Ecozones and Habitats
The BBC Nature website has some interesting and useful general information on ecozones
. Additionally, reference to one of the most useful online resources ‘Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
’ ,which I use a lot and annually contribute to, will produce numerous articles on this subject, such as these on the Palearctic
ecozones, or realms as called here. These three example pages also list all the ecoregions within those zones under their respective defined WWF terrestrial biome
or major habitat category.
If you travel and want to know more about the habitats within the area you’ve visited then the internet is probably one of the best places to look, because from my experience, unless you’ve got a regional guide that covers this subject within its introduction, you’ll find it very difficult to find a suitable book. There are exceptions of course, particularly in respect of destinations like Galapagos or the Amazon which do have books specifically written about the geography and habitats as well as covering the flora and fauna you’ll find there. And, if you do find a book, it’s invariably far more scientific and detailed than you really want and very costly, so that’s why I personally think the internet is the place to start looking.
Notwithstanding the above comments about the internet, here are details of two books that I would definitely recommend :
A Neotropical Companion
An introduction to the animals, plants and ecosystems of the New World tropics written by John Kricher.
Princeton University Press, 1999 - softback, medium format, 450 pages (ISBN : 0-691-00974-0)
This particular book doesn’t contain many photographs, nor is it lavishly illustrated. It’s also pretty heavy going in places, but within its covers the author provides a comprehensive overview of the region’s natural history with chapter headings ranging from ‘tropical climates and ecosystems’ and ‘how a rainforest functions’ to ’neotropical birds’. It’s bursting with information, facts and figures and, in my opinion, is a must buy for anyone that visits Central and South America and wants to know more about the region’s climatology, ecology, ornithology and more.
And, if you don’t travel overseas, then here’s one that might have more general appeal :
WILDGuides - Britain’s Habitats
A Guide to the Wildlife Habitats of Britain and Ireland by Sophie Lake and Durwyn Liley
in conjunction with Robert Still and Andy Swash of WILDGuides
Princeton University Press, 2015 - hardback, medium/large format, 276 pages (ISBN : 978-0-691-15855-6)
A really interesting and beautifully produced photographic guide book written by two professional ecologists who live relatively locally to me in Dorset near the Purbeck Heaths. The book is broadly divided into ten main sections, covering woodlands, heathlands, grasslands, wetlands, coastal etc, with each of those broken down into the different habitats found there, for example costal environments includes habitats such as mudflats, saltmarsh, sand dune, saline lagoons, rocky shores etc. As well as fully detailed descriptions of those habitats, there are photographs, examples and maps, plus information on the plants, insects, birds and animals you’ll most likely see there.