Which biomes are able to produce food?

Biomes exist on land and in oceans and differ according to their location and geographic characteristics.

Topography (the shape of the land), climate and soils mean similar land biomes can have different species of plants and animals.

Food can be produced from different biomes when people change the environment for example by ploughing the land, building greenhouses to grow plants, draining swamps and wetlands, building terraces on slopes etc.

1: The World’s Major Biomes

2: Agricultural Land Use

3: Good enough to eat

4: Photo Essay time!

5: Extension activities

1: The World’s Major Biomes

This map shows the world’s major land biomes. Look at the distribution of biomes across the world.

Figure 1: Major biomes

biomes-world-map-1b

Source: NRCS

  1. Describe where the tundra areas are located?
  2. What proportion of Africa is taken up by deserts? Estimate a percentage.
  3. Large areas of tropical rainforest are found on which continents?
  4. Name the regions of the world where temperate and Mediterranean biomes can be found.

2: Agricultural Land Use

Look at the image below and study the key carefully. Notice that the darker the colour the closer to one hundred per cent coverage of the area is for a form of agriculture, either cropland (yellow) or pasture (green).

Geography F4T_Worksheet 2 image 1

Source: Scientific American

Compare the map of land used for agriculture with the map of biomes – figure 1.

  1. Which biomes are mostly used for cropland?
  2. Which biomes are mostly used for pasture, i.e. animal grazing?
  3. Which biomes produce the least food?
  4. Is there an interconnection between biomes and land used for agriculture? Give examples to illustrate your answer.

3: Good enough to eat

When people can grow food in a biome, they have access to nutritious, safe and sufficient food for a fit and healthy life, then the region can be said to be food secure.

Visit this site that looks at global food levels in 125 countries across the world, to determine whether a country has food security.

  1. Choose six countries from the ‘Highlight a Country’ drop-down menu and locate within the Food Index.
  2. Create  your own table to show the level of food security according to whether the country has enough to eat, can afford to eat, has quality food and whether the eating is healthy.
  3. Do all people experience food security? Explain your answer using your table and examples from this map.

4: Photo Essay time!

A photo essay is a collection of images that are placed in an order that tells the progression of events, emotions, and concepts. Photojournalists use photo essays as a story-telling technique using visual images.

Check out the map below. When you click on it, the map will open in another window. For four biomes you will find a photo essay showing the biome and the changes people have made to that biome to grow food.

Look at each of the photo essays and write an answer to the following questions:

  1. How does climate affect food production?
  2. How does topography affect food production?
  3. How does soil affect food production?
  4. Make a list of the ways in which biomes can be changed as shown by these examples.
  5. How are biomes changed for food production?


Figure 1: Major biomes

biomes-world-map-1b

5: Extension activities

Option 1: Work in groups of three. Choose one of the global biomes that don’t have a photo essay created in the above clickable map – Tundra, Boreal, Mediterranean – to create their own photo essay.

  • Research information about the biome (its climate, soils and topography) and the food production that has altered the environment.
  • Find three photographs on the Internet to create your own photo essay to show how the environment has been changed to grow food.
  • Write one or two sentences for each image to describe the biome, the food grown and the change that has occurred.
  • Use pictures from Creative Commons sources in all cases. Present your photo essay to a small group or the class. You may like to present your photo essay using Wowslider.

OR

Option 2: Using figure 1, choose one Australian biome used for food production.

  • Research the biome and the food production in that biome and create your own photo essay of not more than eight images to show how the environment has been changed to grow food.
  • Write one or two sentences for each image to describe the biome, the food grown and the change that has occurred.
  • Use pictures from Creative Commons sources in all cases.
  • Present your photo essay to a small group or the class. You may like to present your photo essay using Wowslider.