in our planet. Plants are the only things that produce food. All animals depend on plants.
The food production in plants are called photosynthesis, and it s only happen during the daylight.
This process is happened in leaves. Plants also breathe, and it happens in the leaves too. They breathe from the holes called stomatas. Those holes are in the back of a leaf.

Large trees help the photosynthesis most. And they are the tallest and oldest living things on earth. Some kind of bushes live up to 11 000 years and some kind of trees height up to 111 meters. Giant Redwood trees in the USA California national park is the best example.

Trees absorb nutrition and water from roots. Roots help from many ways to us and to the environment. Some plants such as potatoes store food in their roots. Roots also help to stop erosion.

Fungi

Fungi include mushrooms, toadstools, puffballs, truffles, yeasts, mildews and moulds. Which are neither plants or Animals. There are over 1 500 000 species of fungi but 100 000 species are identified. They are 550 000 years old. They grow on soil and wood. Some kind of mushrooms are used as food.
Mushrooms reproduce by a spore. When a neutral spore and a positive spore came near the reproductive cycle starts. Then the mushroom begin to grow. When the mushroom was fully grown, it produce spores, and release them into the ground.
Animals

Animal kingdom is the largest kingdom. It may contain more than 10 million species. Unlike plants, animals able to move around. Animal kingdom is divided into 12 divisions. They are Sponges, Coelenterates, Comb Jellies Flatworms, Ribbon worms, Round worms, Lamp shells, True worms, Arthropods, Molluscs, Echinoderms, Chordates. Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes and Birds which we can see each day are Chordates.


Animal Kingdom is the largest kingdom. Corals, Mammals, Reptiles, Fishes, Birds, Insects etc. are belong to this.

Zoogeographic Regions
This map shows Zoogeographical Regions. Each region has different faunas, each kind of animals get used to the region.

When the winter season begins, some birds migrate to countries near to the equator. The forests situated close to the Equator is called tropical rainforests. Birds migrate in a same way. They use a same way and a same time to migrate.
Fishes like salmon migrate to reproduction. They born in rivers and they spend their lives in the sea and they again come into the river where they born and spend their life till they dead.
Animals can’t produce food in their body, but they can move one place to another. Animals range in size from 0.05 millimeters to 30 meters. The largest animal is the Blue Whale. Animals live everywhere in the world, at polar regions, at the desert and at the sea.

Birds are also belongs to the kingdom of Animals. Unlike other animals, birds have wings, but all birds can’t fly. Sparrow, Robin, Parrot etc. can fly, because their wings are suitable for fly. Penguins cannot fly, but they can swim. Ostriches have wings, but they can’t fly. They can run. Birds fly to find food, survive from predators etc.
Some birds are small and some are giants. Hummingbird is the smallest bird. It move it’s wing 22 to 78 times per second. It makes a buzzing sound like a bee when it was flying. Ostriches are the tallest birds. They height up to 8 feet (2.4 m) and weight up to 150 kilo grams and they can run fast as 65 kilo meters an hour.
Birds also have beaks. Meat eaters like eagles have got a curved beak. It was easy to eat meat. Parrot also got a curved beak. But it was a plant eater. It use the beak to eat nuts. Like Cashews. Hummingbirds use the long pin like beak to drink nectar from flowers.


Rain Forests are good homes to many animal species. It is a good biodiversity area for all. 1000 hectares of tropical rainforest contain 1500 species of flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 bird species, 150 types of butterflies, 100 types of reptiles, 60 amphibian species and countless species of insects. Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and it was a home for many species of plants and animals which we cannot be seen in other countries.
This map shows where tropical rain forest are situated.

There is a comfortable temperature of about 25˚C and a rainfall of 1.8 meters to 9 meters of rainfall every year. There are no rainforest near polar regions because there is very cold there and the species can’t live in cold. There is no True Rainforest above 1000 meters of sea level.
As shown in this illustration there are 4 layers in a Rain forest. Some tallest trees rises above these layers to reach the sunlight. Most of birds and other plant eating animals live in the upper canopy layer.
The forests floor layer is the lowest layer. The soil in there is very thin. Small plants grow there, pitcher plants also grow there.
Next layer was the Understory layer. Most of young plants live there. Not too much sunlight is reaching there.
The Midstory layer is after that. Medium size trees grow there. Thick vines climb up, around and between the trees. Mosses orchids and other types of air plants grow there.
The top layer is the Canopy. Many tallest trees grow higher to reach the
sunlight. The trees grow there catch large amount of sunlight there.
Deforestation is mostly happen to the rainforests. Rainforests in South Asia and America face this mostly. People cut thousands of trees every day. People use wood for make papers, to heat houses etc.
People Destroy and Damage 50 000 hectares each day. In the last 50 years almost half of the rainforests were destroyed. Most of destruction is caused by poor people. Farmers cut down trees to grow
there crops there. After 2 or 3 years the soil losses its fertility and produce fewer crops. Again farmers move to another place and cut down the trees again. In central America, millions of hectares of forest had been cut. An area of rainforest is cut, the vegetation there had been completely removed, a single rainstorm can wash away about 185 tones of topsoil from a single hectare.
When an area of rain forest is cut, many animals face into lot of problems. They have loss there food, water and homes. After few days all the animals will dead. All kinds of plants will be destroyed in that area. And some plant will be lost forever.


As this chart shows, Sri Lanka had faced the most rate of Deforestation. In Sri Lanka most number of endemic birds and animals are live in rain forests. Sinharaja is a tropical rain forest in Sri Lanka. Anyone can find a waterfall after walking about 1 kilo meter into the forest. It has a bio diversity that can be never seen in an Asian country.
Some people knows the value of the environment. Some scientist make societies and shows the people in the world the importance of rain forest. Deforestation is a main course for the global warming.
The types of plants that grow in a particular area depend upon the climate and the soil found there. Scientists divide the world into regions called biomes according to the type of vegetation that grows there. Tropical rainforests grow near the equator. Tropical rainforest cover 6 percent of the Earth and contain a greater variety of plants that can’t be seen in other biomes. Rainforest trees are


Terrestrial Biomes

Evergreen and do not loss there leaves in the autumn. Temperature forests grow to north of the rainforests. The main plants are broad leaved deciduous trees.
Further north is the vast belt of coniferous forest. Conifers have evergreen needles instead of leaves.
In the tundra the ground is always frozen just below the surface. There is a very little soil, and only mosses and tiny flowers can grow.
Grasslands grow where there is too little rain for forests but enough to stop the land being a desert. Mainly tough grasses grow there. Grassland close to the equator are called savanna.
Deserts cover about 20 percent of the land. Plants growing there often have waterproof leaves and rubbery flesh for storing moisture.

1
Many Kinds of Cactus are live in deserts. These plants can store water and there roots grow deep into the soil. Some cactus plants have flowers and some haven’t.

ANIMALS

Largest
• The largest living animal is the blue whale, which
can grow to over 33 meters long and weigh more
than 170 tones.
• The largest land animal is the African elephant.
It can grow up to 4 meters high ad almost 11
tones in weight.
• The largest bird is the ostrich, at 130 kilo grams.
Among flying birds, the largest is the kori bustard
which can weight 18 Kilo Grams.
• The biggest reptile is the saltwater crocodile. It
grows to 5 meters long and 1 tone in weight.
• The largest insect is the goliath beetle at 110 mm
long and weighing 100 grams.
• The biggest fish the whale shark is up to 18 meters
long and weigh 40 tones.
• The largest mollusk is the giant squid, at 17.4
meters long.


Smallest
• The bumble bee bat is the smallest mammal. Its wingspan is 150 mm and it weighs only 1.5 grams.
• The smallest bird is the bee Hummingbird, which is 57 mm long and weighs 1.6 grams.
• Among reptiles, the smallest creatures are Geckos. Some are only 18 mm long.
• The smallest fish is the dwarf pigmy goby at 7.5 mm in length.
• The fairy fly is the smallest insect. An adult is only 0.02 mm long.

Tallest and Longest
• The tallest land animal is the giraffe, which can Measure 6 meters from the ground to the tips of its horns.
• The longest mammal is the blue whale, at 33 meters long.
• The reticulated python, at 10 meters, is the longest land animal.
• The longest fish is the oar fish, at 14 meters.
• The longest insect is the giant stick insect, which measures 380 mm.
• The Galapagos giant tortoise is the tallest reptile, standing 1.2 meters high.

Most poisonous.
• An Australian jellyfish called the sea wasp is the most poisonous creature. Its venom works so quickly that victims usually die after a few minutes after being stung.
• The most poisonous land animal is the funnelweb spider of Southern Australia. Its bite is deadly, and there is no effective treatment.
• The black-headed sea snake is the most poisonous reptile.
• Among fish, the stonefish horrid is the most venomous. It has spines that injects its victims with poison.

Fastest
• The fastest animal of all is the spine-tailed
swift, which can fly at over 170 km/ph.
• Peregrine falcons can reach the speeds of
360 km/ph when diving.
• The fastest land animal is the cheetah,
which can run at 100 km/ph over short
distances.


Strangest
• Perhaps the strangest creatures are the monotreme mammals, including the duck-billed platypus and echidna, or spiny anteater. Unlike other mammals, monotremes lay eggs. They also have spurs on their hind legs armed with poison for fighting off predators.

TREES & FUNGI

Largest & Tallest
• The largest plant is the ‘General Sherman’
tree, a giant redwood in the sequoia
National Park, USA. At one point it
measures over 25.3 meters around its
trunk, and is thought to weigh over 2000
tones.
• The tallest living tree is a coast redwood
in the western USA, which measures
111.25 meters.
• The largest flowering plant is the
stinking corpse Lilly, with blooms up to
0.91 meters across.
• The largest ground-growing fungus is
the giant puffball, which grows up to
1.94 meters across.

Smallest
• The smallest living plant is the water-living
lemna Aquatic duckweed, which grows to only 0.6 mm long.

Deepest Roots
• The root of a fig tree in South Africa are believed to have penetrated 120 meters into the ground.

Oldest Living
• The oldest living tree is a bristlecone pine in California, USA. It is about 4700 years old.
• Some botanist believe that the giant redwood trees may live to be 6000 years old, and that the creosote bush might live for 11 700 years.

Strangest
• The oddest plants are carnivorous, insect eating plants. The leaves of the Venus flytrap, for example, spring shut, to trap flies that land on them. There plants live in areas where the soil lacks nutrients, which they obtain instead from the bodies of insects.

TYPE MAXIMUM LIFE SPAN
Adult mayfly 1-3 days
Marigold 1 year
Mouse 3 years
Guppy 5 years
Large beetles 5-10 years
Swallow 9 years
Coyote 15 years
Giant spider 20 years
Toad 36 years
Lobster 50 years
Crocodile 60 years
Sea anemone 70 years
Elephant 77 years
Blue whale 80 years
Golden eagle 80 years
Sturgeon 100 years
Tortoise 100-150 years
Human 113 years
Giant sequoia 4000 years
Creosote bush 11,700 years

Trees are the longest living things on the planet. Humans can live up to 113 years.

Pictures, Facts are taken from Encarta 2006.




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Nature (Nature)    -    Author : Chamaka - Sri Lanka


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