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Types of Ecosystems: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

All over the world, different living and non-living things have special jobs they do to create a healthy, functioning in their ecosystem. Come and learn about the different types of ecosystems and what it would be like to live in them.

What Are Ecosystems?

Think about the place that you call home. What are the different ways that you interact with your home? There are living beings in your home that you interact with each day, like your parents, brothers, sisters or even a pet! There are also non-living things that you interact with, like the shower, oven and kitchen sink. All of these living and non-living things have special jobs that work together in a system to make life run smoothly at your house.

Animals live their lives with similar systems known as ecosystems. Ecosystems are all the living and non-living things in a given area and the way they interact with each other. Each has a specific job that it completes in order to make the ecosystem work.

Types of Ecosystems

There are two main types of ecosystems: terrestrial and aquatic. Terrestrial ecosystems can be found on land, while aquatic ecosystems can be found in water. Ecosystems can be more specifically classified based on what kinds of species and plants are interacting within the ecosystem, as well as climate and other environmental factors.

Terrestrial Ecosystems

Have you ever walked through a forest? If so, you've walked through a terrestrial ecosystem. There are three types of forests: temperate, taiga and tropical. Tropical forests, also known as rainforests, are near the equator, so they have hot temperatures for most of the year. They also tend to get a lot of rain. Many different types of animals live in rainforests, like parrots, sloths and jaguars.

Parrots are part of tropical forest ecosystems.
rainforest

Temperate forests have the four seasons, a variety of trees and Animals like wolves, foxes and birds. Taiga forests are in extremely cold areas where the temperature rarely gets above zero degrees! Taiga forests are made of pine trees, and when the temperature isn't too low, there are birds and insects.

Deserts are another kind of terrestrial ecosystem. These hot, flat areas do not receive much rainfall throughout the year. The high temperature and lack of rainfall make it hard for animals to live there, unless they have adapted to the desert lifestyle. Cacti, rattlesnakes, coyotes and scorpions are just a few of the living things that can be found in the desert.

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